Friday, June 24, 2011

Governor LePage Signs Budget

Monday afternoon, June 20, after a careful, businesslike approach examining the details; Governor Paul LePage put his signature on the biennial budget that reduces taxes for Mainers and businesses, reforms the State pension system and makes changes to welfare programs.
“In February legislators were given a plan which was very different from previous budgets with a focus on creating jobs, lowering taxes, reforming welfare and realigning spending to better reflect today’s realities. The budget I signed today reflects a step toward fiscal responsibility and a change in the way we must operate as a State,” said Governor LePage.
“I am encouraged by some of the work done and the thoughtful debates that were involved during this budgetary process. The State will now move toward a more sustainable pension system that Maine can afford and current and future retirees will benefit from.”
The two-year budget includes tax reform which provides $150 million in tax relief – including new tax code changes which conform to federal guidelines and a reduction in Maine’s top income tax rate from 8.5 percent to 7.95 percent that is expected eliminate tax payments for 70,000 low-income Mainers. This represents the largest tax cut in Maine history.
Welfare reform is also a part of the 2012-2013 budget which emphasizes Maine will no longer be considered a welfare destination state. A new 5-year limit on welfare benefits, which aligns Maine with other states and conforms to federal law, will go into effect. The limit does allow for certain exemptions for hardship cases – including those involving the elderly and disabled.
Drug testing will also be implemented for welfare recipients convicted of drug crimes and those who violate welfare rules will face stricter sanctions. A first offense will result in the loss of adult benefits and a second offense may lead to termination of full family benefits.
In addition, Dirigo Health will be phased out with an end date of January 1, 2014 and legal noncitizens will no longer be eligible for MaineCare benefits as of July 1, 2011. However, the Governor has made it clear that more work needs to be done. “We must continue to make these types of changes to the system, not only to achieve significant savings, but to encourage Mainers to become self-sufficient. This is a down payment on welfare reform and, after implementing these changes and gauging the results, I look forward to doing more,” added the Governor.
Both leadership in the House and Senate lauded Governor LePage for endorsing the budget Monday.
House Speaker Robert Nutting offered, “I am delighted that Governor Paul LePage today signed the biennial budget. This plan mirrors the reforms the Governor called for shortly after taking office. Among the highlights are $150 million in tax cuts, the largest in Maine history, and pension reform that will save taxpayers billions in the years to come. This budget also includes no cuts to education or programs that protect Maine’s most vulnerable. It’s also free of gimmicks like state shutdown days.”
“It is a validation of the outstanding work done by the Appropriations Committee and of the decision by Republican legislative leaders to pursue a bipartisan two-thirds budget,” said Senate President Kevin Raye. “By affording the minority party the respect of inclusion in the budget process we were able to work through our differences and secure a thoughtful budget that honors the core principles advanced by Governor LePage,” Raye added.
Senate Majority Leader Jonathan Courtney echoed his colleagues’ sentiments. “In just 40 days the Governor gave us a document that included substantial reforms to taxes, pension and our welfare system, and this vision survived the legislative process. It helps us take a major step in moving Maine forward,” Courtney said.

