Friday, July 27, 2012

“Lawns for Lobsters” Grows as Result of Two Town’s Collaboration

Hunter and Sawyer LaChance plant a Lawns for Lobsters sign to let others know that their yard is maintained in a way that's good for the environment. (courtesy photo)
In an unprecedented alliance, volunteers at the Kennebunkport Conservation Commission are teaming up with members of the Kennebunk Conservation and Open Space Planning Commission to boost area-wide awareness about the impact of pesticides in the two towns.
Kennebunkport’s successful Lawns For Lobsters program presently addresses public awareness about pesticide runoff from lawns into local waterways. “Most of Kennebunkport’s streams begin in Kennebunk and both towns share the Kennebunk River,” notes Sarah LaChance, Chairman of Kennebunkport’s commission. “We all benefit from a healthy approach to the care of our lawns and gardens. Good practices about the use of pesticides are easy and less expensive in the long run.”
Alex Mendelsohn, chairman of Kennebunk's commission, describes how the collaboration between the two commissions is expected to foster wider understanding of how pesticides affect the environment. “While both towns have pesticide usage policies on the books, many citizens are unaware of these policies,” he said.
Maine's pesticide usage went from 800,000 pounds annually about ten years ago to well over 4 million pounds a year now. That works out to as much as three pounds of active ingredient per non-forested acre. “Off-the-shelf pesticides are widely available at retail stores,” adds Mendelsohn.
Official pesticide usage policies at both towns now cover town-owned lands, focusing on using established best practices for application, and the consolidated school district has its own pesticide policy.
“We’re now expanding our awareness campaign to the wider community,” Mendelsohn says. “These policies stem from a so-called Precautionary Principle that was spelled out a decade ago by scientists at the Wingspread Conference.
“The Precautionary Principle states that that when an activity poses a threat to the environment or to human health, precautions should be taken, even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established.”
Pests can include undesirable terrestrial and aquatic plants, as well as insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes. Rodents, birds, and even some animals and microorganisms can also be declared as pests under some Federal and state laws.
Common examples of pests in turf grass are crabgrass, knotweed, poison ivy, chinch bugs, grubs, and a variety of plant pathogens. The use of pesticides to deal with these problems can affect people, pets, well water, surface water, and terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.

Wells Beach Parking Lot Attendant remembered at Dedication Ceremony

Ed Sarcione, who passed away May 1, 2011, was remembered Wednesday, July 18th by many who knew and loved him.  In attendance at the dedication of a plaque in his memory were Town Manager Jonathan Carter, Town Treasurer Leo Ouellette, Ed’s wife, Rike, and many friends. (courtesy photo)

17th Annual Eliot Antique Tractor & Engine Show

One of the many antique engines on display at the Raitt Homestead Museum, which hosts its 17th annual Antique Tractor & Engine Show, July 27-29. (courtesy photo)
ELIOT – This weekend (July 27-29), the 17th Annual Eliot Antique Tractor & Engine Show will be held at the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum at 2077 State Rd, RT 103, in Eliot. This is a fun-filled weekend for the entire family.  This year they are featuring Oliver Tractors & Gilson engines. 
“It’s a labor of love,” said Lisa Raitt when describing the weekend. “It’s an all-volunteer board. No one gets a dime.”
Visitors can enjoy antique tractor and engine displays, working demonstrations including a shingle mill, a 1920’s Hildreth wood splitter, pumps and engine displays.  Ladies are invited to try their hand at the Ladies’ Skillet Toss. There will be tractor parades, kids pedal tractor pulls, garden tractor pulling, antique stone boat pulling, and transfer sled pulling all during the weekend. Folks can visit the Colonial Encampment and take a spin on the barrel tractor ride. On Friday night, there will be a benefit auction, and throughout the weekend there are raffles, entertainment, great food, homemade desserts and an artisans’ alley. 
The show is sponsored by the Raitt Homestead Museum, a non-profit formed in 1996.
Raitt said it takes months of preparation for such a large show.
“There have been thirty to forty people on site for a few weeks now, some camping. We have to hay the fields. Now that we have the car show in June, we hay them early. But now we have to mow the eighteen acres every five days until the tractors show,” she said. “We have to haul out all the antiques. And we have hundreds of exhibitors. There’ll be quite a few people here this weekend.”
One hundred percent of the proceeds from the event goes directly to the preservation, restoration, and maintenance of the thirty-three acre Farm Museum buildings, property and equipment, which enables them to continue to educate future generations and the community at large about farming history. The Museum also offers on and off-site children’s programs.
The show costs $6 per person; children 6 and under get in free. For more information, visit, email or call 207-748-0860 for the schedule.  Open Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Center for Wildlife to Create Program for Challenged Youth & SeniorsSeniors

