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)