FBC Kittery Point Celebrates 200th Anniversary

On Sunday, June 26, 2011, First Baptist Church of Kittery Point will host a memorial service at 10:30 a.m. commemorating its 200th anniversary.
Though the church is hosting its 200th anniversary, FBC Kittery Point is actually quite a bit older than 200 years. On September 25, 1682, a Reverend Isaac Hull and William Screven of Boston organized a Baptist church in Kittery before it was Maine. At that time, the state church was the Church of England because Maine was a part of colonial Massachusetts and was governed by the crown of England. Hull and Screven found themselves facing numerous persecutions due to their promoting a church apart from the Church of England, and their endorsement of baptism by full immersion as opposed to infant baptism. Eventually, Screven and a handful of others decided to leave Kittery with a handful of members remaining and went to Charleston, South Carolina.
There, Screven organized a church and eventually the beginnings of the Southern Baptist Convention. Though FBC Kittery Point was established earlier, it wasn’t until 1811 that it was incorporated as a church with the original name The First Baptist Society in Kittery.
In 1827, the church met in the old Brave Boat Harbor Schoolhouse. One of the Frisbee family, who were prominent members of Kittery and the church, Darius Frisbee, gave land and money for a meeting house to be built on Hutchins Corner (Lewis Square). The new church was built and dedicated in 1875 and the bell was placed in the belfry in 1885. This is the present building and location of FBC Kittery Point.
In 1961, the name was changed to First Baptist Church of Kittery Point, Maine, and an educational annex was added to the building in the ’69. The Victorian sanctuary was restored in 1973 and can be seen today. Baptist Church of Kittery Point welcomes all for it’s 200th anniversary on Sunday, June 26, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. There will be a small reception to follow the service. All are welcome to attend.
Photo caption: The First Baptist Church of Kittery Point will celebrate its 200th anniversary on June 26. (Photo by Pastor Matt Gladd)

Hot Summer Nights Concerts Return

Slaid Cleaves will return to Maine again this summer to open the annual Hot Summer Nights concert series in his hometown of South Berwick at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 29, in the Marshwood High School Auditorium. Cleaves, who is poised to release his latest album, has appeared in South Berwick every year since 2001.
Slaid’s concert is the first in a lineup of free shows offered throughout the summer by SoBo Central, a community non-profit group. He will be performing on the eve of releasing his new CD, “Sorrow and Smoke: Live at the Horseshoe Lounge.” Five other concerts will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday nights, beginning July 14, on the lawn of Central School. Residents are invited to come downtown with picnics, blankets and babies and enjoy the open-air concerts with friends and neighbors. Food and beverages will also be sold. The shows go on rain or shine, but outdoor shows will move across the street to the Town Hall in the case of rain.
The Hot Summer Nights line-up includes local favorites like Joyce Anderson’s one-woman-band show and Chronic Jazz Syndrome’s horn band tunes as well as Mudhook, Dan Walker and New England Blue Grass. The concerts feature local teens as the opening acts. A hoot night on August 4 will include a variety of local talents. Anyone interested in performing can contact Chip Harding, who plans the opening acts, at (207) 384-5846.
The concert series will close with the first-ever LanternFest, featuring the classic and contemporary covers of PB&J, a community-wide festival of lights and a lantern stroll. The LanternFest, scheduled for Thursday, August 25 at Spring Hill, will involve artists, children, schools, families, fire-lovers and all other community members who want to join in lantern-making, a parade around Knights Pond, music, food, a bonfire, and the launching of boat lanterns. Grounds will open at 5:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 6.
The summer concert series, organized and staffed by a small group of volunteers, raises funds to pay the professional musicians and other expenses associated with the concerts. Hot Summer Nights is a program of the local non-profit group, SoBo Central, which was incorporated in Maine in July 2009.
SoBo Central is an umbrella for six local organizations dedicated to the community of South Berwick: Green Up, Smart Growth South Berwick, the Food Pantry, Keep South Berwick Warm, and Powderhouse Hill, as well as Hot Summer Nights.
Although the concerts are all free, Hot Summer Nights welcomes donations, which are now tax-deductible.
More information on shows, musicians and rain announcements is available on the web at This includes the schedule, the history, and even a taste of the music. For more information email
Photo caption: Slaid Cleaves will return to his hometown of South Berwick to kick off the annual Hot Summer Nights concert series on June 29. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Local Students Design and Build Historic Memorial Bridge

