Friday, March 26, 2010

Wells Resident Steps Up to Assist Haiti Aid Mission

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
A Wells man is home after delivering aid to the people of Haiti.
Kevin Garthwaite, 57, a 1971 graduate of Wells High School and a 1976 graduate of the Maine Maritime Academy, stepped up when a ship filled with donations from Maine people ran into red tape in Florida en route to the earthquake ravaged island.
The 220-foot MV Sea Hunter, owned by Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research, was in limbo as no one on the crew had the license required by the United States Coast Guard to take the ship to Haiti.
Garthwaite, whose brothers Jerry and Peter also graduated from Wells and Maine Maritime and went to sea, was home when he read about the Sea Hunter’s problems in getting to its proposed destination.
“I was pretty sure I had the credentials that were required,” he said in a Tuesday interview.
Having been home only a month and a half after five-and-a half months away, he asked his wife, Marguerite, about joining the humanitarian effort.
“I said I think I can do something here and she said go for it,” he said.
So he went to Florida to look the operation over. After talking with Sea Hunter’s captain, Gary Esper, Brooks and the Coast Guard, he was “comfortable with the operation” and joined the effort. “That kind of freed the boat up,” he said.
It took just about three days to complete the trip and the ship dropped anchor at Miragoane, the only port that had the heavy equipment preferred for unloading the ship. The port is about 50 miles from Port au Prince where much of the damage occurred.
Extended negotiations were then held with the local government officials concerning various aspects of the unloading process, he said, although he was not directly involved in those talks.
“We hung around there waiting to get into the dock,” Garthwaite said. “To call it red tape is an understatement.”
Unable to reach an agreement there, the Sea Hunter moved to Les Cayes and anchored about eight miles off the island and, again, waited for permission to go in.
Garthwaite said there was little damage in Les Cayes but refugees from the quake area were coming to that town, overloading the infrastructure capabilities.
Following another set of talks with the local government, the unloading of the ship began.
During the time there, Garthwaite said, a lot of canoes, outriggers, and other small boats came to the ship looking for the cargo. Due to the number of boats and the urgency to get supplies “it got out of hand a few times” but Haitian police and United Nations Security boats kept everything under control, Garthwaite said.
“It was extremely poor,” he said of the area. “It kind of shocked me.”
Garthwaite said he was on board because of Coast Guard regulations and not because of any problem with the captain. “I was there advising him,” he aid. “They didn’t have a lot of experience around cargo. I had a license and the Coast Guard required that.”
Garthwaite, who said he generally serves as second mate and navigation officer, has experience gained working on container ships and other cargo vessels.
He works mostly out of the Masters Mates and Pilots Union Halls in Long Beach and San Francisco, Calif.
Finally back from Haiti, he said he would probably return to sea sometime this summer.

Voters will be asked to help preserve the Deb-Tone Farm in North Berwick. (Courtesy photo) Conservation of North Berwick Farm Goes Before Voters

According to ME DOT, on average 9,000 motorists drive by Deb-Tone Farm on Route 4 every day and for them Deb-Tone Farm provides the bucolic foreground of one of the most scenic vistas of Mt. Agamenticus and the Tatnic Hills. For residents of North Berwick, Deb-Tone is a beloved example of the agrarian roots of this community and an iconic feature of their hometown.
At this year’s town meeting on April 10th, North Berwick residents will have the opportunity to help permanently protect this farm and view. Article 3 of the 2010 Town Warrant proposes allocating a portion of the town’s Open Space Fund toward the conservation of Deb-Tone Farm. Monies in the Open Space fund were generated from impact fees assessed on new residential development and do not come from the general revenues raised by taxation.
Conservation of Deb-Tone Farm began in March of last year, when the owners, Kenney and Marion Goodwin, contacted Great Works Regional Land Trust about permanently protecting the farm through a conservation easement. Great Works Regional Land Trust’s Farmland Protection program has conserved 21 farms and over 1,000 acres to date and has received statewide recognition for its efforts. Deb-Tone’s rich agricultural soils and location within the 500+ acre working landscape of Cabbage Hill made it eligible for 50% funding for the acquisition of its development rights through the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program. The April 10th vote will be the first step toward raising the local match to these federal funds.
The campaign to protect Deb-Tone Farm has until January 2011 to raise the $230,000 needed to purchase the easement and reimburse the upfront expenses associated with the project such as surveys and appraisals. $102,000 has been committed toward the project by the federal FRPP program, Maine Farmland Trust and individual donors. The proposed commitment from the town of North Berwick is for $40,000, which was endorsed by the Board of Selectmen and the North Berwick Budget Committee.
An information session is scheduled for March 31st at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Room at the Woolen Mill in North Berwick for the public to learn more about Deb-Tone Farm and the role conservation easements play in saving farmland. Information is also available at the land trust website or by calling the land trust office at (207) 646-3604.
Photo caption: Voters will be asked to help preserve the Deb-Tone Farm in North Berwick. (Courtesy photo)