One of Nine Nonprofits Awarded York County Fund Grants

The Maine Community Foundation’s Community Building Grant Program recently awarded $37,095 in grants to nine York County nonprofits, including the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, which will use the funds to create a “Wildlife as Teachers and Healers” program for disabled or at-risk youth and seniors.
Other grant awards went to:
Across the River Collaborative, Hiram, for an after-school program to prevent youth substance abuse and reduce school dropouts and juvenile crime.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine, Portland, to expand site-based mentoring program to RSU 23, or Saco, Dayton, and Old Orchard Beach.
Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County, Kennebunk, for The Nurturing Program, a ten-week parenting class to help families build strong, healthy relationships.
Counseling Services, Inc., Saco, to provide mental health services to uninsured or underinsured children diagnosed with mental illness.
Habitat for Humanity York County, Kennebunk, for start-up capital to open a ReStore in York County.
Old Berwick Historical Society, South Berwick, to support the Revitalizing Local History Project, which will strengthen the three-year series of all-school walking tours of historic sites for elementary grades in South Berwick.
Sanford-Springvale YMCA, Sanford, to support professional development for teaching staff to strengthen child care programs.
A volunteer committee of York County residents and business leaders reviews grants and makes recommendations for funding through the York County Fund and York County Children’s Aid Society Fund. The majority of grants in York County are directed to programs that assist vulnerable youth. The next deadline for applying to the York County Fund is February 15, 2013. Application and guidelines are available at
A statewide organization with offices in Ellsworth and Portland, the Maine Community Foundation partners with donors and nonprofits to strengthen Maine communities. For questions or for more information, visit or call 1-877-700-6800.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Young Girl & Grandfather Save Man, Dog from Piscataqua River

Terry Adams and his grand-daughter Hillary Adams-Wainwright, local heroes (photo by Michelle Kingston)

By Michelle Kingston
Staff Columnist

As if running your own lobster boat at thirteen years old isn’t impressive enough, Hillary Adams-Wainwright, of York, is now considered a local Seacoast hero after saving two lives on Monday, July 11, from the Piscataqua River.
“Everyone kind of made it seem like it was (a big deal), but I don’t really think it was at all. It was just kind of like, it happened,” she said.
She had just finished dropping off a load of lobsters at Chrissy D. Lobster Company in Kittery with her grandfather, Terry Adams, 66, when she spotted Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers whistling and motioning them to turn around.
As the pair began to rotate the boat, scanning the river for what they thought would be divers, Adams-Wainwright spotted a small, scared and struggling four-legged friend searching for help.
“We went and grabbed the dog, and we were heading back, and they were still telling us to go back,” she said.
A woman on Peirce Island was also frantically screaming for Adams-Wainwright and her grandfather to continue looking around.
“She was hysterical,” said Adams.
Penny, the small pup, who Adams-Wainwright believed was an English Terrier, was recovering on the boat when Adams spotted a hand pop up out of the river. Penny’s owner was also gasping for air, requiring assistance and hoping to be rescued.
“We found him, and we had him catch his breath on the side of the boat when we got up to him and then we pulled him in,” said Adams-Wainwright.
Penny and her owner, Chris Stephens, 27, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, were playing fetch on Peirce Island when a long toss took Penny out into the current. Stephens swam out to save Penny when he was caught up in the current as well.
They were both brought to safety very quickly. Adams feared that if he didn’t move away from the shore fast his boat was going to ground out.
“I just wanted to get out of there before we ruined the boat,” he said. “We got him out of the boat. We got the dog out of the boat. Then we got out of there. I was afraid I was getting hung up, and I would be in trouble. We just got out of there as soon as we could,” said Adams.
Steve Achilles, Portsmouth Deputy Fire Chief, said Stephens refused medical treatment from Portsmouth paramedics at the scene and chose not to be transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital.
Both Stephens and his dog appeared to be okay at the scene. However, both Adams-Wainwright and Adams do not think they would have been if it weren’t for them being there.
“There were other boats,” said Adams-Wainwright. “But no one noticed.”
“They just kept right on going,” said Adams.
Adams believed the dog and her owner had been distressed in the water for at least fifteen minutes before he and his granddaughter saved them. They had drifted off land about 100-150 yards, according to Adams.
The owner and the dog are both safe, but have not contacted the Maine heroes who saved their lives last week.
“Haven’t heard from him,” said Adams, a bit surprised.
Adams-Wainwright and Adams have been fishing together for more than five years now and have never had to rescue anyone from the river before.
However, Adams did save a kayaker in the York River a few years ago.
“He was just exhausted. He was going out with the tide,” said Adams.
They both caution all swimmers, local and from away, to be cautious of the tides in our area.
Adams-Wainwright has spent her summer days since she was eight years old with her grandfather, pulling in traps, bonding, and making hard-earned cash as she gains experience for her dream job as a marine biologist.
“She’ll have up to 150 traps next year,” said Adams.
After all these years, she says she has never caught anyone quite like she did last week. Just lobsters.