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
Twenty-one model bridges have been built at Shapleigh School, each of them a possible replacement for the historic Memorial Bridge that spans the Piscataqua River joining Portsmouth and Kittery.
The designing and building of these structures was a seventh grade program to teach ratio and proportion, said math teacher Robyn Angus earlier this week in her classroom at the school, and was selected because the Memorial Bridge “affects our community greatly.”
Nancy Sebert, a language arts teacher who was also involved with the project, said it was a way to get students “involved in community issues and complex problem solving” with the trial run of a bridge building project.
The 67 students participating in the project were divided into 21 teams to design the bridges. The actual structures are made of Popsicle sticks, glue, string and toothpicks and measure about seven feet in length.
Building bridges at the school is not new, but the scope of this year’s project was considerably larger. In previous years the bridges, made of toothpicks, have been designed for the Kittery Point area. This year the Memorial Bridge span was selected.
“We wanted students to learn more about the importance of this bridge to our community, so we used as much real work application as possible to have students design, build, and persuade an audience that their company (team) should be hired to replace the Memorial Bridge,” Ms. Sebert said in a prepared release.
She said the bridge was selected because of its historical, structural, and commercial worth to the Seacoast area.
It is to be replaced in the next few years.
Part of the project was to learn from various people about the bridge and its importance. Those speaking to the class included Keith Coda, the project manager of the Memorial Bridge Reconstruction project from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation; Jon Carter, Kittery town manager, and Thurston Powell, a retired tugboat operator.
The 21 groups were divided into two boys’ rooms and two girls’ rooms. Each group selected its own project manager, architect, and accountant with specific roles to accomplish. “We were trying to make it as realistic as possible,” Sebert said.
Each had a budget of $90 million, the estimate for the actual replacing of the Memorial Bridge as reported in local media.
Sebert said each group also had to write a proposal including project scope and project phases including costs. Each project will be judged and the winners of each room will receive a plaque.
The winners will then go before the school’s student body and the one voted best will receive another plaque.
“We are learning a lot about bridge design, working as a team, budgeting measurement, accuracy, and problem solving when there are no easy answers,” Sebert wrote. “Both students and teachers will play a crucial role in revising this project each year to improve on it and make it even more expeditionary.”
Sebert said this year’s project did not include a requirement for a lift in the bridge to allow for the large ships entering Portsmouth Harbor, but that will be included in next year’s project.
(Nancy Sebert contributed to this report.)
Photo caption: Two of 21 bridges designed and built by students at Shapleigh School (photo by Larry Favinger)

Get Ready for the 36th Annual Strawberry Festival

Always the last Saturday in June, this year the festival will be on Saturday, June 25th. The South Berwick Strawberry Festival officially kicks off summer for the quaint, southern Maine town of South Berwick. All over town one can see the bright red, white, and green strawberry flags that not only line the main streets, but can also be seen flying from many houses. The day is filled with food, entertainment, games, and crafts.
For thirty-six consecutive years, hundreds of volunteers from South Berwick have come together for this South Berwick tradition. As always, official Festival activities will take place only on the grounds of Central School on Main Street in the center of town. A stop at the Strawberry Festival Information Booth is a must to find out more about the day’s schedule for entertainers as well as where all the various activities are located.
Preparation of the strawberries start on Friday, the morning before the Festival, at the Community Center where over a hundred and fifty volunteers get together for a good old fashioned social to hull, slice, and sugar the berries. Other volunteers slice the biscuits, prepare the whipped cream and move everything under the Strawberry Shortcake tent so all will be ready for the Festival goers when it opens at 9 a.m. and runs to 4 p.m.
Old Fashion Trolleys
Transportation to and from the Festival is free via an old fashion trolley ride. Running every 20 minutes, the trolleys will provide transportation to the Festival from parking locations at Marshwood Great Works School on Rt 236, the Community Center on Norton Street, Powder House Hill, and Agamenticus Field.
Strawberry Tent and Food
Strawberry shortcakes have always been a favorite of the Festival. They will begin serving at 9 a.m. until it is all gone. Last year over 250 cases of fresh strawberries, 80 gallons of whipped cream and over 330 dozen biscuits were used.
In addition to shortcakes and cheesecakes there is also a huge Food Court. There will be a pancake breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m. Throughout the day there will be other various food items sold by local non-profit groups. The Fire Dept will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and cold drinks. The Community Pantry will be serving up frozen lemonade, Knights of Columbus will serve fried dough, the Masons will serve chicken BBQ and other assorted non-profit groups will be serving sandwich wraps, teriyaki, nachos, fruit cups, cotton candy and water.
Road Race
The day’s activities begin at 8 a.m., with a 5 mile Road Race and 2.5 mile Fun Walk, sponsored by the South Berwick Recreation Department and local businesses, kick off is from Marshwood Middle School on Academy St.
Throughout the day, a variety of entertainers from around the area will be performing on two stages set up around the grounds.
Over 100 juried artisans will be on hand to display and sell their hand-made wares, including clothing, pottery, jewelry, paintings, photographs, candles, furniture, and more. These crafters will be located both at the side of Central School and in the area around the food court.
Visit for a complete schedule of events.
Photo caption: Patrons create a long line for the strawberry shortcake, but it’s well worth the wait. (Courtesy photo)