Rep. Kathy Chase Hails New Property Tax Safety Net

State Rep. Kathy Chase says too many elderly Mainers have been forced to sell their homes because of rising property taxes. A successful bill that she sponsored will enable these residents to defer tax payments until circumstances change, as long as their municipalities offer the new program.
On March 2, the Legislature unanimously approved LD 1121, An Act to Protect Elderly Residents from Losing Their Homes Due to Taxes or Foreclosure. Governor Baldacci signed it into law a few days later.
The new statute allows a municipality to establish a property tax deferral program for eligible senior citizens. In tax jurisdictions that offer the program, homeowners could apply for a deferral of their property taxes starting at age 70 if they have occupied the home for at least 10 years. They also must have a household income of less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level, which works out to approximately $30,000 for a single person and $42,000 for a couple.
“This is a long-needed safety net for fixed-income folks who face high property taxes simply because their house has appreciated in value,” said Rep. Chase (R-Wells). “These are the kind of folks who would usually sell their homes and move rather than face property tax liens. After paying taxes all those years, it is highly unfair to now tax them out of their homes.”
Under the new law, taxes would be deferred until the time that certain events occur, including the death of the homeowner or the sale of the property. At that point, the repayment of the taxes is required within a set period of time, along with payment of interest at a rate of 0.5 percent above the annually established rate for delinquent taxes. The law provides procedures for the municipality to preserve the right to enforce a lien.
“The State of Maine is not involved in this program,” Rep. Chase said. “This will be handled by communities. It will operate like a community support system and ensure that our elderly residents remain in their homes and continue to play an essential role in keeping our towns as whole communities.”
A municipality that adopts the program would send an annual notice, in lieu of a property tax bill, with an accounting of taxes deferred and interest accrued. A municipality could discontinue the program, but any taxes deferred under the program would continue to be deferred under the conditions of the program on the date it was ended.

Friday, March 19, 2010

York Hospital Unveils State of the Art Surgical Center

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
Nearly 500 people toured York Hospital’s Phase I of the new Surgery Center during open house celebrations last weekend.
From the new entrance and waiting area, where refreshments were served, to the pre- and post-operative rooms, nurse’s station, and recovery rooms, people had an opportunity to view the future. When Phase II is completed late this fall, the surgical capacity of the hospital will be doubled.
The project is the result of a lot of work by architects, contractors and hospital staff.
“There was a lot of in-house involvement, absolutely,” Jud Knox, the hospital president, said, standing in the corridor outside the private recovery rooms.
An example of that involvement, he said, were the doors on those rooms that are thought to be unique to York Hospital.
“We found someone who could build these doors,” he said, pointing to the automatic sliders through which nurses can monitor patients. But during a test in a mock room, nurses felt the doors opening and closing was too noisy and, they noted, post-op patients are particularly susceptible to noise.
“So the nurses worked with the door manufacturer” to solve that problem, Knox said. “So these are one of a kind doors.”
Tour guides were in place during the open house to accompany visitors through the facility and answer any questions they might have.
“It’s really beautiful, isn’t it?” Steve Pelletier, chief operating officer of the hospital, said of Phase I. “We’re looking forward to the challenges of the other phases.”
Many commented on the pastel colors used throughout as being unusual for a hospital and creating a warm and comforting atmosphere.
Standing at what will be the entrance to the next surgical suites when the project is completed, Knox explained why the expansion was necessary.
“We’re just out of capacity,” he said. “We couldn’t accommodate any more surgeons. We’ve just grown to the degree that we’ve outgrown our facilities.”
When that happens, Knox said, “you can’t attract surgeons and you can’t keep surgeons.”
The project will virtually double the hospital’s capacity for surgical procedures when completed, probably late in the fall.
There will be two additional surgical suites, bringing the total to five, with six private pre- and post- op rooms, and a private recovery area with six private patient rooms.
The need for additional capacity is underlined by the rapid increase in need. According to hospital figures from 2000 to 2007, the need for surgical procedures increased 101 percent, an average of 14 percent per year, from 3,201 cases to 6,429.
There’s already a new fa├žade facing Lindsay Road that was designed to fit into the historic character of York Village.
The work is also being done with future expansion, if needed, in mind along with increased surgical volume and revenue.
The redesigned center also provides privacy while reducing waiting for patients and families, preserves personalized pre-operative attention, and supports family participation throughout the surgical experience.
The designing and building of the expanded Surgical Center did not ignore environmental responsibilities. Wherever possible, efforts were and are being made to conserve energy and be environmentally friendly.
These include a solar energy collection device to provide up to 70 percent of the center’s hot water needs with the potential for future expansion, an advanced lighting system designed to save energy and a day lighting strategy that brings natural light to the private pre- and post- operative rooms and corridors, reducing the need for electric lighting.
Photo caption: York Hospital President Jud Knox leads a tour of the hospital’s new surgical center. (Larry Favinger photo)

