Friday, December 3, 2010

“Wreaths Across America” to Stop at Wells Junior High

Christopher Chessie, Principal of Wells Junior High School (WJHS), has announced that “Wreaths Across America” will make a stop at WJHS at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, December 6. This stop has become part of the journey that this organization takes on its annual 750-mile trip from Harrington, Maine, where the wreaths are made at the Worcester Wreath Company, to Arlington National Cemetery. The convoy will be carrying thousands of “remembrance” wreaths to be placed at gravesites of veterans in Arlington and at many other cemeteries in the country.
After the convoy arrives at WJHS, there will be a brief wreath laying ceremony to honor deceased veterans at Ocean View Cemetery. All local veterans and the general public are invited to attend. For more information, please call Principal Chessie at WJHS at 207-646-5142.
Photo caption: From left to right are Mrs. Laura Bohlmann; fifth grade students Kayla Looper and Charlotte Merrifield; Gerald “Gerry” Dillon, a veteran of the U.S. Army and Navy; and Robert Bohlmann, Director of the York County Emergency Management Agency and a veteran of the U.S. Army, at the Dec. 7, 2009 “Wreaths Across America.” This year’s exhibit will be on Dec. 6. (Photo by Reg Bennett)

Local Library Seeks New Ground

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The Rice Public Library is interested in moving its operation onto the Frisbee School property, and has taken the first step in that direction.
The library, established 1888, currently operates out of two buildings in downtown Kittery, neither of which is handicapped accessible.
The library Board of Directors has voted unanimously to make the move. The town has already proposed that the Kittery Community Center, a theater, and the library be located on the former school site.
Rachel Dennis, chairwoman of the library trustees, said the Frisbee Revitalization Committee has given the library until the end of December to make a final decision.
She said several things had to be done before that decision could be made. These included getting an estimate on the value of the current facilities, a process that is ongoing, and hiring a consultant to look at the options. The buildings are mortgage free.
These options include doing nothing, putting an addition onto the current Rice building, and moving to the Frisbee site.
Ms. Dennis said the consultant’s report is not finalized as yet, “but it was finished enough to give us enough information that we could comfortably vote unanimously that we wanted to move.”
She said the final report will probably be presented to the revitalization committee early in January.
The library is now located in two separate buildings, neither of which is handicapped accessible.
“We’ve had phone calls and letters over the years from people who are in wheel chairs … they can’t get into our buildings,” Ms. Dennis said. “It’s been very, very difficult for us to say ‘there’s nothing we can do.’ The time is right, Frisbee closed. There is something we can do about it now.”
“We’re far away from that,” she said, “but at least we’ve gone that first hurdle and voted that we’re wanting to do this.”
She said the Rice building itself is a wonderful structure but it is “not a library for the 21st century.”
Ms. Dennis said having the community center, the theater and the library on the same property would create “sort of a one stop shop” for the people of the town.
Ms. Dennis said that being in one building is “a big piece for all of us” who have been working with the library over the years.
The library is not a town department but receives about 97 percent of its operating cost from the town.
Kittery Town Manager Jon Carter said the library is one of the “three participants envisioned moving to the property” but noted, “They will have a long way to go.”
Voters have already approved a bond issue for work to begin on the Community Center project.
According to its web site, the library currently contains 54,765 volumes and circulates an average of 71,769 items each year. The web site sets Kittery’s population at just over 9,000 people.
Photo caption: The Rice Public Library in Kittery is beginning the process of moving to a new facility. The Library has until the end of December to make a final decision. (Photo courtesy

Points in History

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
“Decision Points” is former President George W. Bush memoir surrounding one of the most turbulent periods of American History. His presidency endured 9/11, two wars, and ended during an economic meltdown. As with any presidency during turbulent times, many of his decisions were questioned and criticized.
“Decision Points” is an attempt to get beyond the soundbites that satisfy the Television World’s attention span, and he details how his background, knowledge, friends and associates shaped his decisions. Rather than doing a chronological account of his presidency, he breaks the memoir up around pivotal issues he faced serving his term to allow for a clear extraction of incidents and anecdotes that lead to his decision.
While avid Bush supporters are sure to desire this read, critics will have plenty of interest in what Bush has to say. Some incidents, like his decision on stem cell research, or to go to war with Iraq will remain controversial after reading this. However, there is an opportunity for understanding why he made these decisions. Rather from shooting from the hip, as it appeared, Bush weighed every opinion regarding using stem cells.
Eventually, he decided to compromise and allow the current stem cells to be used, but after that, to allow research find another way to get these cells. As the current administration has learned, compromise only makes both sides angry.
One issue that takes up a bulk of the book, as it should, is the war in Iraq. Bush recalls the unilateral call to deal with Iraq after Afghanistan. He stated in a debate in 1999, in opposition to Gore, that nation building should not be a priority of our foreign policy. He admits that during the Afghan War, his opinion had switched upon seeing the liberated people rejoice and stand in line for their first free election. According to Bush, 80% of registered voters showed up to the poles facing threats from extremists.
While Iraq and Afghanistan were completely different situations, it’s apparent that Bush had the same vision for a free Iraq. This war began, Bush assures, after several sanctions Hussein failed to abide by, and using UN money intended to feed his people to build weapons. Whether one agrees with him or not, he lays out his thoughts, feelings, and knowledge of the issue so that skeptics can at least see it was a very difficult decision, and a great deal of reason was applied to the decision process. At the beginning of the book, Bush admits that time will tell with some of these decisions.
Decision Points is a forum where Bush uses Abe Lincoln’s advice to convince readers they’re his friends to make allies. His anecdotes are sensitive, funny, and told with colorful language at times. His writing is enjoyable, even when the reader doesn’t see eye to eye with all of his decisions. What he does achieve, though, is he paints himself as a compassionate, fiery, and caring person who spent a great deal of his time weighing the hefty consequences of his decisions. This book could well serve as a great document of our nation’s history beside the writings of Kennedy and Clinton. Recommended for righties and lefties!
Photo caption: Book cover for Decision Points by George W. Bush (Courtesy photo)