Friday, July 31, 2009

Local Boy Scouts Trek
Though New Mexico Wilderness

A group of Boy Scouts from Berwick and their leaders went on a life changing, 10 day, summer trek through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico at the Philmont Scout Ranch. Philmont covers 214 square miles of vast wilderness in which Boy Scout Crew #625-Y2 explored while hiking over 65 miles of trails.
The 8 boys and their adult advisors carried everything they needed to survive during the trek on their backs, while hiking from camp to camp. The Scouts participated in back country activities including rock climbing, rifle shooting, western lore, and blacksmithing. The trek included a conservation project where the Scouts participated in the up-keep of Philmont’s hiking trails.
Along the trek the Scouts endured challenges, such as a nine-hour hike up and down Black Mountain, at nearly 11,000 feet above sea level. With low oxygen levels, and some scouts with blistered feet, it was far more challenging than hikes on the seacoast of Maine. A hail storm on the Tooth of Time Mountain ridge pelted the boys with hail the size of marbles, and forced them to recognize the value of protection against the elements. Other exciting moments included a bear running through their camp during dinner and a rattlesnake on the trail.
“They may meet only one other group of scouts on the trail in an entire day of hiking,” according to Backpacker Magazine. ”Even in the most crowded camps, each scout group is in isolation, out of sight and sound of all other groups.’’
“As an adult advisor, we were there to follow the boys and make sure they did not get into trouble,” says Drew Conroy. “The greatest reward was seeing the boys lead themselves, direct all camp, cooking, and hiking activities, as well as navigate their way through the wilderness using their map and compass.”
Scoutmaster Rick Raynes, also an adult advisor on the trek, added “This experience will remain with these boys forever. They may not know it now, but this has changed them. Hopefully, as they enter into adulthood, they will realize that they accomplished something really amazing. They survived for 10 days in the mountains of northern New Mexico with just gear they carried on their backs. They climbed to mountain peaks that they thought they were never going to get to. They continued to hike mile after mile when they thought they couldn’t go any further. They protected themselves against severe weather and wild animals. But the one thing I think they did best was to work as a team. They encouraged each other when things got tough, shared burdens when things got heavy, and respected each other as individual members of one crew, knowing it would take a collective effort to make it – and they did!”
The boys from Berwick and a few other Maine communities made what amounts to a Scouting pilgrimage with their trip to Philmont. Philmont Scout Ranch is one of the Boy Scouts of America’s premier high adventure camps and largest youth camp in the world serving 22,000 participants every summer. Article by Ross Conroy, Star Scout, Berwick, Maine Troop 313.
Photo caption: Boy Scouts from Berwick completed a trip this summer to the mountains of New Mexico (Courtesy photo)

Revolutionary War Encampment,
Tall Ships at Fort McClary

Step back in time to view the Tall Ships sail into Portsmouth Harbor from historic Fort McClary on Pepperrell Road (Rt. 103) in Kittery Point on Friday, Aug. 7. With a commanding view of the harbor and the mouth of the Piscataqua River, you can watch the Parade of Sails with local boats organize on the horizon at 9:30 a.m. to accompany the U.S. Eagle, the Kalmer Nyckel, the Spirit of South Carolina and the Spirit of Massachusetts as they sail into the harbor and make the turn up to go up the river to Portsmouth.
The Friends of Fort McClary will open the gates at Fort McClary State Historic Site and Park at 8:30 a.m. Additional parking is available on the picnic side of the park and the Block House will be open. The regular admission fee to the State Park is $2 for State residents and $3 for nonresidents age 12 to 64, $1 for children age 5 to 11. Under age 5 and 65+ are free.
A living history presentation of a Revolutionary War encampment with the Royal Irish Artillery Company, Drake’s Artillery and the Frigate Raleigh Gun Crew will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8 and 9, at Fort McClary State Historical Site and Park, Pepperrell Road (Rt. 103) in Kittery Point, Maine. This event coincides with the arrival and departure of the visit of the Tall Ships to Portsmouth on Aug. 7 and 9.
Sponsored by the Friends of Fort McClary, Park gates will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. both days. Only regular State Park admission fees will be charged. For State residents age 12 to 64: $2 and non-State residents: $3. Children age 5-11: $1. Under age 5 and 65+ are free. Additional parking is available on the picnic side of the Park.
In 1715, the Colony of Massachusetts Bay approved the erection of a permanent breastwork of six guns for the defense of the Piscataqua River on the current site. Around 1720, a fort was built and named Fort William, in honor Sir William Pepperrell, a wealthy and prominent resident and landowner in Kittery Point who died in 1759. When the American Revolution broke out in 1775, the Pepperrell family remained loyal to the British Crown and all of their property, including the Fort, was confiscated by local citizens.
Because British war ships had destroyed or captured several towns along the Maine coast and were expected to attack Kittery and Portsmouth, there was intense excitement and great alarm and every effort was made to be ready for the coming enemy. The Fort was put in order and well garrisoned. Along with Fort Constitution (formerly Fort William and Mary) directly across the mouth of the river in Newcastle, the defense of the mouth of the Piscataqua River was so formidable that Kittery and Portsmouth were never attacked by the British.
Over the weekend encampment, the Royal Irish Artillery will have a full tent camp set up on the Upper Battery of the Fort next to the Block House. Participants will be in period uniforms and dress and will re-enact camp life, including a camp kitchen and cooking over a fire pit and period craft demonstrations. On the Lower Battery, a second tent camp will be occupied by Drake’s Artillery and the Frigate Raleigh Gun Crew. Artillery demonstrations will be conducted and cannons will be fired off, on the hour, throughout the day.
For more information, go to the Friends’ web site at or contact Steve Estes at 207-439-3479.