Maine Students to Celebrate Creative Odyssey

Maine’s annual Odyssey of the Mind annual state tournament will be held Saturday, March 20, at the Sanford Schools’ Route 109 Campus. This year’s tournament is especially significant as Maine Adventures in Creativity, sponsors of Odyssey of the Mind, is not only celebrating its 10th year as sponsor of the Odyssey of the Mind program in Maine but also has the honor of welcoming Odyssey’s founder, Dr. Samuel Micklus, to join in the festivities. Odyssey of the Mind has challenged students in Maine to work collaboratively, to use divergent thinking skills, and to think “outside the box” for 28 years.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. This year over 700 Maine students on teams from as far south as Kittery, York, Wells, Sanford, Kennebunk, Waterboro, Acton, and all the way up to Dover-Foxcroft, to name just a few, will be performing. Performances will begin at 8 a.m. and run until approximately 3 p.m., and will take place at Sanford High School, Sanford Junior High School and the Memorial Gym. Closing Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Memorial Gym.
In Odyssey of the Mind, students learn at a young age skills that will last a lifetime. Students work in teams so they learn cooperation and respect for the ideas of others. They evaluate ideas and make decisions on their own, gaining greater self-confidence and increased self-esteem along the way. Students also work within a budget, so they learn to manage their money. Under the guidance of an adult coach, teams work on their solutions throughout the school year and present them in competitions in the spring. The friendly contest encourages students to be the best that they can be. Students not only see that there is often more than one way to solve a problem but that sometimes the process is more important than the end result.
Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building technical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Each year the problems are creative and diverse and this year’s selection is no exception. Join the “Nature Trail’R” as teams design, build and drive a human-powered vehicle and camper that will go on a camping trip but not without encountering a few obstacles along the way. You may also witness the “Gift of Flight” as teams make and operate a series of aircraft that will complete a variety of flight plans. Experience the excitement of “Discovered Treasures” as teams create and present an original performance that includes the portrayal of the discovery of two archaeological treasures. Marvel at the skills on display at “Column Structure” as teams design and build balsa wood columns that balance and support as much weight as possible. If you get hungry you can always stop by “Food Court” and enjoy a humorous performance where a food item is accused of being unhealthy and must defend itself among its food peers. Not to be left out, our primary teams, comprised of students from kindergarten through second grade, will be presenting a humorous performance that includes a “Surprise Party” for a team-created character.
Teams will be judged by a group of trained volunteers who award points based upon originality, creativity, and several other factors. Teams also bring their solutions to competition on the World stage. Thousands of teams from throughout the United States and about 25 countries from around the world participate in the program. This year, Maine’s qualifying state teams advance to World Finals competition being help May 26th through 29th at Michigan State University.
The Odyssey of the Mind competition originated in Glassboro, New Jersey when Dr. Micklus, a professor of industrial design at the former Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, first challenged his students to build a vehicle that could cross a pond on campus. “Dr. Sam,” as he’s affectionately known in Odyssey circles, motivated his students to create vehicles without wheels, mechanical pie throwers and flotation devices that would take them across a course on the water. He evaluated them not on the success of their solutions, but on the ingenuity applied and the risk involved in trying something new and different. Students enjoyed the exercise. Word quickly spread and the activities attracted public interest. In 1978, 28 New Jersey schools participated in the very first creative problem-solving competition and Odyssey of the Mind was born. “Dr. Sam” still develops all problems for the program, along with his son, Sammy, President of the organization.
Join Maine Adventures in Creativity in commemorating their 10-year partnership with Odyssey of the Mind and welcoming “Dr. Sam” to this year’s tournament. MAC looks forward to many more years of creative problem solving in Maine and invites one and all from Odyssey alumni, supporters, old friends, and potential new members to this year’s tournament. Come, celebrate, and see what all of the excitement is about.

