Friday, May 27, 2011

New Extreme Country Stampede Tour Coming to York

A rodeo, country music concert, extreme freestyle motocross show, monster truck rides, hot air balloon rides, wrapped up into one extreme package for a one of a kind entertainment experience – the Extreme Country Stampede Tour - is coming to York for the first time ever!
The event kicks off Friday, June 3, at 6 p.m. at The American Legion Post 96 in York with an Extreme Cowboy Auction and Casino Night featuring live country bands, cowboys, casino games, hot air balloon rides and an auction. Proceeds from the Casino Night will benefit The American Legion Post 96 and proceeds from the auction will benefit Breast Care at York Hospital. Admission is free.
The Extreme Country Stampede Tour follows on Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, at York’s Wild Kingdom (gates open at noon). Up and coming country musicians including Corey Cox and Rachel Timberlake will perform, and motocross sensations the Ive’s Brothers and their Ball of Steel, and of course, the World Cup Bull Riders will keep Stampede attendees on the edge of their seats.
Former bull riding champion, Kenny Churchill, and owner of A1 Entertainment Ryan Conley wanted to create a unique, inexpensive, family-friendly event. They also wanted to help organizations like York Hospital. This is their way of giving back.
“I had a great career, now I want to raise awareness for great organizations,” said Churchill.
For tickets, call York Hospital’s Friendraising Office at (207) 351-2385. $5 of every advanced ticket sold at York Hospital will be donated to Breast Care.
Photo caption: From Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5, York will be home to the Extreme Country Stampede Tour, coming to town for the first time ever with a portion of proceeds benefiting The American Legion Post 96 and Breast Care at York Hospital. (Photo courtesy

Revolutionary War Officer to Receive Veteran Marker in Eliot

On Memorial Day, Monday May 30, at 2:00 p.m., General Andrew Pepperell Fernald will receive a veteran marker in a Dedication Ceremony at his grave in the Fernald Family Cemetery at 52 Goodwin Road in Eliot. This ties in nicely with the conclusion of the town’s Memorial Day Parade. The general has laid in rest all these years without appropriate recognition for his service.
General Fernald served with the Second Regiment of York County Militia as well as Col. John Frost’s Regiment of Massachusetts State Troops during the Revolutionary War. He then came home to Eliot where he represented the Parish at General Court in Boston to petition the Massachusetts government to grant the formation of the Town of Eliot in 1810.
Major General Lee Downer, USAF (Ret.) will preside over the program. Also participating will be members of the Fernald family, the Eliot Historical Society, The Second Regiment of York County, American Legion Post 188, and the Eliot Police Department Honor Guard. Eric Christian will present a biographical overview of General Fernald.
In the words of W. J. Cameron, “Perform, then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes – Remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth.”
So, as you plan your Memorial Day activities, which for many will include the town’s parade, give some thought to stopping by the Fernald Family cemetery to participate in this special dedication ceremony, which will serve as a tribute to the general but will also bring to life the true meaning of the morning’s parade.
Again, the ceremony begins at 2:00 p.m. at the cemetery at 52 Goodwin Road in Eliot. For additional information please contact either (207) 752-0174 or (207) 439-5155.
Photo caption: Influential Revolutionary War officer from Eliot, Gen. Andrew Pepperell Fernald, will finally receive a proper veteran’s burial marker on Memorial Day Weekend. (Courtesy photo)

Steel from World Trade Center Makes Procession to Freeport

A 20-foot steel beam from the World Trade Center left Kittery Trading Post at around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 21 and made its way up Route 1 to Freeport with much fanfare. The beam was transported on a flatbed truck, escorted by the Maine Army National Guard with a police escort (several departments), the Patriot Guard Riders, the Freeport Flag Ladies and veterans groups. The beam was welcomed in Freeport with a special ceremony. Freeport Commemorative arranged the events. The beam will be used in a September 11 memorial in Freeport, designed to be reminiscent of the towers and set to be dedicated this September in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the 2001 attacks.
Photo caption: A 20-foot beam from the World Trade Center passes by Wells Junior High School on its way to Freeport on Saturday, May 21. (Photo by Reg Bennett)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Columbus Replica Ships to Land in Kittery