“Hi Mom, I’m Calling from Outer Space”

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
Parents often field telephone calls from their adult children and actually look forward to hearing from their kids after they’ve grown and left the house. Few parents, however, have experienced what York resident Janice Cassidy did on July 22 when her son Christopher called her. Christopher, you see, was calling from outer space. He is a member of the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s crew and is currently orbiting the globe.
“He said ‘hi mom,’ I’m calling from outer space,” Cassidy said. “He had done his first space walk and had a problem with his suit. He called to reassure us. The call was crystal clear.”
This is Christopher’s first time in space, after being accepted as an astronaut in 2004. Prior to that, he served as a Navy Seal. Janice said Christopher’s desire to get into space developed relatively recently.
“He hasn’t always dreamed about it,” she said. “He started thinking about it 10 to 12 years ago when he was a Navy Seal. He followed the course he thought best to do it and got his Master’s Degree. Almost all (the astronauts) have their Master’s. Some have doctorates.”
Janice said Chris’ decision to pursue a career in the military was not immediately obvious when he was a youngster, but there were indications. “His favorite toy growing up was a GI Joe,” she said. “We still have it in the attic. Chris said ‘don’t throw him out.’ When we went to the library he’d pick out records and his favorite were military marches. He’d play them and march around the house.”
The launch for this shuttle trip turned out to be a difficult process, with several delays. Janice traveled to Cape Canaveral to see the launch in person. “It was an incredible thing, amazing and very emotional” she said. “The launch had been postponed five times, three at the last moment. That was so disappointing for everybody. By the time it finally went off, I wasn’t nervous, just excited.”
Families of the crewmembers had a special vantage point for the launch, Janice said, about a half-mile away across a body of water, sitting in bleachers. “We were as close as anyone other than the workers,” she said. “One of the thrills was the families were treated to a special tour of the Kennedy Space Center (before the day of the launch). They took us right up to the gate. It was very interesting.”
Janice has been monitoring the flight closely. “He’s done three space walks,” she said. “I watch them on my computer. You can see as clear as anything and can see everything he’s doing. It’s amazing, especially when it’s your son.”
When not in outer space, Chris lives in Houston with his wife and three children. Chris has a younger brother, Jeffrey, who lives in Argentina currently. “He’s there for a couple of years,” Janice said. “He’s heading up the Argentinean office of a computer security company.”
Chris’ flight is expected to return to earth of July 31, but Janice has no plans to go back to Florida to witness the landing. “I’ll schedule a trip to Houston when he’s back and settled down,” she said. “There I can spend time and actually talk with him. I’ll be very interested to see what he has to say. In his emails, he says you can’t imagine how exciting and how much fun it is. Right now, I’m anxious to get them all home safe and sound.”
After five years as an astronaut, Chris hasn’t changed all that much, Janice said. “He is very down to earth,” she said. “He’s an honest and upstanding person, lots of fun, a great father, husband, and a great son.”
Photo caption: Janice Cassidy and her son Chris, an astronaut, at the Space Shuttle launch site at Cape Canaveral. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Film on Apollo Project brings former President Bush to Thornton Academy

Former President George H. W. Bush, astronaut John Young and filmmaker Jeffrey Roth visited Thornton Academy on July 15 to show the movie The Wonder of It All in Garland Auditorium.
The documentary film uses personal narrative accounts by seven men who walked on the moon to capture their feelings about being modern-day explorers. Roth interviews Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Eugene Cernan, Charles Duke, Edgar Mitchell, Harrison Schmitt and Young. They reflect on how they entered NASA, what it meant to be in the space program, and how their professional and personal lives changed after they became moonwalkers.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush and daughter Dorothy Bush Koch were also present to watch the movie. The select group invited to attend also included friends of the Bush family and members of Thornton Academy’s Board of Trustees.
Young, who is friends with President Bush, walked on the moon in April 1971 during the Apollo 16 mission. He flew into space six times from Earth, including the first flight of the Space Shuttle in 1981.
Young and his wife, Susy Roth, and President Bush answered questions from the audience after the film concluded. They discussed NASA’s efforts to return to the moon, life on Mars and environmentalism.
“It was a wonderful evening. We were honored to host the president, the Bush family, the Youngs and the Roths,” Headmaster Carl J. Stasio, Jr. said.
President Bush said he was “pleased and honored” to watch the film at Thornton Academy. He and Mrs. Bush spend each summer at their summer home on Walker’s Point, which is in Kennebunkport.
The Wonder of It All is in limited theatrical release, just in time to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 flight. To learn more about the film go to It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in September.
TA has an interesting connection to the Apollo program. Stephen B. Garland, a member of the Board of Trustees, is Vice President of Garland Manufacturing Company, which provided Gar-dur plastic parts to NASA for the flight of Apollo 8 and subsequent Apollo flights.
Thornton Academy thanks Arts Department Co-Chair David Hanright and Steve Burnette with the Legacy Theater Company for helping to arrange the event.
Photo caption: From left to right are Thornton Academy Trustee James E. Nelson ‘67, NASA astronaut John Young, Headmaster Carl J. Stasio, Jr., former President George H. W. Bush and filmmaker Jeffrey Roth. (Courtesy photo)