Wells Police Strives for Well Being of Seniors, Persons with Disabilities

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
The Wells Police Department recently implemented a couple of community-based programs that they want to make residents aware of. The two programs - Good Morning and Registration for At Risk - aim to make sure that Wells residents are safe and secure in their homes.
The Good Morning program targets people 60 years of age and older as well as adults that live alone and are at risk of illness, injury, and/or isolation, and aims to ensure their well-being.
“The program started Jan. 1,” said Lieut. Ruth Farnsworth. “It’s for folks that are 60 and over, are shut-ins and don’t have a lot of social contact. Each morning between 7 and 10 a.m., they call here to check in. If we don’t hear from them, we call them. If they don’t answer, we make a visit. Maybe they have family members who are busy working and can’t check in every morning. This gives folks a way to live in their own homes and still get a daily check-in.”
Farnsworth noted that the program was voluntary on the part of the participant. “The individual must be willing to sign up and call in,” she said. “We have two officers who help out, Eric Roubo and Joshua Stewart. People need to sit down with those officers and talk with them. They talk about things like medications, the name of the person’s doctor, when they are going to be away, etc.”
The service is free to Wells residents. Participants may provide the police department with a key to their house, but are not required to do so, although the police note that having a key would allow them to avoid having to enter a house forcibly if they are unable to communicate with the resident. The resident can cancel participation in the program at any time.
The At Risk program emanated from door-to-door checks the department made during the Dec. 2008 ice storm that resulted in widespread power outages. “We went door-to-door to check on folks and realized that it takes a lot of time,” Farnsworth said. “Then FEMA came out with its At Risk Registration (form).”
That form is a simple document that records the names of the people living in a home, the address and phone number, whether and/or how many pets live there, the name of someone to contact in case of an emergency, and a brief description of any impairment the person might have.
“The form is short and easy,” Farnsworth said. “It is kept confidential and is only used in an emergency.”
The program is meant to alert public safety officials about the location of individuals with special needs, infirmities, and/or impairments to expedite finding and transporting them in case of an emergency. Participants can include people that are dependent on others for routine care, blind or visually impaired, deaf or hearing impaired, require assistance with medications or medical care, use a wheel chair, walker, or cane, have an amputation, are receiving chemotherapy, dialysis, or is bedridden, have a mental health issue, are elderly and/or housebound, or are just concerned about their own well being during an emergency.
“It saves us time if we know who they are,” said Farnsworth. “We could get to these folks quicker if we have to evacuate them. It’s about being able to respond to the folks that really need us.”
The At Risk program is also free to participants. Unlike the Good Morning program, relatives can identify their kin that could benefit from participating. The specific individual does not have to register him or herself. “Family members can ask to put their parents, and so forth, on the list,” Farnsworth said.
Persons interested in either or both programs should contact the Wells Police at 646-9354.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ogunquit Activist Jimmy Lucibello Acknowledged for HIV/AIDS Work