When Pigs Fly Expands to a Wood-Fired Pizzeria

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

A new pizzeria and company store will open on Route 1 Thursday (June 23rd), the design of which, along with many of its offerings, is unique.
When Pigs Fly Artisan Bread and Wood-Fired Pizzeria will offer not only pizza made with the sourdough the bakery by the same name is noted for, but also appetizer plates, salads, draft beers and draft wines.
The 160-seat pizzeria includes seating within the building, and on a screened-in farmer’s porch and a back deck. There is parking for 80 cars on site as well.
In addition to the restaurant, the bakery store, now located in a company store just south of the new building, will be included in the new quarters, selling the items already on sale at the present store. At the current company store one olive oil is sold and that will be increased to three at the new facility.
The wine and beer bar will offer 20 beers including many craft brews and several from Maine. There will also be eight draft wines, four reds and four whites.
The pizza will be Neapolitan style from wood-burning ovens, made with all natural ingredients including fresh mozzarella daily. A garden is planned on site to grow the needed herbs, Ron Siegel said.
“We’re also going to have a lot of really nice appetizers,” he said, and three or four salads. Other items on the menu will include red Portuguese style chowder, grilled octopus, meatballs, steamed mussels and more. They will also have their own line of gelato.
The new businesses will employ about 40 people to start, he said.
The building was designed by Ty Par of Portland and, Ron Siegel noted, includes reclaimed wood and metal throughout, resulting in some very unique designs in the bar, lighting and other aspects.
“I always wanted to do pizza,” Ron Siegel said. “I liked the idea. I had a restaurant a long time ago that served pizza. It something nice to do and it complements the bread.”
The project began with the idea of putting a small wood-burning oven at the company store. That advanced to tearing down the company store and building new, and from there to building the new facility on a larger piece of land with landscaping.
Ron Siegel said something will be done with the current company store building.
When Pigs Fly was founded in 1993 by Ron Siegel in a small building in Wells where he baked 80 loaves of bread a day. He was joined by his brother, Andrew, who came east from California in 1994, and the two worked long and hard to meet the demand for their product. They hired their first employee in 1994. Today there are 60 employees working at the bakery.
The business soon outgrew that initial facility and they relocated their business to York. About 18 months later the brothers relocated again, this time in a larger tract of land just off Route 1 in York where the bakery remains to this day.
The new facility on Route 1 in Kittery will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.
Photo caption: L-R: Andrew & Ron Siegel, owners of when Pigs Fly Artisan Bread & Wood-Fired Pizzeria (L. Favinger photo)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Governor Signs Gold Star Plate Legislation