Loving Kindness Sculpture
Unveiled at York Hospital

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
There is a unique sculpture of cradled hands in the lobby at York Hospital, a physical depiction of the hospital’s vision – that of Loving Kindness. The work of art, created by sculptor Sumner Winebaum, was unveiled last week to a large crowd of friends of the hospital and hospital staff.
“Loving kindness is really the foundation of our exceptional patient care,” Michael McGrath, chairman of the hospital Board of Trustees said in opening the ceremony. “Today we unveil a symbol (of loving kindness) that will welcome and greet all of our patients as well as their families when they come to York Hospital. Sumner’s sculpture is a spectacular piece of artwork and will embrace our patients, their families, friends and staff with loving kindness.”
Winebaum said it was a pleasure working with hospital President Jud Knox and the hospital staff. He described the process for creating a piece of this kind, including the work with the foundry and others.
Knox had approached Winebaum with the idea of creating something tangible to depict the hospital’s vision. He thanked him and the Winebaum Family Trust that aided in covering the work’s cost.
Other speakers at the ceremony included staff members Barb Green, Meghan Brandt, Jon Houghton and Mel Barron.
Winebaum collaborated with architect Stuart Dawson and base creator Albert Raitt. Dawson is a principal in the multidisciplinary design firm Sasaki and Associates of Watertown, Mass. Raitt owns A.W. Raitt Stoneyard in Eliot. All were present at the unveiling.
The sculpture weighs more than 3500 pounds, and the process to install it took several people well over three hours to complete.
Winebaum has done more than a hundred portrait commission busts along with numerous other works. A graduate of Portsmouth High School and the University of Michigan, he has pursued three careers: at Young & Rubicam, New York as an advertising writer; president of Young & Rubicam, Italy; and later, Young & Rubicam, France; then as president of Winebaum News, which became the largest distributor of books, magazines and newspapers north of Boston. But always from the earliest, taking evening studies at New York’s Art Students League to his current full-time engagement as sculptor, he has worked to learn this craft.
York Hospital has been providing care to Southern Maine residents and visitors for over 100 years. It is a modern facility known for its cardiology program, emergent care center, extensive inpatient and outpatient services and campus locations in Wells, York, South Berwick, Berwick and Kittery.
Photo caption: Sculptor Sumner Winebaum, center, with Michael McGrath, right, dark suit, with the hands as they were unveiled. (Courtesy photo)

