Friday, October 28, 2011

New-Look Pirates: Not Looking Too Good

By Scott Andrews
Staff Columnist
The Portland Pirates sport a new look for the 2011-2012 season. There’s been a near-total turnover in players plus a new NHL parent club and a new head coach.
But the new-look Pirates aren’t looking too good on the ice, at least so far. At press time (on Tuesday) the Pirates sported a 2-3-0-1 record over the first three weeks of their 80-game season, good for a .417 percentage. They’ve shown flashes of brilliance to be sure, but the overall picture is dominated by a sputtering offense and a porous defense.
That’s a far cry from the recent past. Last year’s Pirates had excellent results, posting a 47-24-7-2 record for a .644 percentage, one of the best showings in Portland history.
What’s the story? As in all minor league sports, changing parent club affiliations is a constant factor. Following the 2010-2011 season, the Buffalo Sabres transferred all of their American Hockey League players from Portland to Rochester, N.Y., to become the newest incarnation of the Rochester Americans.
(The American Hockey League is the game’s second tier, a single step below the big time. AHL players are under contract to their NHL parent clubs, and they can be called up at any time.)
Soon after Buffalo’s move, Pirates principal owner Brian Petrovek inked a new affiliation pact with the Phoenix Coyotes to move their AHL players to Maine. As a result, the Portland Pirates are now the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate. Or another way of putting it, they’re last year’s San Antonio Rampage.
But Phoenix is a franchise with a troubled financial history. The team is currently owned by the NHL in a caretaker role. The NHL is trying to unload the club, and a change of home city will likely accompany any transfer. On a positive note, the Coyotes have enjoyed two consecutive winning seasons.
From the fans’ point of view, the principal consequence of the above moves is an almost-total turnover of players. The lone holdover is Igor Gongalsky, a Ukrainian-born forward who made a minor impact over 54 games with the Pirates in 2010-2011.
In an unrelated move, Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen, who was popular with both the players and the fans, seized his well-deserved – and long overdue – opportunity to step up to an NHL head coaching position. Dineen, who owns the best coaching record in Pirates history, now helms the Florida Panthers.
Ray Edwards, in his second year as an AHL head coach, will stand behind the Pirates’ bench this season. With San Antonio last season he posted a 40-33-0-7 record for a .544 percentage.
This year’s Pirates? A big question mark.
Unquestionably the Coyotes’ top prospect is Andy Miele, a Michigan native who won last year’s Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey. Miele is a sparkplug whose stature on the ice far exceeds his 5-foot-8 height and his 180 pounds. He enjoyed a stellar game on Oct. 19, tallying two goals and three assists as the Pirates beat Manchester. At press time, Miele had been called up to Phoenix.
Like Miele, the Pirates are young and relatively inexperienced. Edwards will be relying on a few veterans to help guide his up-and-coming players. In particular, look for center Ryan Hollweg, defenseman Dean Arsene and goalie Curtis McElhinney to provide a crucial center of gravity.
Edward summarized the situation. “There are a lot of new people in the organization,” he said. “Every day we’re learning who we are.”
Photo caption: Forward Andy Miele promises to be one of the top players for the Portland Pirates this season. He’s shown here in the Phoenix Coyotes September training camp. (Jeff Gross photo)

Berwick Student Wins World Equestrian Championship

Gabrielle Blackman (Kittery Point, ME), a junior at Berwick Academy, recently participated in the Grand National Morgan Horse Show in Oklahoma City and won the world championship for Classic Pleasure Saddle, Jr. Exhibitors ages 14-17. Gabrielle has been riding since she was six years old and trains year round at Taylor River Farm in Hampton Falls, NH under the direction of Sarah Gove and Richard Boule. She competes March through October in A level regional shows and, after winning the national championship, qualified to move onto compete in the world championship this year. Gabrielle took home the top prize over 23 other competitors.
Gabrielle participates in the high school equestrian athlete program sponsored by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and has received her varsity pin for riding for her freshman and sophomore years.
At Berwick Academy, Gabrielle plays on the basketball team, works on the Upper School literary magazine, “The Vernacular,” and is a member of the Gay Straight Alliance. Gabrielle also plays the guitar and sings at BA. She has performed in Winterfest, an audition-based show that features the School’s most talented musicians, dancers, and artists, for the past two years.
Photo caption: Gabrielle Blackman ’13 was recently crowned Classic Pleasure Saddle, Jr. Champion. (Courtesy photo)