On Tuesday, June 7, Governor Paul LePage signed a bill that honors Maine military members that have given the ultimate sacrifice. The Governor signed LD 1529, “An Act Honoring Gold Star Families through Special Registration Plates,” making Maine the 48th State to designate such a license plate.
“This act is long overdue,” said Governor LePage. “Our service members and their families give so much on our behalf to keep us safe and to secure our freedoms. It is our duty to recognize those who have sacrificed all. This plate pays tribute to the families saluting our fallen heroes who have died in the line of duty and I am proud to see it finally become available in Maine.”
Family members of the fallen, bill sponsor Representative Bradley Moulton, R-York and Secretary of State Charles E. Summers joined the Governor during the signing.
“This is a fitting tribute to the families who have sacrificed their loved one and, in turn, we recognize the sacrifice through this important measure,” said Rep. Moulton.
In 2009, a similar bill failed to pass through the legislature due to the cost of manufacturing the plates. John Mixon of Ogunquit is ensuring the current effort is paid for without the use of taxpayer dollars. Mixon, a veteran of the Vietnam War, has raised funds for the Gold Star plates through his organization, Run for the Fallen. Governor Paul LePage has personally donated $1,000 to the cause. Emily Knight, a Wells High School senior, designed the license plate and 3M has generously donated the first roll of material to produce the plates.
The Gold Star Family registration plates are expected to be made available by the end of the summer to families who qualify.
“Some have said that this is a special plate; it is not. It is, however, a way to recognize those members of the Armed Forces, who, as President Abraham Lincoln said, gave their ‘last full measure of devotion.’ This plate will be a solemn, dignified tribute to those who have given their life in service to their country. I am very grateful to all of those who worked together to make the Gold Star plates possible,” said Secretary Summers.
For more information about the Run for the Fallen event visit
Photo caption: On Tuesday, June 7, Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill designating Gold Star license plates in the state of Maine. (Courtesy image)

Berwick Students Place First in Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Berwick Academy Middle School students took home the top prize at the 32nd Odyssey of the Mind World Finals Competition, besting 38 other teams in their age division, including squads from China, India, and Mexico.
The students and their faculty and parent coaches drove ten hours to the University of Maryland during the Memorial Day weekend to present their “Extreme Mousemobile” for competition. They joined 27 other Maine teams and 883 teams in total from all over the world.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the local, state, and world level.
The Berwick students designed and built vehicles that use mousetraps as their only source of energy. For the project, the team created a skit about saving the earth from an oil company. Their mousemobiles were made into various animals that performed several tasks for different point values such as landing in a taped off square, moving trash into a recycling container, spinning a wheel, raising a flag, planting a tree, and delivering a package. The cars were required to “travel an obstacle course and complete a variety of tasks while giving a performance” that tied together the obstacles and the tasks.
In addition to the creative problem solving, there is a requirement that all teams participate in “spontaneous” problem solving, which can be totally verbal. Students who participated on the “Extreme Mousemobile” team were Jess Hebert ’16 of South Berwick, ME, Zoe Albion ’16 of Dover, NH, Emily Borkowski ’15 of Wells, ME, Hirsh Agarwal ’15 of Exeter, NH, and Abby Donoghue ’15 of Kittery Point, ME.
Founded in 1791, Berwick Academy is an independent, coeducational country day school located in South Berwick, Maine.
Photo caption: From left to right: Fern Brown (Maine coordinator for Odyssey of the Mind), Emily Borkowski of Wells, Abby Donoghue of Kittery Point, Jessica Hebert of South Berwick, Jason Wheeler (WCSH, Ch. 6 and a judge for OM), Zoe Albion of Dover, NH, and Hirsh Agarwal of Exeter, NH. (Courtesy photo)