MaineStreet, Five-O Shore Road to Hold Fundraisers in Lucibello’s Honor
By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
For years, Ogunquit’s Jimmy Lucibello has worked tirelessly as an advocate and educator for people that are HIV-positive or have AIDS. Most recently, he’s worked as a Men’s Health Outreach Specialist for York County for the Frannie Peabody Center. On March 27, Lucibello is being recognized for his efforts by the organization Equality Maine. They are awarding him the Cameron Duncan Award at their Annual Dinner in Portland that evening.
But that’s not the only event celebrating Lucibello that weekend. Rather, his friends in Ogunquit are staging two local events to acknowledge Lucibello’s work and to raise money for the cause he champions. On Friday, March 26 from 7 to 9 p.m., Norm Paquin, the owner of MaineStreet, where Lucibello also works, is having a cocktail party in his honor. The next morning, Five-O Shore Road is featuring Lucibello at its 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. brunch.
“A lot of people want to honor Jimmy at MaineStreet and Five-O that can’t attend the (Saturday evening) dinner,” Paquin said. “We will donate 50 percent of the bar sales to the Frannie Peabody Center.”
Jeff Porter of Five-O said the restaurant would donate a percentage of its sales from the brunch to the Peabody Center. He noted also that Five-O’s Donato Tramuto would donate $10 per brunch customer that day from his charitable foundation to the Peabody Center.
Lucibello has been working in the field since he was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1989. He moved to Ogunquit in 2000 and continued his outreach and advocacy in Southern Maine. “I became an advocate for the cause right away,” he said. “I do outreach and encourage people to use the free anonymous testing. I try to be a connection between the community and resources available for folks with HIV and AIDS. It has been my life’s mission.”
Lucibello is following the footsteps of the person for whom his award is named. “Cameron Duncan was an activist in the 1980s, who educated kids, health care professionals and others until his death at age 34,” said Dorian Cole, Equality Maine’s Communications Coordinator. “The award goes to someone that does the same kind of work. Jimmy was also a part of the No on One campaign (in the fall of 2009), on top of all the outreach he does every day.”
In addition to his work with the Peabody Center, Lucibello has also started a support group in Ogunquit, called Go Ogunquit. “It’s for men to have a safe haven place to gather outside of the bars and the Internet to discuss things and keep them safe,” he said. “The group is in its third year and has over 170 members. We meet Mondays with five to 25 people attending. It’s a great way to get the word out there.”
Paquin said it’s the body of Lucibello’s work that is being acknowledged. “They’re recognizing his work in HIV and AIDS,” Paquin said. “He also runs Go Ogunquit, a social networking group that talks about prevention. We’re thrilled he got the award.”
That sentiment is shared at the Peabody Center as well. “Jimmy is great,” said Peabody Center staff person Ed Corley. “He’s there working for us and he works 24/7.”
Lucibello said he appreciates the acknowledgement. “It’s overwhelming, pretty humbling,” he said. “I’m an average guy trying his hardest to be an advocate in the community and make people aware this virus isn’t gone. I want people to know there are places they can go. But I’m completely humbled by this. What they’re doing in Ogunquit is amazing.”
Indeed, Lucibello’s colleagues believe what he’s doing is amazing, and they’re hoping people turn out in force at MaineStreet and Five-O that weekend to let him know.
Photo caption: Ogunquit’s Jimmy Lucibello is this year’s recipient of Equality Maine’s Cameron Duncan award. (Courtesy photo)

Mousam River Group Spearheads Intervale Public Park

The Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance, supported by the Maine Rivers organization, Wells Reserve, and the Town of Kennebunk, welcomes the community to participate in a site walk and design workshop to focus on plans for the creation of a public park with canoe and kayak access to the Mousam River.
The National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program is also supporting the planning process. Additionally, Yarmouth landscape architect Mitchell Rasor is donating design services.
The park will be located on Intervale Road in Kennebunk, on land acquired by Kennebunk following the floods of 2006 and 2007. The property fronts the Mousam River, making it ideal for carry-in boat access.
Members of the community are invited to the site walk, scheduled for Saturday, March 20th at 9 a.m. The hour-long walk will be followed by a design workshop convening at 10:30 a.m. in Room 300 of Kennebunk Town Hall. In the event of snow or rain, a postponement message will be left at 985-2102 (x 1312), and the walk will be held on Saturday March 27th.
“The idea of having a workshop is to brainstorm about how best to take advantage of this wonderful new community resource,” notes Landis Hudson of Maine Rivers. “We would like to see involvement by students, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and other youth groups.”
In addition to the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance members, participants in the site walk and design workshop will include Kennebunk’s Town Manager and Town Planner, and members of the town’s Planning Board.
For its part, the goal of the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers Alliance is to protect, restore and enhance the ecological health of the Mousam and Kennebunk Rivers. “Our community is increasingly recognizing their significance,” notes MKRA member RJ Mere. “People are now taking steps to improve water quality, to restore fishery and aquatic ecosystems, and protect habitat.”
“The creation of this park will give people better access to the Mousam River for recreation,” said Mere. “The rivers are also important to the local economy, and they impart a strong sense of place.”
Photo caption: Landis Hudson of Maine Rivers surveys the site of proposed park on the Mousam River. (Courtesy photo)