Marshwood Middle School Celebrates Veterans Day

On November 10, 2011, Marshwood Middle School will commemorate its eleventh annual Veterans Day Celebration. The school-wide assembly, which starts at 9:00 a.m., features various tributes from students and faculty to local veterans. Last year, over 230 guests attended the school’s gathering. Several veterans are invited by Marshwood students because they have grandparents, parents, aunts, uncle, neighbors or community members who have served our country.
Local police and fire department members and various dignitaries including town officials, school board members, and state representatives attend the celebration to honor our veterans. All guests form a reception line at 8:30 a.m. and the students greet guests with small talk and a handshake. The reception line emphasizes a personal touch for every student to come in contact with the guests. This small act assists in setting the tone of the celebration.
As everyone gathers in the gymnasium, patriotic music is played and within the next hour, various tributes are presented in form of song, readings and power point presentations. After the Celebration, there is a reception in the library for guests and faculty.
It is extremely important for students to understand the sacrifices our veterans have made and continue to make for us. The veterans are touched by the sincerity and respect from the students and enjoy the assembly. We all at times can take our freedoms for granted, but this celebration encourages us all to remember the sacrifices made for us as Americans and to once again recognize that freedom is never really free.
Photo caption: Marshwood Middle School will host its 11th annual community Veterans Day celebration on November 10. (Courtesy photo)

Portsmouth Shipyard Earns Energy Award

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has earned the Secretary of the Navy’s Energy and Water Management Award for fiscal 2011.
The award, of which there were only seven throughout the Department of the Navy, notes significant reductions in energy and water use.
The shipyard has cut its energy use by nearly 55 percent since 2004, and its water usage by just short of 20 percent since 2007.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus congratulated those winning the award, terming their efforts “critical to the accomplishment of the Navy’s mission.”
“Your excellence in energy and water efficiency efforts are an example for all other commands to follow,” he said. “We must all continue to be good stewards of our resources.”
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Sheehan, D-N.H., also praised the shipyard for winning the award.
“Congratulations on this significant achievement,” Sen. Collins said. “I look forward to seeing the Secretary of the Navy Energy Flag flown at Portsmouth during the next year.”
“This prestigious award recognizes the significant accomplishments of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s comprehensive energy efficiency program, aggressive awareness campaign.”
“Your accomplishments and dedication is reflected in your success, and I look forward to seeing your energy improvements continue as the Navy intends to make nearly $100 million in facility and restoration investments during Fiscal Year 2012,” she said.
Collins also praised the Navy Support Activity Portsmouth for its gold level achievement for outstanding energy programs.
“These notable achievements have set new standards and created a model of performance not just for the Navy, but for the Department of Defense and private industry,” she said.
Shaheen, who with Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work, presented the award to the shipyard, said the Navy “has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce the federal government’s energy use, and the Portsmouth Shipyard is a great example of the progress it has made.”
“I commend the Navy and the shipyard for their leadership on energy efficiency, for their dedication to improving our nation’s energy security, and for their commitment to ensuring the shipyard is operating at its best.”
“It is an honor to be recognized for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s energy and water management efforts,” Capt. Bryant Fuller, the shipyard commander, said. “Our goal is always to improve our conservation programs, as the result is a true cost and energy savings for the nation. This award is truly a testament to the entire Shipyard, led by our Energy Task Force, pulling in the same direction to take great strides in reducing our water and energy consumption.”
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, established in June 1800, is the oldest continually operated shipyard in the U.S. Navy.
During World War II over 70 submarines were built at the yard that then employed more than 20,000 workers. One noteworthy achievement during that time was the launching of four submarines in one day.
The shipyard built nuclear powered submarines in the ’50s, launching its first, the USS Swordfish, in 1957, and its last, the Sandlance, in 1969.
Since then it has overhauled and upgraded Los Angeles class submarines and is now doing similar work on the Virginia class.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Town Readies for Eighth Annual OgunquitFest