On Tuesday, June 14, the “Pinta” and the “Nina,” replicas of Columbus’ ships, will open in Kittery. The ships will be docked at Badgers Island Marina East, 4 Island Ave., until their departure early Tuesday morning, June 21.
The “Nina” was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools. Archaeology magazine called the ship “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.” The “Pinta” was recently built in Brazil to accompany the “Nina” on all of her travels. She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel. Historians consider the caravel the Space Shuttle of the fifteenth century.
Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced ‘sailing museum’ for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the ‘caravel,’ a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers used to discover the world.
While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Admission charges are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $6 for students age 5 to 16. Children 4 and under are free. The ships are open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. No reservations necessary.
Teachers or organizations wishing to schedule a 30-minute guided tour with a crewmember should call 1-787-672-2152. Minimum of 15 people required. $4 per person. No maximum. Visit the website at or email
Photo caption: The “Nina” and the “Pinta,” replicas of Columbus’ ships, will open in Kittery in June. (Photo courtesy of

Ogunquit Mourns the Loss of Hospitality and Community Leader

Robert E. Hanson passed on May 14, 2011 at his home in Ogunquit, Maine. He was born on July 21, 1941, in Waterbury, CT, the son of Ralph and Beatrice Hanson.
Bob graduated with a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT in 1963. He was a Tau Beta Pi recipient and a member of the Eta Kappa Nu Association. After graduation, he accepted a job at the Manned Spacecraft Center (NASA) in Houston, Texas. While in Texas, he met and married his wife, Karen. In 1968, a desire to return to New England for the four seasons brought them back to Connecticut, where he was employed as an electrical engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, Connecticut.
In 1971, Bob moved with his family to Wells, Maine and began a career in the hospitality industry. Their original property was the Somerset Motor Court located in Wells. Eventually, they moved to Ogunquit and owned and operated the Sea View Motel. After selling the Sea View Motel, they built the Juniper Hill Inn and subsequently acquired the Milestone and the Gorges Grant Hotel. Bob always had a thirst for knowledge and growth and obtained both his real estate broker and surveyor licenses while operating his varying properties. Bob was a proud man and always possessed a heartfelt gratitude for those at all levels that contributed to his success. He was a firm believer in treating everyone with respect, dignity and honesty, and considered all those that were a part of his organization as family, realizing that nothing was attainable without their efforts. He was a proud member of the Ogunquit business community, dutifully serving on the Planning Board, Board of Assessment Review as well as the Ogunquit Appeals Board and cared a great deal about the beauty, community and people of Ogunquit.
An active supporter of local land conservation efforts, Bob loved the outdoors and was a proud member of the American Tree Farm System in Maine. He often spent his down time on his land in North Berwick, cutting wood, gathering with friends, or simply taking in the beauty of the region. He enjoyed daily early morning walks on Ogunquit Beach. Bob and Karen spent much of their winters in Marco Island, Florida and made many lasting memories in the warmth of the area. Bob was also an avid reader, with particular interest in history and genealogy.
Bob enjoyed family above all else; it was his first and only priority. The challenges, hard work and effort all made sense – it was for his family. He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Karen, 4 children and seven grandchildren: Shari L. and partner, Kevin Griffin, grandson Justin Snell; David F. and wife Kelly, granddaughter Gracie; David R. and wife Nancy, grandchildren Ethan, Ella, Claire; Robert C. and wife Michelle, grandsons, Samuel and Jonah; one sister, Olive H. Peterson.
Memorial visitation was held on Thursday, May 19, 2011 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 111 Chapel Road, Wells. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Friday, May 20, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. at Holy Spirit Parish/St. Mary’s Church, 236 Eldridge Road, Wells. Interment will be private.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your charity of choice; or: The York Land Trust Inc., PO Box 1241, York Harbor, ME 03911,; or: Beacon Hospice, Inc., 42 Brickyard Court, York, ME 03909, Arrangements are in care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, Wells,
Photo caption: Robert E. Hanson, local hotelier and community leader, passed away on May 14 at his home. (Courtesy photo)