A Pilgrimage to a Long Ago Home in China

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
(Editor’s note: This is the third and final in a series by columnist Devin Beliveau describing his recent trip to China.)
Lindgren Chyi’s story sounds like a movie. It’s the kind of movie where the father is taken prisoner by a foreign occupying power, and the son is forced to grow up fast. And not only does he have to help his mother care for his younger siblings, but he has do so while fleeing a war-torn country, the whole time deceiving enemy soldiers who are capturing refugees. For Dr. Lindgren “Lynn” Chyi, my father-in-law, this was not a movie. This was his early childhood as he grew up in Japanese-occupied China, then escaped the Chinese Civil War in 1949, and fled with his family to the island nation of Taiwan as an 8-year old.
Chyi’s story has a happy ending. He eventually emigrated from Taiwan to Canada, where he met his wife Lucy. Eventually he found his way to Akron, Ohio, where he became a Professor of Geology at the University of Akron. Settled in Ohio, Lynn and Lucy raised their family of three daughters: Lisa, and identical twins Linda and Debbie. This may be the most important part of the story, as the lovely Debbie is now my wife.
At the end of June, Chyi led a two-week trip back to northeast China to visit his hometown of Shenyang. He brought with him an entourage of 13 family members, including his children, siblings, nephews and nieces. I was lucky enough to be on this pilgrimage, to see firsthand some of the locations that shaped my father-in-law’s childhood.
The trip was a mix of visiting both famous historical sites and places of personal significance. A visit to the largest statue of Mao Zedong in China, for example, would be followed by a visit to an old house where Chyi lived as a child. It was clear at each stop how proud the patriarch was to share his story with his ever-expanding family. “It’s a big group and it’s an unusual trip, but I’m very happy,” said Chyi.
Born into Japanese-occupied China in 1941, Chyi’s childhood was surrounded by war, death and destruction. The Japanese had killed both his grandmother and his great uncle. His family was forced to re-locate often, as his father was an undercover spy for the Chinese nationalists, and his family would be at risk if he were discovered sabotaging Japanese (and later Communist) rule. Chyi’s father was captured by the Japanese in May 1945, and most likely only survived his 3 months of torture due to Japan’s WWII surrender in August 1945. For his family’s safety, Chyi’s father eventually fled mainland China for Taiwan to escape the Communists, and made arrangements for his family to follow him there.
One of the most interesting parts of the trip was an excursion to the countryside outside Shenyang. Armed only with an address, our goal was to locate some cousins who Chyi had not been in contact with since the 1980s. When it was discovered that a local bridge could not support the weight of our tour bus, Chyi flagged down 3 cars to ask for help. At first the drivers wanted top dollar from these “wealthy” westerners who needed an impromptu taxi. But as Chyi explained this was a trip to find old family members, the drivers became very friendly and helpful. The small neighborhood buzzed with curiosity as 14 Americans arrived in this place where tourists do not normally venture. Unfortunately it turned out that the cousins had passed away, and the house had been sold.
A regular highlight of the trip was the food. Each lunch and dinner featured grand arrays of 10-20 entrees on a Lazy Susan in the middle of a huge circular table. Dumplings are the specialty of northeast China, and as such most meals featured several delicious varieties of the popular dish. “One of the best parts for me was going back to the hometown, and enjoying the hometown dishes,” commented Chyi. Peking Duck was another Chinese delicacy. The whole duck is carved into precisely 120 pieces right in front of the table by an expert chef, and then the tender pieces are combined with cucumbers, scallions and plum sauce inside small pancakes. Simply delicious.
At Dongbei University in Shenyang, the school his father graduated from, Chyi presided over an informal memorial service for his parents. After Chyi immigrated to North America, he never saw them again. In a quiet corner of the well-kept campus over some pink flowers, the 14 family members talked of the hard work and sacrifices made by Chyi’s parents so that the family could survive and prosper. “When they’re looking down on us, they should be very happy. We brought a bag of soil from their tomb (in Taiwan), and through this we carried their spirit and sprinkled it on the hometown soil. I think they’re enjoying it right now,” Chyi reflected.
Photo caption: Lindgren “Lynn” Chyi sprinkles soil from his parents’ grave at a makeshift memorial at Dongbei University in Shenyang China. (Devin Beliveau photo)

Friday, July 17, 2009

China’s Landmarks Offer a Glimpse at its History

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
(Editor’s note: This article is the 2nd article in a 3-part series about staff columnist Devin Beliveau’s recent 12-day trip to China.)
On the 4th of July, The United States of America turned 233 years old. Our country, however, is but an infant when compared to the 4,000 years of recorded history in China. China is a country accustomed to making history too, from the invention of gunpowder and the compass, to the grand spectacle of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The following are but a few noteworthy events in the long turbulent history of China, including how some of the country’s notable landmarks developed and contributed to that history.
In the US we have a history of Presidents. In China it is a history of all-powerful emperors. And these emperors were not elected to power, but instead gained control by defeating the previous emperor’s forces on the battlefield. With a new emperor often came a new dynasty, which was a succession of hereditary rulers, similar to the British Monarchy style of handing power over to the next oldest son or daughter.
One of the most impressive legacies left by the Ming and Qing (pronounced Ching) Dynasties is the awe-inspiring Forbidden City. Located in the center of the capital city of Beijing, the Forbidden City was the home to the emperor. Walking through the imperial grounds, which stretch for several city blocks and feature hundreds of buildings, this palace makes the American White House seem downright puny.
The Forbidden City got its name because almost no one was allowed in, and inside it is clear that security was a priority of the emperor. It is built like a fortress, complete with a wide moat and huge wall surrounding the whole complex. There are no trees within these walls since they could be potential hiding places for assassins. The foundation of the entire palace was built several layers thick to prevent enemies from tunneling in from underneath.
Inside the walls of the Forbidden City, the emperor was revered (and feared) as a god. He had an exclusive walkway on which he was carried from the entrance to his throne. Anyone else who dared touch the walkway suffered the loss of his legs. The emperor usually surrounded himself with a number of concubines, women who had the honor of satisfying any and all of the emperor’s desires of the flesh. He also had a large number of eunuchs, high-ranking personal assistants who were castrated so the emperor’s personal concubines would not tempt them.
Perhaps the only relic of Chinese history more impressive than the Forbidden City in sheer scale is the Great Wall of China. Stretching about 4,000 miles, it was built over a period of 100 years by millions of workers in an effort to keep invading northern tribes out of China. The fact that it remains largely intact in 2009 is a testament to the quality of its construction, and one of the reasons it has been labeled one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see this monolith firsthand.
Modern 20th century Chinese history, following the age of the emperors, brought violence and instability. In the 1930s, imperialist Japan, China’s island neighbor, was looking to expand. On September 18, 1931, the Japanese military staged an attack on its own soldiers at a train station in the northern Chinese city of Shenyang, and blamed China. This was used as a pretext to invade. The Japanese army quickly devastated northern China, and then set up a puppet government called Manchuria, from which the Japanese ruled for the next 14 years. Widespread murder, torture and rape were used to keep the Chinese frightened and to ensure obedience to Japanese soldiers during this tragic time in Chinese history. The Japanese then used Manchuria as the base from which to launch an invasion on all of eastern China in the lead-up to WWII. Hatred towards the Japanese is still alive in northern China today because of this occupation.
Resistance to the Japanese occupation grew in the late 1930s. Both General Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist army-in-exile, and Mao Zedong’s emerging Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) army of guerilla fighters increased attacks on the Japanese, finally driving them out in 1944. This unfortunately still did not mean peace for China, as a civil war soon broke out between the nationalists and communists over who would control post-WWII China.
After a bloody 3-year civil war, the communists were victorious, and Mao established the People’s Republic of China in 1949. For the next 27 years Mao ruled a communist country like a dictator. From the mass starvation that followed his failed Great Leap Forward (a policy of rapid industrialization), to the lawlessness and violence brought by his Cultural Revolution (Mao’s attempt at redefining Chinese values to prioritize the agricultural class), China under Mao was an unstable existence. He is credited, however, with uniting China’s provinces as never before, and with improving the quality of life for large numbers of agricultural peasants. As his CCP is still in control, Mao’s painting still today hangs prominently over the entrance to the Forbidden City.
As China has opened up to the world more since Mao’s death, and slowly adopted more market-oriented economic policies, millions of Chinese have come out of poverty. However, the CCP still exerts considerable control over the lives of the Chinese people, as evidenced by its “one child policy” which attempts to prevent the overcrowding of the world’s most populous nation. The future now looks bright for the “world’s next superpower,” but its turbulent history teaches us that certainly anything can happen.
Photo caption: Emperor’s exclusive walkway leading to his throne in the heart of The Forbidden City in Beijing. (Devin Beliveau photo)