For the eighth year in a row, Ogunquit has prepped the cornstalks and decorated the scarecrows in anticipation of the town’s annual harvest celebration, OgunquitFest. From Friday, October 21 through Sunday, October 23, the town is transformed into a Halloween extravaganza, offering activities, events and entertainment for visitors and locals alike.
On Friday and Saturday, muster your courage and visit the Catacombs and Maze at Ogunquit Village School on School Street from 6 to 10 p.m. each night. The Haunted Catacombs are not appropriate for children under 10, but the maze welcomes all ages. Be sure to pick up a $1 coupon in the Ogunquit Fall Festivals brochure, presented by The Weekly Sentinel and found throughout the town.
On Saturday, enjoy a Classic Car Show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Main Beach parking lot. Winners will be announced at 1 p.m. While you’re down there, take a stroll through the Autumn Bazaar and hop on the Roaming Railroad for a scenic break, both of which will also be available on Sunday. Horse-drawn wagon rides are fun for the whole family from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Veterans Park. Kids can enjoy the Great Pumpkin Patch Presentation and Cookie Monster Decorating from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Dunaway Center on School Street, plus Fall Storytelling from 4 to 5 p.m. in the same place.
Also on Saturday, get out your stilettos for the “highly” anticipated High Heel Dash and Walk-Off at 3 p.m. in Perkins Cove. Brave souls race around the Cove in high heels with trophies awarded for Best Time, Highest Heel and Most Outrageous Costume. Proceeds from registration support the Frannie Peabody Center. And don’t forget your flashlight on the Ghostly Tours, presented by the Ogunquit Heritage Museum on Obeds Lane from 5:30 to 9 p.m. There might be more to Ogunquit’s nightlife than meets the eye!
On Sunday, everyone joins together for a Costume Parade from Ogunquit Square to Main Beach, with adults, children and canines welcome! Parade starts at 11 a.m. And be sure to find a viewing spot for one of the biggest events of the season: the Bridge to Beach Bed Race. It’s utter bedlam as teams zoom down Beach Street with decorated beds and king-sized enthusiasm. Vote on your favorite as teams raise money for nonprofits and vie for the People’s Choice Award. Most Beautiful Bed and Broken Spring winners will also be selected.
All outdoor events are weather permitting, but Ogunquit is hoping for sunny skies as volunteers put the finishing touches on the weekend’s decorations and events. As you walk around town, don’t forget to vote for your favorite scarecrow display! Ballot boxes will be located throughout town through Saturday, October 22. The Ogunquit Catacombs and Maze will also reprise their fright on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29, just in time for Halloween.
For more information on any of the OgunquitFest events, contact the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce at (207) 646-2939, visit the Ogunquit Welcome Center at 36 Main Street, Ogunquit, visit, or pick up one of the Ogunquit Fall Festivals brochures presented by The Weekly Sentinel, available online or throughout Ogunquit.
Photo caption: Ogunquit will celebrate its 8th annual OgunquitFest this weekend with children’s activities, haunted happenings and family fun. (Photo by Molly McCoy)

Kennebunk Celebrates Bridge Completion with Festivities and Fun

The Kennebunk Festival Committee announces the Second Annual Harvest Fest on Main Street to promote local business and provide downtown entertainment for families in Kennebunk. The event will be held on Saturday, October 22, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This year’s Festival will also include a celebration of the completion of the Mousam River Bridge as well as an Apples and Arts Day, sponsored by the Kennebunk Farmer’s Market. Events include a Pancake Breakfast at Duffy’s Restaurant, a Costume Parade, Hay Rides, Pumpkin Decorating, Concerts on the Bridge, Fireman’s Muster and more.
Duffy’s 5K Run/Walk and Pancake Breakfast each start at 8:00 a.m. Proceeds from these events will be donated to the Festival Committee to help offset costs for Old Home Week in July 2012. All ages are invited to join the Costume Parade originating at Dane Street and marching down Main Street concluding at Water Street. The Parade begins at 11 a.m.
Other Harvest Fest events can be found throughout downtown Kennebunk including Pumpkin and Treat Bag Decorating, a Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt, Apples and Arts, Hay Rides, Farmer’s Market and Local Vendors in the former Mobil Station lot and a Ribbon Cutting, Live Bands, Duffy’s BBQ and a Fireman’s Muster on the newly completed Mousam River Bridge. Pen and ink prints by artist Steve Hrehovcik of the new bridge and downtown Kennebunk will also be available for sale.
For a full schedule of events, please visit their website at