A Real Wonderland

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
(Editor’s note: This article is another reflection by Chip Schrader on literary aspects of places he visited and things he learned during a recent trip to Europe.)
A stereotypical rainy day in Oxford, England that a local shopkeeper ironically calls “exotic” makes the perfect setting for visiting one of the greatest literary landmarks in the English-speaking world. Christ Church College sprawls along the outskirts of downtown Oxford boasting gated gardens around it, and a courtyard and fountain that New Englanders often see only in their dreams.
Referenced in literary works by Shakespeare, Yeats, Lewis Carroll, Phillip Pullman, and most currently, J.K. Rowling, the entryway and halls were used as the filming location for the first two Harry Potter films. The Dining Hall just beyond the stairs is where Oxford’s greatest dined: Isaac Newton, William Penn, Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and several Prime Ministers, most of whom are represented among the hundreds of portraits that line the walls. This legendary room also inspired the majestic Great Hall at Hogwarts, only slightly smaller, where the students ate and were assigned to their groups by the sorting hat.
While penniless, Rowling drew inspiration from numerous English fantasy novels after a four hour wait at the Manchester train station. She infused the influences of many authors who walked within these corridors, thus, Harry Potter was born. In Christ Church, it is obvious to the visitor that the Harry Potter stories and settings provided a realm where Rowling’s struggles transported her to a place where she could mingle with Britain’s most influential people, something she herself would soon be after a stint of being on welfare to get her teaching certification.
But, Christ Church’s modern day significance does not halt there. Among the gardens with little doorways and stone walls was where Lewis Carroll had met Alice Dodgson, the young daughter of Oxford’s dean. As this shy mathematician spent his hours with his friend Alice and her siblings, he was inspired to write “Alice in Wonderland.” Because of this book that has been adapted for the screen numerous times, and recently with Tim Burton’s version focusing on the Mad Hatter premiering this past weekend, it is difficult not to feel transported away from reality when looking at the gardens and yards where such curious characters roamed.
Within the Dining Hall, there is a small doorway that visitors will stumble upon. It was this very doorway Carroll hid behind as his social tolerance weakened. It was that very transformative doorway that made numerous appearances in numerous forms within his book.
Across the street from the Cathedral, is Alice’s Shop. According to their website, in Lewis Carroll’s time, this shop was a small grocery store, but in his book this was transformed into “The Old Sheep Shop” where Alice would reach for an item, and it would mysteriously drift away. Today it is an “Alice in Wonderland” themed souvenir shop where tea cloths, card decks, and prints are among the items they offer featuring the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, Alice and several other characters.
According to the Guardian, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland broke records with a $116.3 million opening weekend. The film stars Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Meanwhile, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is slated to be released in the United States November 19th, and while doesn’t cite Christ Church College as a filming location, the Dining Hall will always be an icon of the film series.
Photo caption: The grounds of Christ Church in Oxford, England. (Chip Schrader photo)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Marshwood High Students Win Statewide U.S. Constitution Competition