Kennebunk High School Welcomes Chinese Students from Sister School

Chinese students from the Tangshan Foreign Language School were in Kennebunk this past week. Here, students listen as Glenn Black, from the science department at KHS, teaches a morning class. (Photo by Tim Gillis)

By Timothy Gillis
Staff Columnist

Thirteen Chinese students and their chaperone are in town this week for a summer camp at Kennebunk High School. They are from Kennebunk High’s sister school in Tangshan, China.
They arrived a little later than scheduled when a connecting flight to Maine was cancelled at the last minute. So their first night in the United States was spent stuck in a Washington, D.C. airport, but the tired travelers finally arrived in Maine and were greeted by their host families from Kennebunk.
Principal Susan Cressey went to China last March and visited the Tangshan Foreign Language School, located north of Beijing. It was then that she set up the exchange.
“Students are fluent in English,” Cressey said. “I got to attend classes there. I was very interested in the discussions.” Classes are held in English in many schools in the area, Cressey said, and most classes have forty-five to fifty students in them.
“The classes stay put, and the teachers move from class to class,” she said, adding that – despite the large class size – behavior was not a problem.
“Only the motivated and brightest get to go to high school in China,” she said.
While they are here, the Chinese students will take part in science and math classes, tour the University of New England, and meet with a guidance counselor about the American college application process.
Each morning, the students will have about four hours of classes before they head out into the community to take in local arts and culture.
On Tuesday morning, July 16, Kennebunk High School science teacher Glenn Black got the students started on a lesson, with some help from KHS students Jace Valls (senior), Colby Harrison (senior), Kimberly Keithley (senior), and Caroline Smith (sophomore). Keithley is originally from China.
Also lending a hand is Sandy Cheng, a native of Beijing, who has been staying with a Kennebunk family for four months now, and plans to stay a couple more. When she heard about the visiting students, it just seemed natural to offer to help out.
She created a lesson for the Chinese students’ first morning session, but the flight delay has caused that lesson to be shelved for now.
“We will definitely find a way to fit it in this week,” Cressey said.
Black teaches a course called International Baccalaureate biology, which emphasizes looking at subject matter from a global perspective, so his involvement was also a natural fit.
Emma Liu, the director of Tangshan’s international department, is chaperoning the kids this week. She watched attentively as her students took in Black’s lecture, looking interested and engaged, albeit a bit sleepy.
The group plans to kayaking as part of an L.L. Bean outdoor classroom, visit Portland harbor, and have a farewell reception on July 20 at the Nonantum. They return to China early the next morning.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard First Responders Honored, Commended for Work Battling USS Miami Fire