Keep South Berwick Warm to Host Annual Community Supper

The 4th annual Keep South Berwick Warm “old school” community supper will be held Wednesday, November 2, 5-7 p.m. at Spring Hill Restaurant, Pond Rd., South Berwick. The yearly community fundraiser is being held by townspeople working with Social Services in an effort to help local families deal with heating costs this winter. Just like days gone by, there’s no set donation or entry fee – there will be a soup pot by the door where people can give whatever they can to help their neighbors get through these challenging economic times.
As reported in the October 13th edition of the Boston Globe, The US Energy Information Administration said the nation’s heating oil customers – most of whom live in the Northeast – will probably pay more than in any previous winter as heating oil costs rise to an average $3.71 per gallon. The average household is estimated to spend nearly $2,500 between now and March. That is about $200.00 more per household, making this year’s fundraiser even more essential to those in need.
Soups and breads at the fundraiser are made by local restaurants and bakers, and cookies are made by local individuals. There will be raffles donated by local individuals, a $10.00 table with locally donated items, and a bake sale by the South Berwick Seniors. Local restaurants and bakers generously providing food at the supper include Nature’s Way Market, Pepperland Cafe, Fogarty’s Restaurant, The Catered Event, The Redbarn at Outlook Farm, The Black Bean Cafe, The Brixham General Store, Spring Hill Restaurant, King Tuts Cider, and When Pigs Fly Bread. River City Jazz will entertain with acoustic jazz music.
“The money we raise from the supper, the raffle, and any subsequent donations that are made, will give a family a few hours of heat, or help with weatherization of their home,” says Pat Robinson, one of the key organizers. “The support we’ve gotten from the local restaurants and individuals has been very enthusiastic — if we see the community responds the same way this year, the event should really make a difference in local families’ lives this winter. If people can’t come to the supper, we hope they’ll mail in a donation. We really hope to make sure that all of the families of South Berwick stay warm this winter.”
When residents make their donations to the South Berwick Fuel Fund, the checks will be written to SoBo Central, an umbrella non-profit organization that includes the Food Pantry, Keep South Berwick Warm, Hot Summer Nights Concerts, Friends of Powderhouse Hill, Smart Growth, and GreenUp. Its mission is, “to nurture the Town’s unique sense of place by connecting and engaging citizens in community life.”
Donations to the Fuel Fund can be made directly to SoBo Central, c/o Fuel Fund, 46 Witchtrot Rd, South Berwick, ME 03908. Please write “Fuel Fund” on the memo line.
All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Photo caption: Keep South Berwick Warm will host its 4th annual community supper on November 2. (Courtesy photo)

Funny Girl: A Review of Tina Fey’s Memoir ‘Bossypants’