Old York’s Decorator Show House
Welcomes Visitors This Weekend

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The historic McIntire Farm on Cider Hill Road is ready to welcome visitors as the 20th Decorator Show House of the Old York Historical Society. The house opens to the public on July 18 and will be open through Aug. 5, sporting the design ideas and creation of more than 20 decorators from around New England. Each room in the old New England Farm House is a creation in and of itself within guidelines established by the home’s owners.
The Show House will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. It is closed on Tuesdays. On-site parking is available, admission is $20.
Anne Cowenhoven of Accent and Design of York did the design for and decoration of the dining room. This is the 18th show house in which she had been involved. Ms. Cowenhoven is a supporter of Old York and sees this as one way to give back to the organization. Her children went through Old York’s programs as they were growing up.
She said she decided early to “accent the woodwork” in the room and to generally “enhance the architecture” of the structure.
The room features a mural of the marshes of the York River painted by Judy Dibble of Brookwood Designs in Contoocook, N.H., and the furnishings reinforce the pastels of that mural.
The rooms in the homestead are numerous and smaller that those in recent decorator homes, adding to the challenge for the designers. The rooms are, Ms. Cowenhoven said, “a picture of New England Maine” farmhouses.
The family room in the house, the creation of Valerie Jorgensen of V. Jorgensen Design of Wells, was nothing but bare wall and insulation when work began but has been transformed into a cozy area with windows on the marsh, a flat screen television, a Bose sound system and more. From the start, Ms. Jorgensen’s idea was to “make it casual, a spot for relaxation.”
Those aiding Ms. Jorgensen in her work included Chris Cowenhoven, who did the wall board, and J.N electric of York. There was no power in the room when the project began.
The McIntire Homestead, which has been in the same family for over 300 years, includes access to the York River, woodlands, salt marsh, bog areas and many pastures.
Diane Hughes of Diane Hughes Interiors of Rye. N.H., did the small first floor reading room, the only room in the home with a working fireplace. It is a reading room, not a library, she said, as there is no room for a bookcase. A painting of horses and the fire place set the theme for the room, reflecting that it is, after all, an old New England farmhouse.
The master bedroom and balcony is the work of Nicole LaBranche Yee of NY Interiors of New England and the San Francisco Bay Area. When Ms. Yee first saw the room she said her reaction was, “wow, look at that view” of the river across a meadow. “The design was driven by that view,” she said. The room is, she said, unconventional, but “in this case it was the answer.” Done in cream and black, it is focused on the huge picture windows with a balcony outside them.
The hallway to the second floor features the photographic artistry of Jay Goldsmith of Portsmouth, N.H., in a series of platinum/palladium photographs taken in the vicinity of the show house itself.
Other decorators involved with the project include Charles C. Hugo Landscape Design of South Berwick, for the dooryard garden.
Also, Atlantic Design Center of Eldredge Lumber and Hardware of York, farmer’s porch; Annie K. Designs of York, powder room; Duquette & Company, York, living room; Joyce Jordan Interiors, Hampton Falls, N.H., Savannah’s Room.
F.D. Hodge Interiors of Boston, Marjorie’s room along with the kitchen and pantry; Andrea Maher Interior Design of Wells, Charlotte Rose’s nursery; Fiona’s Porch of York, Frankie’s room; Renaissance Interiors of North Reading, Mass., secret hideaway; Boehm Graham of Bedford, N.H., sitting room. Diane Hughes Interiors of Rye, N.H., mudroom; Finn Mar Tens Design of Beverly Farms, Mass., the trophy room; and Stoney Brook Landscaping of York, barn patio.
There will be a boutique and art show in the barn as well as touring of the numerous rooms in the house itself.
The Decorator Show House is the largest fund-raiser of the year for Old York, according to Carol Coles, the project’s chairwoman.
Photo caption: Family room decorated by V. Jorgensen Design of Wells. (Courtesy photo)