Kittery Block Party Celebrates Local Cuisine and Entertainment

Not since June of 2000 has the town of Kittery welcomed the community to the downtown Foreside district for a traditional community block party. This year, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, event organizers are planning a new and exciting community project that celebrates local art, culture and culinary extravagance. As many locals will remember from years ago, the Kittery Block Party was created to build community relationships, while this year hoping to expand awareness in Kittery regarding the impact of bridge closures – thus, this year’s theme of “Building Bridges.”
The June 18 event will feature artisans, entertainers, non-profits, area farmers, and restaurants – with an emphasis on “local” – as well as other community involvement. This event is sure to entice, educate and entertain all ages.
The Main Stage will showcase children’s entertainment from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. including the Shapleigh School’s Little Amps and magician Peter Boie, and all-ages entertainment from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. includes The Stairwells, Hank & Dixie & The Knotty Pine Boys, Seasmoke and more.
A special children’s area offers live family entertainment throughout the day, demonstrations and educational exhibits. In addition, kids can enjoy face painting, a bounce house, and spin and sand art.
The food area highlights the “talents and cuisines of Kittery.” A number of Kittery restaurateurs will be presenting foods from their establishments for your eating pleasure. Keeping it clean, EcoMovement will also be on hand with recycling stations throughout the area, as well as having stations set up to collect compostable material. Participants in the Block Party will be asked to use recyclable materials as organizers aim for a Zero Waste event.
Admission to this event is free, promising to be fun for all ages! Free parking will be available in many area lots and shuttle services into the Foreside area will also be offered.
For more information about the Kittery Block Party, please contact Janice Grady at 207-439-3800, email View our website at for an event schedule, listing of vendors and restaurants. For up-to-the-minute news, visit our Facebook page at

Friday, June 3, 2011

Museums Open Free to the Public in the Piscataqua Region

For over one hundred years, Historic New England has served as the region’s storyteller, opening its doors to share four centuries of New England home and family life. On Saturday, June 4, Historic New England celebrates the 2011 season opening of their historic house museums by welcoming visitors free of charge. Come hear about the people and stories of coastal New Hampshire and Maine as you tour through houses that range from the c.1664 Jackson House in Portsmouth, NH, which chronicles the evolution of rural life over three centuries, to the majestic Colonial Revival interiors of the Hamilton House of South Berwick, ME. Six of Historic New England’s Piscataqua Region museums will offer tours beginning at 11 a.m. and the last tour will start at 4 p.m.
In Exeter, visitors will be welcomed to Historic New England’s Gilman Garrison, 12 Water Street. John Gilman’s 1709 “Logg house by the bridge” was gentrified by his son with a finely ornamented addition c.1770. The interior was restored in the 1950s by direct descendant William Dudley, who opened the house to the public as a private museum.
In Portsmouth, visitors are invited to experience three of Historic New England’s houses. The Rundlet-May House, at 364 Middle Street, is a Federal-style mansion built by merchant James Rundlet in 1807. It is filled with most of its original locally crafted 19th century furniture and a variety of “modern” heating and cooking technologies. The formal garden at Rundlet-May blooms all spring and summer with fruit trees, trellised roses, fragrant peonies, abundant hollyhocks, and vibrant poppies, to name a few, all scattered along narrow pathways original to the 1812 garden plan that survives in the house. The c.1664 Jackson House, 76 Northwest Street, is the oldest surviving wood frame house in northern New England. Visitors at Jackson House will find themselves in the midst of an old two-acre apple orchard overlooking the North Mill Pond, the last surviving orchard in NH that still abuts tidal water. The 1784 Governor Langdon House, 143 Pleasant Street, home to John Langdon, a signer of the United States Constitution and three-term governor of New Hampshire, is considered to have the best interior carvings to be found north of Boston. The garden of the Governor Langdon House features a 180-foot rose and grape arbor as well as expansive lawns edged by a perennial border, and an intimate shade garden hidden among a stand of mature evergreens.
In South Berwick, the 1774 Sarah Orne Jewett House, 5 Portland Street is not to be missed. Set in the heart of downtown South Berwick, this special home is where the famous 19th century writer spent many years of her life. Visitors can pause in the wide hall on the second floor hallway, by the author’s desk, to look out the center window and imagine Jewett’s artistic inspiration. Also in South Berwick is the c.1785 Hamilton House, 40 Vaughn’s Lane, which was restored at the turn of the century into a romantic summer retreat that draws from the house’s Georgian design and colonial past. Surrounded by beautiful formal gardens, the Hamilton House sits on a high bluff overlooking the Salmon Falls River. The interior of the house displays the height of fashion for summer residences at the turn of the 20th century.
In all, thirty-one of Historic New England’s historic house museums will be open free of charge that day. For a full list of site, please visit and click on Open House under the Events tab. While visiting Historic New England’s six Piscataqua region historic house museums, plan to check out several other nearby events. Taste the best area restaurants have to offer at the all-you-can-eat 27th annual Chowder Festival in Prescott Park ( Immerse yourself in maritime fun at the free Piscataqua Waterfront Festival, presented by Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden ( Discover the Kids’ Day Festival in downtown South Berwick ( where free and low cost activities make for a great family-friendly day of games, crafts, a parade, touch-a-truck, free cotton candy, giveaways, and entertainment.
Photo caption: The 1785 Hamilton House in South Berwick is one of the six Historic New England house museums in the Seacoast region that will be open and offering free admission on June 4. (Photo courtesy Historic New England)