On April 23, students from Marshwood High School will travel to Washington, D.C., where they will represent Maine in the national finals of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution. About 1,200 high school students from all fifty states and Saipan will participate in the highly prestigious academic competition on the U.S. Constitution.
The Marshwood students have studied for months to prepare for their role as experts testifying on constitutional issues in a simulated congressional hearing. To represent Maine at the national finals, the class won the state competition held in Portland on Feb. 5.
“It is a tremendous honor to represent Marshwood and the state of Maine at the National Finals, ” said Matt Sanzone, a social studies teacher who led the class to the championship. “This group of students is incredibly talented and motivated. Their performance at the state championship was exceptional.”
The first round of the national finals will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, Virginia, April 24 and 25. Now in its 23rd year, the competition involves entire classes making presentations and answering questions on constitutional topics before a panel of judges recruited from across the country. Constitutional scholars, lawyers, and government leaders, acting as congressional committee members, will judge the students’ performances. The combined scores of the classes during the first two days of hearings will determine the top 10 classes to compete in the championship round Monday, April 26 in congressional hearing rooms in the Senate Dirksen Office Building.
The annual three-day final competition is the culminating activity of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, the most extensive civic education program of its kind in the country. The Marshwood students have been studying We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, developed by the Center for Civic Education. The text provides students with an understanding of the fundamental values and principles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. During their stay in Washington, D.C., the students will tour historical sites and have an opportunity to visit Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe and District 1 Representative Chellie Pingree.
Students representing Marshwood at the National Finals are: Dennis Ailinger, Elizabeth Barker, Meagan Beckert, Emily Bryant, Natasha Chabot, Emma Collins, Isabella Connelly, Rob Harper, Kelsey Hoyt, Tim Jefferson, Coby Jones, Steve Lachance, Caroline Muise, Tucker Nixon, Tad Olsen and Hannah Perry.
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the Education for Democracy Act approved by the United States Congress. The program is directed by the Center for Civic Education in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Nationwide, the program is implemented at the upper elementary, middle, and high school levels and has reached more than 30 million students and 81,000 teachers during its 22-year history. A 2006–2007 independent study examined the effects of the We the People program on civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes, evaluating We the People participants and a matched comparison group of high school government students. We the People students scored 30 percent higher than their peers on a comprehensive test that measured understanding of core values and principles of democracy, constitutional limits on governmental institutions, and rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
“Our big challenge now is fundraising. Each student needs to raise approximately $600 to help pay for the travel and lodging expenses. We are hoping that the community will be supportive and help finance the trip,” said Sanzone. Anyone interested in helping can contact Matt Sanzone at Marshwood High School at (207) 384–4500.
Photo caption: Marshwood High students will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in a national competition on the U.S. Constitution. (Courtesy photo)

Amsterdam in Letters: The Anne Frank House

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
(Editor’s note: Chip Schrader, our book review editor, recently took a trip to Amsterdam, during which he visited the Anne Frank House. This is his account of that visit.)
Before Frank McCourt’s tortured memoir as a blue collared youth in the slums of Limerick, there was a diary found in the back of a home where an entire family hid from Hitler’s reign of terror. Anne Frank, a sassy and intelligent thirteen year old, decided to keep this diary as her childhood became increasingly endangered by the Nazi occupation of Holland.
Today Amsterdam, named after the dam that holds back the Amstel, remains a major tourist Mecca with its intricate canal system lined by stone streets, bridges and buildings that have existed since the time of Washington, and long before. In mid-February, the air is icy with the occasional spit of hail floating in the North Sea breeze revealing the breath of the city’s old soul.
The most notable of the canals was named after Anne Frank. The peaceful walk along this canal makes it difficult to realize it was once patrolled by the Nazis. Now with the cyclists, dogs, and tourists that mingle throughout this quiet, yet busy city, those who roamed here were not always so carefree.
Amidst the graceful bustle, the Anne Frank house looks like any other house in Amsterdam. It somewhat resembles what we call a townhouse in the United States. It is only the attached museum that gives this landmark away. In a sense, being so common and unsuspecting, it makes sense this location was used to hide the Franks from imprisonment, but living like this was an imprisonment in itself.
Anne was always cheerful in the pages of her diary. Her constant worry about footsteps being heard in the warehouse below, and the absence of sunlight never seemed to rob her of her youth. Within the house, the cutouts of movie stars and other scenes Anne’s father gave her to liven up the plainness of her quarters remain encased in glass in the very spots she placed them. Various editions and drafts of her diary, and film footage of her father (the lone survivor) are placed throughout the house.
An interesting feature, besides having covered windows, is that the stairs had to be so steep, the steps overhung each other hazarding the climber to bump their shins (numerous times). The doorway through which Anne had to hop through to the back house is still intact. It is a knee-deep step that brings the visitor to the flooring of the house’s hidden quarters. On the walls, pointed passages from the diary are printed in a neat script to remind the visitor of the significance of each room.
Among the most chilling of the displays are the lists of Jewish citizens, some of whom may have successfully escaped the pogrom, some of whom had that fate still awaiting them. Displayed beside photographs, relics and papers of the Frank family is a golden star with the label “Jude,” a tag that Jews were required to wear in the streets so that other citizens knew who they were.
Perhaps the Jewish Joan of Arc, Anne Frank’s humanity and unrealized future shook the world upon her diary’s publication. Toward the end of the exhibit, the numerous translations of her diary are collected to illustrate the worldwide coverage this brilliant young journalist had achieved after her early fate. Now humanity prays this book will continue to prevent history’s repetition as one of the world’s most beautiful cities continues to celebrate the legacy of Anne Frank.
Photo caption: Anne Frank ( photo)