Gen ‘X’ Messiah

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
“Nazareth, North Dakota” is Tommy Zurhellen’s first novel that spans from 1980 to present day, and depicts the lives of common people in the barren northern mid-west. The story takes a biblical spin on the lifestyles of the lower middle class American community, which invites plenty of social and political comparisons while also allowing the author fodder for clever wordplay.
The novel follows Roxy, a down on her luck ex-waitress whose poor taste in men is nearly as tragic as her inability to meet a decent man. She finds herself in Cairo, Illinois, after a baby is dropped into her care, and another loser boyfriend runs off with legal problems. Her journey with this mysterious baby, Sam, leads her to Joe, a hard working and honest carpenter.
Back in North Dakota, her family manages through life by maneuvering around corrupt town police officer Severo Rodriguez. His business in illegal stills and penchant for throwing Molotov cocktails into outsiders’ vehicles reveal how badly this town is in need of salvation. Roxy’s nephew, Jan, preaches his evangelical shtick as his mother swore he was a miracle child. As time moves along, the real miracle child presents himself above false prophets, as the oldest man in the world (who also lives in Nazareth) predicted would happen.
Written in tight prose with little flash or pretense, “Nazareth, North Dakota” is like reading James Joyce’s “Dubliners” or Louise Erdrich’s “Love Medicine.” Even if the biblical parallels are lost on the reader, the characters are interesting at how they manage through the doldrums of day to day life. As the novel seems to settle into this cozy study of small town dynamics, we see Sam develop into an interesting, misunderstood, and rebellious youth who just might change the world.
Among the interesting scenes with Sam’s transformation are a debate he has with an Ethics professor, although only this debate’s aftermath is depicted, and his friendship with Daylene Hooker. Daylene’s nickname “prostitute” hearkens readers back to Christ’s befriending of Mary Magdalene, showing one way in which Zurhellen weaves ancient characters into new ones.
Each chapter is divided like a short story, and has a date with the title. The book only runs a little over two hundred pages, and like the testaments depicting the life of Christ, it leaves large portions of time unaccounted for.
The first one hundred pages are interesting and read well, but some readers might be lost on the point for such detailed accounts of so many villagers. Eventually these eccentric stories tie into a finely woven tapestry of modern legend. To the unsuspecting reader, the leaps in time are also jarring at first. But, once the reader realizes the timeline spans in a short space, like the Bible, the story moves along smoothly.
“Nazareth, North Dakota” is a strange and fascinating trip, and an astute retelling of the story of all stories. Born in New York City, Zurhellen convincingly portrays not only small town life, but that of mid-western life with great fluency. Readers who are weary of the run of the mill bestseller, or are looking for a good story that is written well, should look for this title.
Pub Date: April 15, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-9845105-6-6. Page count: 212pp. Publisher: Atticus Books.
Photo caption: (Courtesy book cover image of “Nazareth, North Dakota”)

Friday, May 13, 2011

York County Special Olympics Brings Athletes and Community Together

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
A very special annual event was held on the fields at Shapleigh School last week when approximately 400 participants took part in the York County Special Olympics Spring Games.
Special Olympians from throughout York County attended the annual event, the results of which are used to place participants in competitive divisions in the Maine Special Olympics Summer Games held each June in Orono.
The York County Games are the third largest in the state with only the games in Penobscot and Cumberland counties drawing larger fields, Mark Capano of Special Olympics said. There are 13 events held in the state each year.
The athletes take part in track and field events including a special division for athletes using wheelchairs and other devices.
There were, Capano said, 26 teams included in this year’s field. The numbers of athletes and teams, he said, are about the same as last year.
Dennis Dean of Kittery, the event manager from 1992 until this year, said the event “has grown a lot” over the years. He said there were 100 or 150 athletes involved when the event was initiated in the late 1980s.
Dean said this year “seemed like time to make the transition” but stayed on to help Capano. He said there was “no special reason” for stepping down. “It just felt like the right time to do it.”
There were, this year, well over 100 volunteers on hand to assist in the games. These included student athletes from Traip Academy in Kittery who ran the track and field events. “They did an exceptional job,” Capano said.
The event was held in Wells for its first two years but then it was moved to Kittery. Dean immediately contacted Traip Athletic Director Al Young and the involvement of the school’s track team began.
Community involvement in the games is high, he said. Organizations involved include the Knights of Columbus, York Hospital and Kittery Rotary.
Capano said that more than 30 workers from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard were also involved to “set up and break down” for the day’s activities.
A large number of York County law enforcement officers were also involved, he said. These included the York County Sheriff’s Department, Berwick, North Berwick, York, Kittery and Wells police departments.
The large number of volunteers also included people from First Congregational Church of Kittery Point and the Kittery Public Works and Recreation Departments.
Athletes compete for ribbons in each event, with the top six finishers winning ribbons.
Special Olympics, founded in 1968, is the largest sports organization in the world for children and adults with special needs. The program includes millions of athletes in 175 countries.
According to its web site, the Special Olympics hopes to “give them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing of gifts, skills and friendship.”
Photo caption: Officer Candice Noble and Officer Michael Grogan from the Eliot Police Department help award and congratulate young participants in the York County Special Olympics ceremonies on May 5. (Photo courtesy Officer Candice Noble)