By Chip Schrader
Book Reviewer
Tina Fey started off as an actress on television ads. She eventually landed a spot on Saturday Night Live’s writing staff, a move that evolved into Fey taking the seat of greats Chevy Chase, Kevin Nealon, and Dennis Miller as the anchor of the SNL news. Now, she has her own show, 30 Rock – a parody of the behind the scenes antics of Saturday Night Live – a movie career, and a hilarious memoir “Bossypants.”
“Bossypants” begins with Tina’s childhood, a surprise pregnancy, puberty, her father’s mild racism, and Summer Showtime. Summer Showtime highlights Fey’s coming of age in this teenage theater group where she catches the actor’s bug, and her friend comes out of the closet at a grand party that ends the summer. From these experiences she learns, “Gay people were made that way by God, but not solely for my entertainment.” A perfect example of Fey’s no holds barred documentation of her life.
As her star rose, Fey became an unwitting glamour icon. She unravels the sense of irony she feels with the light in which the public sees her. Chock full of blemishes, imperfections, and earthly human habits, Fey charms women readers proving she is just one of them, and male readers that there is a Tina Fey in very man’s wife.
Her recollections of the magazine photo shoots, adoring and snarky fan letters, awkward adolescence and motherhood dispels any myth of beauty one might hold of her. However, perhaps intentionally, Fey’s assessments of her self-image reinforce the deeper beauty of modesty and humanity with which she is truly gifted.
The only sure bet out there rests in the fact that nobody can get through “Bossypants” without emitting at least one hearty belly laugh between every five or so pages. She covers the challenges and pitfalls of working with men – particularly comedians with fixations on bodily functions – she has a memorable chapter of fashion advice for her daughter, and lets us in on the showbiz secrets and the Sarah Palin spoofs that made her a household name.
“Bossypants” is sharply written, and as the author, Fey is well aware of the phrase “too much information,” and relishes her disregard of the social mores that inspired the phrase. The anecdotes all seem to have a punch line, which to less gifted people can grow wearisome, but Fey is the funniest woman on earth.
Some chapters are straight ahead anecdotes and retellings of her life’s events, and others are checklists, script snippets, and outlines of witty observations and lessons she has learned in an ordinary woman’s extraordinary life. The honesty that anchors her humor is what makes her a winner. She is not afraid to admit to who she is, and she is a bold role model for any “Sarah plain and tall” who aspires to something greater. The candor, wit, humility, and finely crafted and inventive narrative make “Bossypants” a winner.
288 Pages, Reagan Arthur Books; 1st Edition (April 5, 2011).
Photo caption: (Courtesy book cover image)

Friday, October 14, 2011

South Berwick Residents Show How Passion Can Build Buildings

You don’t have to be Rockefeller to give a generous donation to a cause that means a lot to you. Just ask Marilyn Ladner, a retired woman who lives on a fixed income and has pledged more than $10,000 to building a new library in her hometown.
“I really believe in libraries,” said Ladner, who pledged the money over a three-year period and is putting a modest monthly charge on her credit card. “When I was four years old my mother began taking me to the library in Gardiner, Maine, every Saturday morning. That was the highlight of the week.”
Ladner is one of several South Berwick donors who have given significant infusions to the Capital Campaign for the new South Berwick Public Library, just as the Town got set to welcome residents to a celebration of the new library’s progress on Thursday, Oct. 13.
Dave and Mary Stansfield, who have been involved in local efforts to build a new library since the late 1990s, made an even larger donation.
“When it looked like it was starting to become a reality, we were in a position to make a significant gift,” said Dave Stansfield, a member of the Town Building Committee that helped guide the initial stages of the project. “I remember when the town library was at Berwick Academy before it turned private. Then it moved downtown to the Jewett-Eastman House. People always said that was supposed to be a temporary location, but it’s been there over 40 years.”
Stansfield became involved, in part, because of his commitment to the physical space. “I’m a person who wants to be able to reuse an old building if at all possible, and I was very, very excited when the verdict came back: it’s feasible,” he said of the former church. “It’ll be less expensive than tearing down and building new.”
He noted a lot of people in town already have a connection to that building. “It was a well-established Catholic Church, and a lot of people grew up there and had their kids baptized there,” he said.
Another couple making a major gift to the new Library are Sandy Agrafiotis and Carl Pehrsson, who both grew up in families of readers. They recently discovered something they hadn’t realized about each other: as 10-year-olds, the first place they ever went alone on a city bus was to their local library, she in Manchester, NH and he in Westbury, NY.
“The library was important to me when I was young. I loved to go up the big marble staircase to the art room where I’d sit on the floor and pull out oversize books on painting and sculpture. I remember loving Cezanne, Van Gogh and Brancusi,” said Agrafiotis, an art history major and professional photographer.
“A library is a safe and welcoming place in the public world where children and adults can feel comfortable,” she said. “It really is a safe zone for children, and a place that doesn’t involve spending money. I agree with the concept of the public library as the community living room.”
Each of these families – plus several others who have given between $5,000 and $25,000 – has played a part in advancing the vision of a new, expanded and modern library at the former St. Michael’s Church on Young Street.
In August 2010, the Friends of South Berwick Library started its Capital Campaign to raise $1 million toward the $2.25 million cost of the new Library. South Berwick voters approved a $1.5 million bond, which is funding the bulk of renovation and construction costs.
According to Patti Mitchem, president of the Friends, the funds raised by the Capital Campaign will complete construction and cover all costs of turning the completed building into a library, including furnishings and computers. Funds raised in excess of expenses will be used to help pay down the bond, she said.
Photo caption: South Berwick residents Mary and Dave Stansfield, and Marilyn Ladner are major donors to the Capital Campaign for the new Public Library at the former church on Young Street. (Courtesy photos)