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to get New Commander

The Naval Sea Systems Command announced recently the selection of Capt. Bryant Fuller as the next commander of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The change of command will occur this fall.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s primary mission has been the overhaul, repair and modernization of Los Angeles Class submarines. Maintenance workload for Los Angeles Class submarines has declined as the Engineered Refueling Overhauls for this class come to an end. Future workload for the shipyard is with Virginia Class submarines. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has been designated the Ship Availability Planning and Engineering Center for the new Virginia Class submarines and will execute its first Virginia class availability in Oct. 2010. Changing the commander at this time will provide continuous leadership to the shipyard during this transitional timeframe and allow the shipyard to finish the on going planning and execute that first Virginia Class availability with the same Shipyard Commander.
Fuller, a native of Tennessee currently is the Operations Officer at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility. He has served in a variety of engineering and combat systems billets, including Ship Repair Officer as a Supervisor of Shipbuilding, and as an Assistant Project Superintendent and Project Superintendent for multiple submarine projects at Puget Sound and Portsmouth Naval Shipyards.
Fuller received his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering for the University of Tennessee in 1984 and his Masters in Mechanical Engineering from in the Naval Postgraduate School in 1991.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard provides the U.S. Navy’s nuclear powered submarine fleet with quality overhaul work in a safe, timely and affordable manner and remains a vital element of the Navy’s submarine maintenance industrial base. The change of command will occur this fall.

Friday, July 10, 2009

12 Days in China: A Reporter’s Perspective

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist

(Editor’s note: Weekly Sentinel Columnist Devin Beliveau recently traveled to China. This article is the first in a series that detail his thoughts and impressions about the world’s most populous country.)
On the complete opposite side of the globe lies the most populous nation in the world, the 1.3 billion strong People’s Republic of China. Often dubbed as the world’s next superpower, China in 2009 is a country that clings to its cultural traditions while also cautiously reaching out to the global economy. For 12 days I was lucky enough to travel around China, the largest country in Asia. This article is the first of 3 articles that will document a snapshot of my observations and experiences in this huge, complicated and rapidly changing communist country, beginning in the capital of Beijing.
Before passengers can even take off their seatbelts following the 13-hour flight from Newark, New Jersey to Beijing, several government officials in white hazardous-material suits board the plane to take the temperature of everyone on board. An airport quarantine area awaits any passenger with symptoms of the H1N1 flu (Swine Flu).
The first thing one notices once off the plane is the heat. In July in Beijing the temperature rarely drops below 90 degrees. The Chinese women make a concerted effort to stay out of the sun. Since the traditional Chinese ideal of beauty is a porcelain-white skin color, most women carry an umbrella while walking down the street to shade themselves from the intense summer sun. The preferred method for men to beat the heat is to pull up one’s shirt to the belly button area and walk around bare-bellied.
There are far fewer bicycles lining the streets of Beijing than one might expect. This is due to the recent expansions of the Beijing subway system in the ramp-up to the 2008 Summer Olympic games. The capital’s subway is now a clean, modern and efficient system that covers the whole city. It even has direct rides to the airport, and the average price equates to only 30 American cents.
Another big difference was the widespread conversion from the public “squat” toilets to the western sitting toilets. Spitting in public, once a national Chinese pastime, had all but disappeared from the Beijing streets thanks to the government’s pre-Olympics anti-public-spitting campaign. Another big change is simply the overall cleanliness of the city, a development designed to better impress the thousands of international visitors that poured in for the 2008 summer games. It is a much cleaner city than one would expect for a city of over 15 million people.
Air pollution remains a problem in Beijing. Because of the polluted air, the current H1N1 flu pandemic, and the recent history of airborne sicknesses such as SARS, it is very common to see people wearing facemasks to protect themselves as they go about their day. The water situation is not any better. It is common knowledge that people should not drink straight from the tap.
English is everywhere in Beijing. Business signs, road signs, subway signs and consumer products all usually include English along with Chinese, thereby making Beijing an American-friendly city. English-speaking travelers will be pleasantly surprised at the ease with which one can navigate through Beijing’s numerous streets, subways and historic tourist attractions.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has run China’s government since 1949. The CCP has implemented policies that would certainly surprise most American visitors. On international television channels such as CNN, it is commonplace for TVs to suddenly go black. This is the government simply censoring a story it does not deem appropriate for Chinese viewers. Indeed, the CCP employs 30,000 censors to monitor television and the internet.
Last week on the news a man was arrested for signing a pro-democracy petition. As there is no right to free speech, especially when challenging the government, this also is not an uncommon occurrence. The only English newspaper usually available is the China Daily, and since the government prints it, it is difficult to believe that it is always unbiased accurate reporting.
Beijing appears to be in flux. On one hand visitors see the age-old Chinese traditions, culture and history throughout the city. And on the other hand visitors see the arrival of global businesses en masse, the impressive Olympic upgrades, and almost all signs in English. And while the government has certainly loosened its grip on controlling the economy in recent years, it remains omnipresent in the daily lives of Chinese citizens. Whatever direction it’s heading in, Beijing is certainly an intriguing place to visit.
(Next week will feature a story on China’s turbulent history, and then a personal narrative of the reporter’s 12-day family trip throughout northeast China.)
Photo caption: Staff Columnist Devin Beliveau on the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu. (Courtesy photo)

