Friday, September 24, 2010

Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills to Speak at UNE

Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills – the only American ever to win the Olympic 10,000 meter run, and only the second Native American to do so worldwide – will speak at the University of New England Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. His lecture, “Global Unity Through Global Diversity,” will take place at UNE’s Biddeford Campus Center. It is free and open to the public.
Mills is an Oglala Sioux Indian whose given Native American name is Loves His Country. He was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Although Pine Ridge is rich in Native American culture and spirit, it is also recognized as one of the poorest communities in America.
Mills was orphaned by the age of 12 and raised by his grandmother. He attended Haskell Indian School, where he became involved in distance running, and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Kansas. He was named an NCAA American cross country runner three times.
Upon graduation, Mills was commissioned an officer in the United States Marine Corps, and continued training for the Olympic team. He qualified for the 1964 Olympic team in two events, the marathon and the 10,000-meter run, and achieved one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history by defeating favorite Ron Clarke of Australia.
Mills was the subject of a major motion picture, “Running Brave,” and co-authored the book, “Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding,” with Nicholas Sparks. In 2005, Mills published his second book, “Lessons of a Lakota.” He has been inducted into the United States National Track and Field Hall of Fame and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Mills is the spokesperson for Running Strong for American Indian Youth, an organization that helps support projects that benefit the American Indian people, especially youth.
FMI: Lara Carlson, Ph.D., 602-2810 or visit
Photo caption: Billy Mills is an Olympic gold medalist who is the only American ever to win the Olympic 10,000 meter run, and only the second Native American to do so worldwide.. (Courtesy photo)

Producer of Naval Prison Documentaries Brings Family Histories to Life

Neil Novello, video producer of the recent documentary about the Portsmouth Naval Prison, “The Castle”, will be screening video clips and discussing his approach to producing family biographies at Traip Academy in Kittery on Thursday, September 30, 7-9 pm.
Novello’s career spans over twenty years producing a wide variety of video productions. His presentation will cover the filmmaking process with a focus on video biographies. Some of the topics covered include developing the family history for the medium, interviewing, gathering and organizing photos, and much more. In addition to Novello’s filmmaking tips, the video clips he will be showing cover a wide range of subjects and approaches to illustrate his presentation.
“We will be viewing clips which show the blending of different media, such as home movie footage, photos, newspaper articles and artifacts, for example, a World War Two experience of a Black Sheep Squadron pilot as told by his wife,” says Novello.
“In a way, I’ve been a family’s personalized Ken Burns of PBS’s Civil War fame,” says Novello. “You don’t have to be a celebrity to have an experience that’s important to remember.”
A Life Remembered is a Life Honored, the title of the event as well as the guiding principle of Novello’s family bios, will be part “how to” and part “entertaining” with a dash of “insight”. Admission is $8.00. To reserve a space, please contact Heather Thibodeau at or visit
Photo caption: Neil Novello is the video producer of the recent documentary about the Portsmouth Naval Prison, “The Castle” ( photo)

Maine Alpaca Open Farm Weekend is this Weekend

It’s that time of year again — 16 Alpaca farms across Maine are opening their barn doors to the public, offering an opportunity to see and even interact with these gentle and curious creatures, meet the owners, and learn about the business of alpaca farming and the attraction of the alpaca lifestyle.
Most farms have a farm store where visitors can purchase alpaca yarn or luxurious garments and accessories made from alpaca fiber, the quality and softness of which has been compared to cashmere. Specific items for sale include blankets, rugs, duvets, sweaters, hats, scarves and gloves from fiber that’s been grown in Maine.
The Alpaca Farms in southern York County who are involved in this event, held Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26, include Alpaca Fields, Inc. in Berwick (Open 10-4 both days) and Blueberry Fields Alpaca Farm, LP in York (Open 10-4 Saturday only).
Photo caption: Eliot’s first sunbath at 6 hours old. (Pamela Harwood at Longwoods Alpaca Farm photo)