Rin Tin Tin Returns to the Big Screen

He was Hollywood’s original canine hero, a photogenic German shepherd who rose to big screen fame in the 1920s. He not only rescued his human co-actors, but his pictures proved so successful, they rescued the nearly bankrupt Warner Brothers studios, as well.
He was Rin Tin Tin, and two of his best starring silent pictures will be shown in a double feature on Sunday, June 5 at 2 p.m. at the historic Leavitt Theatre, 259 Main St./Route 1, Ogunquit, Maine. Admission is $5 per person. The screenings will be accompanied by live music.
The two Rin Tin Tin films, “Clash of the Wolves” (1925) and “Lighthouse by the Sea” (1924), will be accompanied live by New Hampshire-based silent film musician Jeff Rapsis. Rapsis provided music for a series of silent films last summer at the Leavitt Theatre; the shows proved so popular that the theater’s owners, Peter and Maureen Clayton, scheduled more screenings this season.
The Leavitt, a 600-seat single-screen summer-only movie theater, opened as a silent film house in 1923 and retains much of its original decor even today. The Leavitt, now in its 88th year, screens first-run movies from Memorial Day through the end of September.
Rin Tin Tin was in the vanguard of canine motion picture megastars whose exploits thrilled early movie-goers. The original Rin Tin Tin was a puppy who was rescued in 1918 from a bombed-out kennel in Germany near the end of World War I. He was named for a puppet called “Rin Tin Tin” that French children gave to American soldiers for good luck.
U.S. Army Corporal Lee Duncan brought Rin Tin Tin to America and trained him, then got the talented dog into the then-new field of motion pictures. Rin Tin Tin, with his dashing looks, athletic prowess, and acting chops, starred in a total of 26 adventure films for Warner Brothers.
The original Rin Tin Tin died in 1932, but his offspring continued to star in films and television shows even today.
The two films programmed at the Leavitt Theatre’s double feature show the original Rin Tin Tin at the height of his popularity. They also show the dog’s versatility, as they take place in two very different settings—one of which is coastal Maine—and each makes unique demands on the canine star.
“If you love animals, you’ll love watching Rin Tin Tin,” said Rapsis, accompanist for the screenings. “There’s nothing like rooting for a canine star to save the day in pictures that are full of action and great stunts, all performed for real, without the aid of computer-generated special effects. And to show a film set on the Maine coast right here in the area is a real thrill.”
“Clash of the Wolves” (1925), set in the old West, has Rin Tin Tin portraying Lobo, a half-wolf and untamed leader of a wild pack menacing a small town. When Rin Tin Tin is injured and then rescued by a stranger, the stage is set for a dramatic showdown with the townspeople and a run-in with a claim jumper. “Lighthouse by the Sea” (1924) sees Rin Tin Tin playing a castaway dog from a shipwreck off the coast of Maine who gets washed ashore, where he plays a key role in an aging lighthouse keeper’s battle to keep his job, and in foiling efforts of rumrunners offshore.
Both films are packed with action and adventure and were made at a time when the movies were first learning to tell stories in cinematic terms. They hold up well today, especially if the right conditions are present for silent film to be seen at its best: good restored prints shown at the correct speed, a big screen, live music, and an audience.
The Rin Tin Tin double feature is first in a summer series of silent film screenings at the Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit. The series aims to recreate the lost magic of early cinema by reviving the elements needed for silent film to be seen at its best: superior films in best available prints; projection on the big screen; live musical accompaniment; and a live audience.
For each film, Rapsis improvises a music score using original themes created beforehand. None of the music is written down; instead, the score evolves in real time based on audience reaction and the overall mood as the movie is screened. For more information on silent film music, visit
For more information, call (207) 646-3123 or visit
Photo caption: Silent film musician Jeff Rapsis will accompany two Rin Tin Tin adventure classics, “Clash of the Wolves” (1925) and “Lighthouse by the Sea” (1924) on Sunday, June 5 at the Leavitt Theatre. (Courtesy image)