Art Teacher & Program Spotlighted by ‘Worlds Largest Kids’ Art Museum’

Wells Elementary School Art teacher Sandy Brennan has been notified that she is the recipient of a “Leadership Award” from Artsonia, an online school children’s arts museum. According to a press release from Artsonia, Brennan received this recognition “for outstanding leadership in the area of Arts Education at Wells Elementary School.”
As a result of Brennan’s leadership, Artsonia rates the gallery devoted to WES artwork on second in Maine. Currently, Artsonia displays over 12.5 million student images from around the world.
The release also states: “The Leadership Award presented to Sandy Brennan honors teachers who go beyond the classroom walls to encourage family and community involvement in arts education. The award also recognizes significant achievement in the area of technology integration within the school arts program.”
“I am so pleased that Wells Elementary School students can be recognized for their hard work in Art classes by Artsonia,” commented Brennan. “I thank Maryanne Foley and parents Marcia Ciorra, Ashley Breton, Betsy Stevens, Christine Brickett, Nicole Iannillo, and Alicia Goodwin for their help in photographing the student works. I couldn’t do the Artsonia program without them.”
During the 2010-2011 school year, Brennan posted 1,455 pieces of student work in the art gallery reserved for WES. Recently, this gallery has been viewed over 5,700 times yielding more than 115 comments. The WES gallery address is:
“While teachers in more than 100 countries showcase their student artwork on Artsonia, Sandy Brennan has created a school community deserving of recognition,” stated the release.
Artsonia was founded in 2000 and is based in Gurnee, Illinois. Their site,, also serves as a resource for educators and students. In addition, Artsonia sells mugs, t-shirts and other keepsakes with individual artwork imprinted. Fifteen percent of the money received for this service is donated back to the student art program.
Photo caption: Sandy Brennan with showcased student art. These colorful figures are Pueblo Native American “Kachinas.” (Photo by Reg Bennett)

Opening Scenes: ‘50/50’

By Chip Schrader
Movie Reviewer
“50/50” begins with a shot of moving pavement; a hand holding an iPod moves into the frame. As the camera pans back, we see a man in a sweat suit running along a waterfront with the Seattle skyline on the other side. The man stops at the “Do Not Walk” light, while another jogger runs by him to cross the street, regardless of the sign. The light changes and he proceeds.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays as Adam, the cautious jogger who doesn’t drive because it is the fifth leading cause of death. In spite of his prudence, he is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer where mutated genes formed into a tumor along his spinal cord. When telling his 50/50 chance of survival to his best friend Kyle, played by Seth Rogen, Kyle tries to maintain his composure, stating Adam would have better chances than anyone in Vegas with those chances.
The cast is stellar with Anjelica Huston, Anna Kendrick, and Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help) supporting the painful and complicated journey of a 27-year-old cancer patient. Anjelica Huston is Adam’s mother, a worrier whose husband is marooned in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s disease. For her own survival, she seeks her son to allow her to care for him, but his girlfriend, played by Howard, leaves viewers scratching their heads with her care-giving methods.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s por-trayal seethes with pain, despair and loneliness until the adversity knots into the viewers’ guts. Just in time, Kyle comes into the scene, insists that his best friend exploit this illness as a means to live his life fully, and uses his vulgar humor to steer the audience and his best friend’s demeanor into lighter territory.
“50/50” will likely introduce Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen to Oscar-conscious audiences and filmmakers. Rogen’s character, in particular, displays that the comedic actor has the chops to be funny in a serious film with this subtly nuanced character. The scenes in the treatment center, Adam’s scenes of private pain, and his anger are very real to those who have witnessed the nature of the disease. Huston shines in the doctor’s office after Adam finally lets her into his private battle; this is the first of many scenes that bring goosebumps in the last third of the movie as Adam’s road to wellness narrows.
Bottom line: “50/50” should not be missed. Viewers will get chills from the deep humanity of the male friendship that inspired this story, and the struggles of a patient who always had to play protector. Scenes with an icy physician and a young psychologist needing a case study for her doctorate subtly indicate the commonplace shortcomings of healthcare. But, the sweeping political commentary is kept at bay as the heart of the story is the most inspiring. This film will make audiences hurt, hate, love, and laugh many times over. “50/50” is based on a true story and makes us revel that friendships like this really exist. 4.5 out of 5.
Photo caption: (Courtesy movie poster image)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tramuto Foundation Observes 10th Anniversary