1600s French and Indian Encampment
to be Presented at Counting House Museum

A living history presentation of a Native American and French encampment will be held on Saturday, July 18, at the town’s riverfront museum and park.
Sponsored by the Old Berwick Historical Society, owner of the Counting House Museum, the program is free to all ages and runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Presentations will be held rain or shine at the museum and at nearby Counting House Park along the Salmon Falls River, a spot known for generations as Quamphegan Landing.
Interpreters Ken Hamilton, Jamie Foote, John Santos and Garret MacAdams will show visitors examples of equipment, clothing and Native and French culture typical of the period around 1690.
In the late 1600s, during a conflict known as King William’s War, French and Native war parties attacked English settlers in the area of today’s South Berwick, then known as Quamphegan. Among the homes believed destroyed in such a raid was that of Thomas Holmes, whose mill stood at Quamphegan falls near the site of the history presentation, and Humphrey Chadbourne, who operated a sawmill near today’s Leigh’s Mill Pond. Archaeological artifacts from the Chadbourne homestead are displayed at the Counting House Museum.
“We will interpret a military flying camp as well as the Native fur trade, fishing and hunting culture of the ‘half Indianized’ French and ‘half Frenchified’ Indians,” Hamilton explained.
He said today’s South Berwick and Rollinsford, N.H., on both sides of the Salmon Falls, were once a Wabanaki or “East/Dawn Land” center for seasonal habitation, fishing, and canoe travel. English colonization and settlement forever altered the traditional access and use of this important area.
“European wars between the English and French then gave the displaced descendants of the original Native families the opportunity to ally with the French and retaliate against the loss of this important part of their original homeland and its resources (critical during fish runs, canoe routes and portages, etc.), and avenge grievances against the vulnerable, remote English settlements and habitations,” Hamilton said.
As a natural water/canoe highway system, the area’s connecting rivers, lakes and bays made Quamphegan both a natural/automatic target and “pit stop” for French invasions and raiding parties, especially when the rivers froze. French raiders were accompanied by “local” Native guides.
Raids on our area in March 1690 and on Haverhill in August 1708 were led by a Frenchman named Hertel de Rouville. Retreating French and Native raiders from the Haverhill attack set up a rear guard counter ambush on pursuing militia at the Salmon Falls bridge.
More information on living history events and all the society’s programs is available by calling (207) 384-0000, writing, or logging on to
Photo caption: The living history presentation of a Native American and French encampment will display equipment, clothing and Native and French culture typical of the period around 1690. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Historic Former Factory Will Provide Affordable Homes for the Elderly

In its glory vanguard days, the Olde Woolen Mill building used steam power to manufacture woolen blankets for the Union Army during the Civil War. The mill closed in 1955 and, with the exception of it being used as a set location during the filming of Jumanji in 1995, the building has mostly been vacant until recently when The Caleb Foundation bought the property to redevelop into affordable housing for the elderly. This innovative reuse of a historic property is the first preservation project funded by Maine's State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program signed into law last year.
In September, residents will be moving into 40 newly created apartments in the rehabilitated Olde Woolen Mill, a centerpiece of the community overlooking the Great Works River, the town green and town hall. Once the largest employer in town, it is now the largest complex of affordable housing for elders with 33 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom apartments. And whereas the building was at one time powered by one of the earliest steam engines in the country, it is now powered, in part, by green technology, including solar panels that will provide enough non-polluting energy to heat hot water. The property has a patio in the back that overlooks the river, offers a walking path along the river to local residents for fishing and recreation and is easy walking to town services and local shops.
The complex, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, also boasts a community center where the steam engine will be on display. There will be an exhibit on the historical role of the property in the Civil War and in the community open to the public periodically. In 1995, the landmark Greek Revival style building was used as the Parrish Shoes Factory for the filming of Jumanji.
The Olde Woolen Mill is an important reminder of the very beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. Manufacturing operations were powered by one of the first steam engines in the country, housed in the basement, along with a floor to ceiling flywheel that powered the looms. The river water was diverted into the base of the building via a dam and fed a boiler, which turned the water into steam energy. The steam engine and the Bell Tower remain intact and are part of the preservation and reuse of a neglected, but historically valuable, property. The town, for example, will continue to be able to ring the Bell Tower to celebrate 4th of July, as has been community tradition.
The Woolen Mill was built in 1832 by John Lang and in 1850, William “Friend” Hill, a Quaker, became Lang’s partner and principal owner. In 1861, the original wooden building was burned to the ground, but was quickly rebuilt with locally made bricks and the company was commissioned to weave blue woolen blankets for the Union Army. Friend Hill found himself in a precarious position, since, like his fellow Quakers, he was committed both to peace, but also the equality of mankind. Quakers were among the earliest abolitionists.
“We are thankful for the support of the North Berwick community and we are grateful to Maine State Housing Authority, TD Banknorth, Key Bank and Northern New England Housing Investment Fund for funding the acquisition, construction and operations of this project. We believe this innovative reuse of such a historic property will be an asset to the community and lives up to the vision that legislators had in mind when they passed the Maine State Historic Tax legislation last year,” says Debra Nutter, Executive Director of The Caleb Group and The Caleb Foundation.
The Caleb Foundation operates 2,000+ units of affordable housing at 22 facilities in four New England states, including residences in Bangor, Lewiston, Portland, Old Orchard Beach and Saco, Maine. The Caleb Foundation, a non-profit organization, has created and maintained homes for low-income residents since 1992. Its affiliate, The Caleb Group, was created to connect families, elderly and disabled residents with services in order to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency.
As part of the resources provided to residents of the Olde Woolen Mill, a Caleb service coordinator will be on staff and on site at the complex. Anyone who is age 55 or older with a yearly income of $27,000 to $39,000 depending on the number of people in the apartment is eligible. For more information about apartment availability or to submit an application, contact Nancy Huffman at (781) 595-4665 or visit

