Friday, June 26, 2009

Escaped New York Times Reporter’s
Family Issues Statement

David Rohde, the New York Times reporter who escaped seven months of captivity by the Taliban in Pakistan last week, has ties to the area. His parents reside in Kennebunk. They issued the following statement through Edelman Public Affairs.

Statement from the Family of David Rohde:
It is hard to describe the enormous relief we felt at hearing the news of David's escape and knowing he is safe. Every day during these past seven months, we have hoped and prayed for this moment.

We continue to be grateful for the generous support from so many around the world including The Times, the media, private consultants, the U.S. State and Defense Departments, as well as the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.

To the countless others who were generous with their thoughts, prayers and counsel, we extend our heartfelt thanks.

As we eagerly await reuniting with David, we ask that our family's privacy be respected at this time.

South Berwick’s 33rd Strawberry Festival
Set for June 27

Strawberry Festival has gone green!
The Strawberry Festival Committee is pleased to announce that they will serve their Strawberry Shortcake and Cheesecake on biodegradable bowls, plates and spoons. These items are made out of sugar cane called Bagasse tableware. Bagasse is the biomass remaining after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juices.
Always the last Saturday in June, this year the festival will be on 27 June 2009. The South Berwick Strawberry Festival officially kicks off summer for this quaint, southern Maine town. The kids are out of school, camps are open and the weather is getting warm. All over town one can see the bright red, white, and green strawberry flags that not only line the main streets, but can also be seen flying from many houses. The day is filled with food, entertainment, games, and crafts.
For thirty-three consecutive years, hundreds of volunteers from South Berwick have come together to put together a South Berwick tradition. As always, official Festival activities will take place only on the grounds of Central School, on Main Street, in the center of town. A stop at the Strawberry Festival Information Booth is a must to find out more about the day’s schedule for the entertainers, as well as where all the various activities are located and to purchase strawberry festival memorabilia.
Preparation of the strawberries start on Friday, the morning before the Festival at the Community Center, where over a hundred and fifty volunteers get together for a good old fashioned social to hull, slice, and sugar the berries. Other volunteers get to the day of the Festival early to slice the biscuits, prepare the whipped cream and move everything under the Strawberry Shortcake tent so all will be ready for the Festival goers when it opens at 10 a.m. Things stay pretty busy for the entire Festival that calls it quits at 4 p.m.
On the Friday before the Festival, there will be a roast beef supper hosted by our local First Parish Federated Church, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Old Fashioned Trolleys: Running every 20 minutes, there will be old-fashioned trolleys, which will provide free transportation to the Festival from parking locations at Marshwood Great Works School on Route 236, Community Center on Norton Street, Powder House Hill, and Agamenticus Field.
Strawberry Tent and Food: Strawberry shortcakes have always been a favorite of the Festival. They will begin serving at 10 a.m. until we run out. Last year we served up over 4,000 pounds of fresh strawberries, several dozen gallons of whipped cream and over 500 dozen biscuits. Strawberry cheesecake has also been added to the menu and complimented with, you guessed it, strawberries. The costs of these items are only $4.
In addition to shortcakes and cheesecakes there is also a huge food court. There will be a pancake breakfast from 6 – 10 a.m. Throughout the day there will be other various food items sold by local non-profit groups. The Fire Dept. will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and cold drinks. The Community Pantry will be serving up frozen lemonade. Knights of Columbus with fried dough, Masons with chicken BBQ and other assorted non-profit groups serving sandwich wraps, teriyaki, nachos, fruit cups, cotton candy and water.
Road Race: The day’s activities begin at 8 a.m. with a 5-mile road race and 2.5 mile fun walk, sponsored by the South Berwick Recreation Department and local businesses. It kicks off from Marshwood Middle School on Academy Street.
Entertainment: Throughout the day, a variety of entertainers from around the area will be performing on two stages set up around the grounds.
At the Central School Field Stage, Todd Wellington, professional silly person, gets things going at 9 - 11 a.m.; Women of Note, a cappella group at 11:30 – 1 p.m.; the Schaff Brothers at 2 - 4 p.m.
At the food court stage, Chronic Jazz Syndrome at 9 – 10:30 a.m.
Northern Explosion Cloggers, a great group of cloggers, at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.; Funky Diva’s of Gospel at 2 - 4 p.m.
In the field area from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wildlife Encounters. For the kids there will be a climbing wall, pony rides, a giant tiger slide, dunking booths, exotic animals’ exhibition and much more.
Crafts: Over 110 juried artisans will be on hand to display and sell their hand-made wares, including clothing, pottery, wood products, jewelry, paintings, photographs, candles, jams and dips, furniture, and much, much more. These crafters will be located both at the side of Central School and in the area around the food court.
Remember be kind to your pets and have them stay in the coolness of your home.
Web Site:
Photo caption: This year's Strawberry Festival Logo. (Courtesy Photo)

New Superintendent Named
for Wells-Ogunquit C.S.D.