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

The Tramuto Foundation observed its 10th anniversary on Saturday, October 1 at the Beachmere Inn, to raise funds for its far-flung work.
More than 200 people showed up at the celebration that included a silent auction, and over $150,000 was raised.
“I’m just numbed,” Donato Tramuto, chairman of the Ogunquit Select Board and creator of the foundation, said in a telephone interview this week. “I knew we were going into it with a lot of momentum and lot of success, but this just beat my expectations.”
The foundation was established in 2001, following the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers in New York. Tramuto had planned to be on Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center, but made a last-minute decision to get on an earlier flight.
His close friends, Dan Brandhorst and his partner, Ron Gamboa, and their three-year old son, lost their lives in that crash. The foundation was established three weeks later.
The foundation provides grants to help youths with special challenges overcome adversity and build the confidence necessary to achieve personal excellence.
“We’re still counting, checks are still pouring in,” Tramuto said. “This is just really amazing. It says a lot about Ogunquit. It says a lot about the community.”
Honored at this year’s celebration were the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights represented by Kerry Kennedy; The Ogunquit Playhouse, represented by creative director Brad Kenney; The President Mary Jane England Scholarship at Regis College represented by Dr. England; The Iris Network represented by James R. Phipps, and the foundation itself.
The funds raised will allow the foundation to continue its work.
“We’ll be able to do wonderful things in third world countries, but also make a real difference in the local communities,” Tramuto said. “We will continue our commitment to the Regis College nursing program, where we give scholarships to needy students.
“We started the Ogunquit Playhouse hearing device program, which will now be extended and expanded and allow for sign language at each show.”
The successful fund-raiser will also allow continued support of the Iris Network, he said, a nonprofit group that helps visually impaired or blind people attain independence.
“The remaining dollars will flow into my foundation,” he said, “helping children get scholarships to go to college.”
“We’re basically about doing small things to help people do big things,” he concluded. “A big congratulations to everyone involved.”
As a child, Tramuto, founder, chief executive officer and vice chairman of Physicians Interactive Holding LLC, struggled with severe hearing loss. He overcame the obstacles to become a leader in the healthcare industry, elected official in Ogunquit, and board member serving on several prestigious boards.
He is passionate about inspiring others to realize their own dreams through dedication and hard work.
Other causes and organizations the foundation has helped in addition to those honored this year include Maine Special Olympics, Cambodia - The Sharing Foundation, Leukemia Society, Katrina, 3 Family’s, Walden Street School Foundation, Windbrush Farm, state of Maine Foster Children Program, AIDS Seacoast Foundation, American Diabetes Association, The Friends Project, Frannie Peabody Center, Seacoast Hospice, Camp Sunshine, Gastro-Intestinal Research, Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, and more.
(Molly McCoy contributed to this report)
Photo caption: Donato J. Tramuto, creator of the Tramuto Foundation, led a recent community fundraiser event, which has raised more than $150,000 to help a variety of charitable organizations. (Courtesy photo)