Photo caption: he newly renovated Olde Woolen Mill building in North Berwick. (Courtesy Photo)

Exemplary WOCSD Volunteer of
the Year Announced

The Wells Ogunquit Community School District held the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. This event is held near the end of the school year to thank the District’s many volunteers for their multitude of hours of service assisting students and staff throughout the school year. The event is arranged by Maryanne Foley, Community Resource Coordinator.
At the breakfast it was announced that Carolyn Beecher was selected to be recognized as the District’s Exemplary Volunteer for the 2008-09 school year. Beecher has been volunteering at Wells Elementary School for the past nine years in Kindergarten and Grade 2. School children look forward to seeing her and listening to the classic children’s story that she has selected to read to them.
Mrs. Beecher, known to the students as “Nana,” also helps with the judging process for the District’s Literary Achievement Awards Contest and the Literary Achievement Awards Ceremony. She even helps out with the set-up and clean up for the Volunteer Breakfast.
Mrs. Beecher’s name will be added to the Exemplary Volunteer Plaque that hangs in a hallway at Wells Elementary School.
School volunteers vary in age and do many different things in the District’s schools. Volunteers come from the community or, according to Foley, many volunteers are school students in the District. Foley said that some volunteers turn out to be members of the School Committee.
Donations for the breakfast were obtained from Hannaford in Wells, Congdon’s Doughnuts Family Restaurant and Dunkin’ Donuts in Wells.

Photo caption: From left – At left is WOCSD Community Resource Coordinator Maryanne Foley. Next to her is the 2009 Exemplary Volunteer of the Year, Carolyn “Nana” Beecher. They are standing outside of Wells Elementary School. (Reg Bennett photo).

Groups Applaud Commitment to Help Close Medicare Part D Coverage Gap

Several Maine health groups applauded the agreement reached last weekend by the White House, Senate Finance Committee and the nation’s pharmaceutical research companies to help seniors pay for their prescription medicines during the Medicare Part D coverage gap, also known as the “doughnut hole.”
“This is a huge step toward national health care reform,” said Susan Rowan, Executive Director of the Maine Cancer Foundation. “The commitment to close the coverage gap for affected Part D beneficiaries will be an enormous help to thousands of seniors in Maine who have prescription drug coverage thru Medicare and fall into the coverage gap.”
“This is a truly meaningful step in the right direction toward relieving health care costs,” said Jim Phipps, Executive Director of the Iris Network, which serves thousands of older people in Maine who are visually impaired or blind. “Thousands of Maine Medicare Part D beneficiaries are going to see real savings on their prescription costs thanks to this voluntary agreement.”
Although the Medicare prescription benefit program has been a tremendous success for the vast majority of seniors, the coverage gap has posed a challenge to some. Specifically, pharmaceutical companies will provide a 50 percent discount to most beneficiaries on brand-name medicines covered by a patient’s Part D plan when purchased in the coverage gap.
Additionally, under the agreement the entire negotiated price of the Part D covered medicine purchased in the coverage gap would count toward the beneficiary’s out-of-pocket costs, thus lowering their total out-of-pocket spending. Importantly, the proposal would not require any additional paperwork on the part of the beneficiary nor would an asset test be used for eligibility.
Currently, Medicare beneficiaries fall into the coverage gap after spending $2,700 on prescription medicines, of which Medicare pays 75 percent. With the exception of Part D beneficiaries who qualify for the low-income subsidy, there is no drug coverage after $2,700 until a patient reaches $6,100 in prescription costs, after which Medicare pays 100 percent of a patient’s drug costs.