Warren’s Lobster House Celebrating 70 Years of Service

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The well-known and popular Warren’s Lobster House has a long and interesting history, which will be celebrated in March with a four-day Open House.
In 1940, Warren “Pete” Wurm opened a six-stool clam and lobster stand on the Maine banks of the Piscataqua River.
Over the ensuing 70 years of operation Warren’s Lobster House has grown into a 350-seat restaurant, bakery, lobster pound, gift shop, lounge and 200-foot boat dock and become a virtual Kittery icon.
It also features a well-known and popular salad bar and full-service open-air deck.
Most of the expansion of the restaurant took place between the time it was opened and 1955,” Scott Cunningham, the current owner said during an interview in his office. The exceptions are the solarium and seasonal 80-seat deck in the 90’s. “Other than that the facility was the way it stands today.”
The Cunningham Family has owned the restaurant since 2006 when they bought out their partner, David Mickee. Cunningham and Mickee had owned the restaurant since 1984. Joining Scott and his wife Claudia in the business are their son and daughter, Brad Cunningham and Colleen MacDonald.
The 70th anniversary will be celebrated at the restaurant during the month of March with a four-day Open House recognizing the current and former owners. These include Wurm on March 23, represented by his daughter and family; the Anton and Assad families March 24, the Mickee family March 25 and the Cunningham family March 26.
Details of the celebration can be found on the Warren’s website.
Wurm operated Warren’s until the mid-50’s when the Anton and Assad families purchased it. That group sold it to Mickee and Cunningham, who were working in the food service industry in Manchester, N.H., in 1984, after several interviews.
“We decided we wanted to do something different, so we bought this,” Cunningham said of he and his long-time partner.
Cunningham and Mickee made few changes to the facility.
“We’ve done a number of things over the years in upgrading,” Cunningham, who comes from Pittsburgh, Pa., and currently lives in Barrington, N.H. said, “But we tried to keep it looking as it did originally. We’ve been fairly successful in doing that. We did not want to change what it was all about.”
The restaurant became a year-round operation shortly after Cunningham and Mickee purchased it.
“We decided early on we didn’t want to be a seasonal restaurant,” Cunningham said. “So we did anything and everything we could to bring customers in to make it viable year round to have a year round staff.”
He said in the first summer they noted staff was leaving just when they had learned the ropes, and that underlined the importance of having a year round staff.
Currently, Warrens employs approximately 90 people year around, many of them long-time employees. The staff grows to about 140 during the summer season.
Although well known locally, Warren’s “is a destination restaurant,” Cunningham said. “People plan whatever they’re doing to stop at Warren’s. They come from all over New England.”
Cunningham estimates that about 80 percent of the restaurant’s business came from away when he and Mickee bought it. He now estimates 55 to 60 percent of Warren’s business comes from people visiting the area with 40 to 45 percent from local residents. “That’s exactly what we wanted to do to make it viable year-round.”
Warren’s has been around for a long time and intends to continue to serve the public as well in the future in its own accomplished and widely recognized style.
Photo caption: Warren’s Lobster House is celebrating its 70th anniversary in March. Here it is a long time ago... (Courtesy photos)