New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Kelly Ayotte (R) at ceremony honoring first responders at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (courtesy photo)
New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) were in Portsmouth Monday, July 16, to honor the emergency first responders responsible for containing the fire aboard the USS Miami this past May. Shaheen and Ayotte presented a Senate Resolution recognizing the responders, which they introduced along with U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Scott Brown (R-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). The June 7 resolution commends the service of all those who responded to the fire, minimized damage to the submarine and ensured there was no loss of life.
Shaheen and Ayotte presented the Senate resolution they and other New England senators sponsored to commend the first responders at a ceremony at Prescott Park in Portsmouth.
Last week, the Navy convened a special panel to investigate the May 23 fire that damaged the USS Miami while it was in dry dock for an overhaul at the shipyard in Kittery, Maine. The investigation was ordered by U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia. Early estimates put the fire damage at $400 million. It damaged the torpedo room, crew quarters, and command and control areas.
“Your swift response and commitment to containing the fire helped minimize damage to the submarine and more importantly, ensured that no one lost a life that day,” Senator Shaheen said. “The men and women who work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard have an incredible track record of working together and getting the job done. To everyone who worked together to respond to May’s fire: thank you for your professionalism, your quick response, and your continued commitment to serving and protecting our country. The courage and cooperation we saw in May stands as inspiration for all of us.”
Maine U.S. Senator Susan Collins said “When the alarm rings, as it did on May 23rd at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, we see just how brave our first responders are.  They never hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way.  They risk their lives to save others.” Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee added in a prepared statement “I am hopeful the USS Miami can be repaired in Kittery because the shipyard workers are the best at what they do.  The sooner this submarine returns to the fleet, the sooner it will be available to complete missions essential to our national security throughout the world.”

Monday, July 16, 2012

USM Student Uncovers Centuries-Old Spanish Coin

Whitney Parrish, a University of Southern Maine student from Portland, discovered a Spanish coin dating to the 1600s or 1700s at the Old Berwick Historical Society’s archaeology dig in South Berwick. 

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine – It was small and thin.  Caked with dirt and found a few feet down, it looked like a stone and could easily have been discarded.
But, out on her first day digging at the possible site of a 17th century tavern, Whitney Parrish wiped off the dirt and saw a silver gleam and intricate markings.  She had found a Spanish coin, known as a real, or “piece of eight.”
“A piece of eight basically means the silver was worth a lot so they would divide it into eight pieces,” Parrish said. “We found a pretty good section where the Spanish cross is still visible and a few numbers of the date. It’s not definitive at this point. It’s pretty worn.” The coin has indistinct markings but reveals the digits 6 and 8 and a cross characteristic of Spanish coins of the 1600s and early 1700s.
Parrish, who is working on a degree in the classics and anthropology (with a minor in archaeology) at the University of Southern Maine, commutes from Portland to take part in the Old Berwick Historical Society’s archaeology project directed by Dr. Neill De Paoli.
Parrish said the group was looking for the tavern and what they think was a garrison used to shelter civilians during attacks.
“Where I was digging when I found it seemed to be a walking area, so someone could have dropped it while walking,” she said. “We also found pieces of pots, pipe stems, pipe bowls, drinking vessels, shoe buckles. Essentially we’re looking for walls, some kind of structure. We haven’t found anything definitive at this point, but we are finding some interesting things.”
De Paoli explained that in the 1600s and early 1700s, a shortage of currency led to Spanish coins making their way into the English colonies after being minted in South America and traded in the Caribbean. He has seen only a few in his thirty-five years of experience as a historical archaeologist in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
“This find is an example of how an artifact helps tell the story of a region’s economy and people’s livelihood hundreds of years ago,” said De Paoli, adding that historic information, not monetary value, is the goal of the archaeology project.
“On the nearby Salmon Falls River, at a place called Pipe Stave Landing, local materials for making barrels shipped through Portsmouth to the Caribbean, and products like rum came back.  Someone involved with that trade, directly or indirectly, must have come here to Old Fields, the oldest part of what is now South Berwick.”
De Paoli is adding the coin to other evidence that the site was the dwelling and tavern of Humphrey and Mary Spencer from about 1696 until 1727.  A later house, home today to South Berwick residents Paula and Harvey Bennett, stands a few feet from where archaeologists are digging on their property.
“Perhaps,” De Paoli speculated, “the coin was lost by someone enjoying a tankard of ale at the Spencer tavern.”
In addition to the coin, the dig so far has turned up foundation stones as well as fragments of clay pipes and stoneware dishes and flasks, and other artifacts supporting the theory that the site was a tavern three centuries ago.  At that time, South Berwick was not yet a separate town. Today’s Berwick, South Berwick and North Berwick were collectively called Berwick, and are now nearing the tricentennial of their separation from Kittery in 1713.
Parrish is one of sixteen enrollees and four field assistants working in a three-week field school De Paoli organized to explore Old Fields, an area that at that time was a small hamlet of several homes, a tavern, meetinghouse, burial ground, wharves, and expansive hay fields.
Historical documents suggest this locale contained a fortified garrison during the conflict-ridden 1690s and early 1700s. In 1690 and 1691, Wabanaki war parties in separate incidents attacked the Spencer garrison and two men working in a nearby field.
DePaoli is an adjunct professor at Southern Maine Community College and has devoted most of his career to the study of English settlement and Anglo-Indian and English-French relations in early northern New England.
The current field school ends on July 13, but volunteers are needed to process artifacts at the Counting House Museum during the coming months. No experience is necessary, and information is available by contacting the historical society at or 207-384-0000.
The Old Berwick Historical Society owns the Counting House Museum, which exhibits artifacts from another 17th century homestead, that of Humphrey and Lucy Chadbourne.  The museum is open on weekend afternoons from 1:00-4:00 pm through the end of October, and year round by appointment.
Though she was the one to find the coin, Parrish seemed shy about the media spotlight, and was quick to credit her classmates and Dr. DePaoli for their work. “It’s really exciting to have found this coin, but we’re all finding a lot of good stuff here.”