Gateway Farmers’ Market Opens on Saturday, June 4

Opening day of the Gateway (York) Farmers’ Market is this Saturday, June 4. Saturday will kick off the ninth year of the market, which is presented by the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce.
Stonewall Kitchen, whose owners Jim Stott and Jonathan King first shared their specialty foods at farmers’ markets in Portsmouth and Exeter, proudly sponsors the Gateway Farmers’ Market. During the last eighteen years, they have grown their business to become a multi-million dollar manufacturer of specialty foods, with headquarters and production facility located next to the Chamber on Route 1.
The 2011 Gateway (York) Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from June 4 through October 8 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and every Thursday from July 7 through September 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The market takes place in the lot behind the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce off Route 1 in York, Maine. Our food vendors offer fresh veggies and fruit, dairy products, seafood, herbs, meat, desserts, breads, tea, oils & spices, prepared foods and more. Craft products include lotions, soaps, wood goods, jewelry, candles, birdhouses and pottery.
Expect to see these vendors every week at the Saturday market: Archer Angus, Bumble Beads, Chef’s Cove Café & More, Chop-Chop Crafts & Seafood, Connolly’s Organics, The Dirty Moose, Ellie May’s Sweet Toffee Crunch, Cultivating Community / Fresh Start Farms, Green Parrot Woodworks, Hubba Hubba Foods, Kate’s Designer Delights, Lakonia Greek Products, LLC, Lucia’s Kitchen, Port City Coffee Roasters, River Lily Farm, Riverside Farm, The Seacoast Soap Company, Something Different, Stonewall Kitchen, Twig Naturals, When Pigs Fly, Inc., Wright’s Haven Farm, York Art Association & Zach’s Farm. Alternate vendors who will attend on various Saturdays throughout the season include: Audrey Gottlieb, Band All Together, Brownie’s Barkery, Carter Hill Orchard, Catrina Marshall Art Pottery, Copper Moon Studio, Creekview Baking Company, Hand Spun Knits by Laurie, Maine Herb Farm, Riverside Pottery, Rock Garden Pottery, Sit Pretty & Un-Corked Birdhouse. The Thursday markets, which start in July will feature: Catrina Marshall Art Pottery, Chef’s Cove Café & More, Chop-Chop Crafts & Seafood, Connolly’s Organics, Creekview Baking Company, Figtree Kitchens, Joelle Guerard Silversmith, Moondance Gardens, Riverside Farm & Something Different. Please visit for details about vendors and their products.
For more information about the Gateway Farmers’ Market, contact Stephanie Oeser at the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce at 207.363.4422 or
Photo caption: Tomatoes from Connolly’s Organics, one of the many farms and vendors who will be present at the kick-off Gateway Farmers’ Market in York on Saturday, June 4. (Courtesy photo)