Bill Green to Deliver YCCC’s 16th Commencement Address

York County Community College president, Dr. Charles M. Lyons, is pleased to announce that Bill Green, news reporter/anchor and host of WCSH 6 Bill Green’s Maine, will deliver the 2011 commencement address to 138 graduates on Saturday, May 14, at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Mr. Green will share from his personal experiences, congratulate the students on their accomplishment as well as challenge them to live and work in Maine.
Bill Green is a lifelong Mainer. Born in Bangor, he was educated in Bangor schools and the University of Maine. He worked his way through college as a full-time studio cameraman at WLBZ2 in Bangor.
Bill has worked at all levels of on-air television. His Bill Green’s Maine, now in its twelfth season, is the most watched program in its time period. He debuted as a sportscaster on WLBZ 2 in 1975 and has currently been on-air in Maine longer than any other television broadcaster.
In 1993, Bill came off the anchor desk to produce feature stories and documentaries, including 10 documentaries on Maine and the environment under the banner “Color Me Green,” in addition to his weekly features, “Green Outdoors” and “My Hometown.” In 2000, Bill Green launched an original series, “Bill Green’s Maine.” This program has made him one Maine’s best-known storytellers.
York County Community College, established in 1994, is one of seven community colleges in the Maine Community College System. The college enrolls more than 1,400 students in associate degree and transfer programs and over 2,000 individuals in non-credit continuing education and professional development areas.
Photo caption: Bill Green, of “Bill Green’s Maine” on WCSH 6, will deliver the 2011 commencement address to YCCC graduates on May 14. (Photo courtesy

Maine Receives Nearly $21 Million to Upgrade Rail Service

Governor Paul LePage learned on Monday, May 9, that the Amtrak Downeaster, which is operated by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, was approved for a $20.8 million grant from the US Department of Transportation.
“We are extremely pleased that the Downeaster will be receiving over $20 million dollars in federal grant money that will make the Downeaster not only faster, but also will allow for more frequent trips between Portland and Boston,” said Governor LePage. “More frequent and faster trips will benefit not only passengers, but Maine businesses as well.”
In March, Governor LePage had sent a letter of support with the grant application for the Downeaster, and also authorized the application for the funds. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood thanked Governor LePage for his support of improved rail service between Maine and Boston in a letter last month.
Maine was one 24 states that applied for over $2 billion in available high-speed rail funds. This money became available when money originally awarded to Florida was rescinded after plans for a Florida high-speed rail line were canceled.
The $20.8 million will be used to construct a 10.4-mile section of double track between Wilmington and Andover, Mass. These track upgrades will allow two trains to operate at the same time on this section of the line, shortening delays and improving the dependability of the Downeaster.
The project is part of nearly $800 million in projects to improve rail service in the crowded Northeast, and $2 billion going to rail projects in 15 states nationwide.
Photo caption: Recently announced funding from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation will help improve Maine’s rail service. (Photo courtesy