The Wells-Ogunquit C.S.D. School Committee has announced that Elaine Tomaszewski has been named the new Superintendent of Schools for the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District. The announcement of her appointment and her formal introduction was made at the School Committee meeting of June 17th by School Committee Chairman Michael McDonald.
Ms. Tomaszewski has over 30 years experience in public education including teaching, serving as director of special services and, most recently, Superintendent of Schools in Freeport.
Some descriptive comments about Elaine Tomaszewski by her peers are as follows:
“A true and forceful advocate for schools…extremely professional, reasonable and cooperative in our dealings.”
“Elaine has led by using her beliefs in collaboration and team building, her skills as an excellent communicator, her knowledge of good instruction leading to learning, and her personal qualities of honesty, compassion, caring and kindness.”
“She is intelligent, energetic, a good listener, able to deal with stress and possesses a highly refined sense of humor, including a healthy insightful section of the self-deprecating kind. All of these attitudes add up to a person who holds herself to high standards at all times and is able to encourage everyone she comes in contact with to reach excellence.”
Ms. Tomaszewski received a B.S. Degree from the University of Maine at Farmington and a Masters of Science Degree in Communication Disorders from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She also received a M.S. Degree in Educational Administration and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Administration from the University of Southern Maine.
“I am very excited about working with such an established and highly skilled leader,” said Acting and Assistant Superintendent Ira Waltz. “Our District, and more importantly our students, will gain by her presence.
Ms. Tomaszewski will assume her new role in Wells as of July 1st.

Summer is Busy at the Raitt
Homestead Farm Museum

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
There is a need for volunteers to help staff two celebrations this summer at the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum.
Lisa Raitt, coordinator of events at the museum, said this week she is looking and hoping for up to 20 people to help with the Eliot Antique Tractor and Engine Show in July and the Celebrate Maine Festival in August.
“They’ll be doing pretty much everything,” she said of the volunteers. “It’s a trial by fire.”
The tractor show is scheduled July 24-26 at the farm on State Road in Eliot. Ideally she would like to have the volunteers in place by July 1.
More than 3,000 visitors are anticipated for the show but “it all depends on the weather,” Ms. Raitt said. Between 600 and 1,000 exhibitors are anticipated, including 300 to 500 tractors.
Ms. Raitt said there would be engines of “all different kinds” in “some pretty unique displays” during the 14th annual show.
The weather is not only a factor impacting the show, but also in the preparation for it. The displays are set up in a large hay field at the 33-acre farm, and in order to be ready the field must be hayed, something that the current spell of rain is preventing.
The funds raised by the Antique Tractor and Engine Show and the Celebrate Maine Festival will benefit the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum.
Ms. Raitt said 100 percent of the money “goes right back into the property” in various forms. She said there are “a lot of buildings we are trying to restore” at the museum and these funds are especially key in the current economic climate.
The land at 2077 State Road was a farm, is a farm, and the property “will never be sold for development or anything,” she said.
The farm was established in 1896 by Charles A. Raitt and for years was one of the finest farms in southern Maine.
There are spaces available for vendors and artisans at both events. The deadline for applications is Aug. 1. Those wishing to volunteer or become part of either or both events can do so by calling (207) 748-3303 or e-mailing Lisa Raitt at
The Celebrate Maine Festival, formerly presented by the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce, will be held Aug. 8-9 at the farm. The museum and the Chamber were partners in the celebration for four years, “a marriage made in heaven,” Ms. Raitt said. “The groups worked well together.”
This is the first year the celebration will be hosted solely by the museum with the funds raised going totally to it. “It’s perfectly fine for us,” she said. “It’s wonderful revenue for the farm.”
An added event for Celebrate Maine is the Mainely Grillin’ & Chillin’ Country BBQ State Competition sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society and the New England BBQ Society that has been proclaimed the "Official State of Maine BBQ Competition by Governor Baldacci.
This event is a qualifier for the Jack Daniel's Invitational in Lynchburg, Tenn., and the American Royal Invitational in Kansas City, Mo.
Ms. Raitt said there are already 17 teams signed up to compete in this event.
The teams will be competing for over $3,000 in cash and prizes and the title of the 2009 “Mainely Grillin’ and Chillin’ Country BBQ State Competition” Grand Champion.
Photo caption: One big event at the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum this summer is the Eliot Antique Tractor and Engine Show. (Courtesy photo)