Key Link in Eastern Trail Opened, Dedicated

By Scott Andrews
Staff Columnist
It’s easier to get from Maine to Florida. At least if you’re walking or riding a bicycle.
A key link in that long and winding route, which stretches between Calais and Key West, was opened late last summer and officially dedicated last week.
On September 28, representatives of the Eastern Trail Alliance, the East Coast Greenway, Maine Turnpike Authority and the Maine Department of Transportation gathered with hundreds of guests — many of them students at the Kennebunk Elementary School — to dedicate the new bridge over the Maine Turnpike at Mile 26.3, just north of Exit 25 and the Kennebunk service plaza.
The bridge, which spans six lanes of traffic, was built at a cost of approximately $1.2 million. It links two sections of the Eastern Trail in Kennebunk. When completed, the Eastern Trail will provide a 65-mile off-road route for pedestrians and bicyclists between Kittery and South Portland, passing through 10 towns.
The 28-mile distance from Kennebunk to South Portland is now 75 percent complete, with another section in Scarborough due to open later this fall. The South Portland Green Belt will complete the distance to Portland.
Most of the projected route follows the abandoned right-of-way of the Eastern Railroad, which was last used in 1944. Although the tracks were ripped out and the railroad was abandoned, the property was never fragmented, thanks to the Unitil natural gas pipeline, which uses the former railroad. Unitil grants the Eastern Trail Alliance the right to use the property.
The Eastern Trail is part of an even grander scheme, the East Coast Greenway. The general concept behind the East Coast Greenway is to create a pedestrian pathway and off-road bicycle route roughly parallel to the famed Appalachian Trail. Whereas the AT connects high mountain peaks, the East Coast Greenway will connect — and run through — major cities.
The East Coast Greenway was first proposed in 1991. As currently envisioned, total mileage will be approximately 3,000, running between Calais, Maine, and Key West, Florida. Twenty-three percent of the total projected route in nine states plus the District of Columbia has been completed.
The Eastern Trail was first proposed in 1997 by John Andrews, a retired engineer from Saco, who remains the driving force behind the effort. Prior to last week, the largest project on the trail was a bridge over the Scarborough Marsh, which was opened in 2004.
Two more large bridges are needed between Kennebunk and Portland, one to cross the Saco River between Biddeford and Saco and the other to cross Route 1 in Scarborough. The latter is currently under construction.
At the dedication ceremony, Maine Turnpike executive director Peter Mills, a longtime jogger, spoke of the need for recreational opportunities such as the Eastern Trail.
“We need places in our cities and towns where we can get outdoors and feel safe from traffic,” he said. “The Eastern Trail is just such a place.”
Photo caption: On September 28, Kennebunk celeberated the newly dedicated Eastern Trail bridge, which spans the Maine Turnpike in Kennebunk. (Photo by Scott Andrews)

Third Annual Fall Eco-Fest at Clay Hill Farm

On Monday of Columbus Day weekend, October 10, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Clay Hill Farm will host its third annual Fall Eco-Fest; a free community event of green family fun. Kids activities include pumpkin painting, farm-wide scavenger hunt, fairy-house building, Earth crafts and family yoga. Artisans, local farms, green businesses, wellness advisors and community organizations will gather on the lawn and under the Big Top event tent courtesy of Sperry Tents Seacoast, to celebrate the season and share information to raise environmental awareness at this annual celebration.
WXGR will be spinning the tunes and broadcasting live, while Clay Hill Farm fires up the grill for all-natural burgers, locally made hot dogs and tasty treats. Sundaes at the Beach will be serving-up their homemade ice cream for the kids, and winners of Clay Hill Farm’s annual Green Wedding Giveaway will be at the festival to share their journeys and launch the 2012 challenge. Event sponsors of the Fall Eco-Fest include; Simply Green Biofuels, Shaklee, Acorn Organic Salon, Childlight Yoga, Green Maids, Gendron Construction and Nikoe Natural Therapies. Eco-Movement Hauling and Consulting will be on-hand to help make this festival a zero-waste event.
To watch the Eco-Fest video, view past event pictures and gather more information about this community event, visit Clay Hill Farm online,
Photo caption: Clay Hill Farm will host its 3rd annual Fall Eco-Fest on Monday, October 10. (Photo by Jeremy Heflin)