Friday, May 6, 2011

Goat Island Light Goes Back In Time: Complete Historic Renovation Underway

Tom Bradbury, Executive Director of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, announced on April 28 that contracts have been signed for the restoration of the Goat Island Light Station in Cape Porpoise, which began construction on May 2.
This is the culmination of 5 years of planning, permitting, negotiating and fund raising by Mike Weston and Scott Dombrowski, the co-project managers.
The restoration work, awarded to Bartlett Builders of Kennebunkport via a competitive bidding process, will include the rebuilding of the bell tower that was torn down in 1962, the covered walkway from the keeper’s quarters to the light tower damaged by the blizzard of 1978 and the original fuel storage building. The cost of this phase of the restoration will be in the neighborhood of $380,000.
The period chosen for the restoration is the decade of the 1950s. Significant photographic evidence exists for that period and that is the period when all of the structures scheduled to be rebuilt were in place and water and electricity were available.
The process to secure the final approvals for construction included work to obtain permits from the DEP, Army Corps of Engineers, Inland Fish and Wildlife, Indian Tribes of Maine, the Town of Kennebunkport and the Maine Historical Preservation Society. Also required was a change to the Kennebunkport Land Use Ordinance for the island to be designated a Contract Zone and the voters of Kennebunkport overwhelmingly approved that change 2 years ago.
Because of the historical nature of the Goat Island Light Station, two archaeological digs were required to assure that no buried artifacts would be destroyed during the rebuilding phase. During this process, some of the original foundations and pilings were uncovered allowing rebuilding in more historically accurate locations. Crane and Morrison completed the dig and analysis that provided the Trust with a treasure trove of historical documentation. Goat Island Light was first lit on August 15, 1833 so historical accuracy would have been difficult to assure without the results from the dig.
Harvey Wells, a Kennebunk architect, first provided a scale model of the project and volunteered hundreds of hours to complete it. Mr. Wells was chosen to provide all of the detailed plans for the rebuilding and restoration based on the photographic evidence and old historical articles to assure historical accuracy. Dustin Roma, an engineer with Sebago Technics of Westbrook, completed all of the site work, permit applications and technical detail. Engineering expertise for the foundations and structural specifications were provided by Group Design of Saco. The bell tower has been designed to withstand high winds and flooding---without compromising the historical integrity of the building exterior.
Construction is scheduled to be completed by September 1 this year with dedication ceremonies to be held shortly after Labor Day.
Coming soon, you can follow the construction by visiting and selecting the Goat Island web-cam that is being installed in the coming days.
Photo caption: Goat Island Light in the 1950s, the period chosen as a model for the restoration. (Courtesy photo)

Senator Collins Reads to Second Grade Students at WES

On the afternoon of April 29, U.S. Senator Susan Collins visited Wells Elementary School to read to a group of 60 second grade students. The Senator made a rain check visit to honor a previous invitation extended to her to read at the school’s annual “Celebration of Reading Day,” which took place on March 4.
WOCSD Superintendent Elaine Tomaszewski and Principal Marianne Horne escorted the Senator and introduced her to students seated in a common area on the second floor of the school. Also present were Assistant Principal Ken Spinney, numerous WES teachers, and three members of the Senator’s staff including State Office Representative in Biddeford, Cathy Goodwin.
According to Goodwin, Senator Collins naturalized 41 new citizens at a naturalization ceremony in Kennebunk that morning. “There was a lot of wonderful patriotism shown today,” said Goodwin.
The Senator read “Antlers Forever” to the group, occasionally walking around to show the illustrations. After reading the book, the Senator asked the students what their favorite books were. She told the students that she received (appropriately enough) the Dr. Suess book, “Oh the Places You Will Go” when she was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and commented she reads everyday.
One second grade student, Hayden Barker, was recognized by the Senator for recently receiving 1st place for his entry in the Second Grade category in the 25th Annual Literary Achievement Awards Contest sponsored by the District and People’s United Bank.
After leaving the atrium on the second floor, the Senator and entourage descended to the first floor to meet with multi-age grade 1-2 students who had put together a hall display honoring the nation’s most recognizable monuments. Students explained their work including models of the White House, the National Mall’s Reflecting Pool (that actually reflected), Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, the Alamo and the Liberty Bell. Senator Collins asked the children about their display.
The “Guest Reader Day” and the Senator’s visit were arranged by Community Resource Coordinator Maryanne Foley.
Photo caption: Senator Susan Collins recently visited Wells Elementary School to read to students. (Photo by Reg Bennett)

Barn Gallery Presents 33rd Annual Student Art Show

Join us as area elementary through high school students show their latest work at the 33rd Annual Student Art Show at the Barn Gallery on Bourne Lane at Shore Road in Ogunquit on May 7 and 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. each day. All are invited to a reception on Friday, May 6 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Barn Gallery will be filled floor to ceiling with imaginative paintings, photographs, collages, prints, sculpture, and mixed media pieces. The artistic energy and enthusiasm of the young artists shine forth in a variety of media and subjects.
“I love this show,” says Nancy Davison, President of the Ogunquit Arts Collaborative and the Barn Gallery. “The students try so many different images and techniques. And they delight in finding their work on the walls of a ‘real’ gallery. Our annual Mother’s Day event is one of the most festive shows we have at Barn Gallery.”
Art teachers from schools in southern Maine, including Wells, York, Kittery, Lebanon, Berwick, North Berwick and South Berwick, select individual and group student art projects for this traditional celebration of the year’s work in area art classes.
Barn Gallery will open for the season on Wednesday May 25 at 11 a.m. For more information call 207-646-8400 after May 25, 2011.
Photo caption: Barn Gallery in Ogunquit will host its 33rd Annual Student Art Show on May 7 and 8, with an opening reception on May 6. (Courtesy photo)