YCCC to get $257,000 for precision machining program

WELLS - Legislation sponsored by Rep. Devin Beliveau, D-Kittery, to establish a jointly-operated Precision Tool program between York County Community College (YCCC) and Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) received start up funding from the Appropriations Committee on May 16. The bill was then passed unanimously in the House and Senate.
The legislation provides $257,000 in start-up costs for the new precision machine tool program in 2012-2013 and also provides for ongoing funding to the community college system going forward. In addition, there is $1 million earmarked in the education bond to pay for infrastructure improvement and equipment needed to start the program.
“This education bond will enable YCCC to purchase the machinery needed for a cutting edge precision machine tool program,” said Beliveau.  “This is a wise investment that will create great new jobs in York County. I am both thrilled and grateful that the Appropriations Committee and the Maine Legislature voted to pass LD 627 and fund this fantastic job creating opportunity.”
The three of the largest employers in York County are Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Pratt & Whitney and General Dynamics. All three heavily depend on the technical skills of Precision Machinists and no postsecondary program currently exists in York County for this type of training. The new program will produce Precision Machinists who have the technical skills that are needed for these well-paying jobs that start at $18-$20 an hour.
This program will provide residents of York County with the opportunity to earn an associate degree in their backyard and be qualified for high skill high wage jobs. Pratt & Whitney contributed an initial $100,000 to The Foundation for Maine’s Community Colleges designated specifically for the program.
“York County Community College is absolutely delighted with the support of the York County legislative delegation for the bill initiated by Rep. Devin Beliveau to support a Precision Tool program in York County,” said Charles Lyons, president of YCCC. “This industry, throughout York County, provides an endless stream of great jobs for entrants over the next several years. Without the support of the legislature and Governor LePage we would have had a very difficult time supporting the needs of these new workers.”
Both LD 627 and the education bond are awaiting the governor’s signature. The education bond would then need to be approved by the voters.

23rd Annual Decorator Show House Opens in York

By Larry Favringer
YORK – The largest fund-raiser of the season for the Old York Historical Society kicks off this weekend with the opening of the 23rd Annual Decorator Show House.
This year’s showplace is Harmon House at 19 Harmon Park Road in York Harbor.
The show house will be open to the public beginning tomorrow (Saturday, July 14) through August 11.
The house will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays until 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. It will be closed Tuesdays,
Tickets are $20 and are available at the door.
Tickets to the house include free admission to the 5th Annual Old York Antiques Show July 21-22. Free admission to the Museum’s exhibit upstairs in the Parsons Center Gallery, 3 Lindsay Road from July 30 to the close of our season, and a discounted admission of $5 to visit all of the museums’ buildings.
Designer from throughout New England apply to take part in the house and if selected are given areas of the home and/or gardens to redo within certain guidelines.
New Hampshire designers taking part this year include Helen Hanan Interior Design of Newmarket, Meredith Bohn Interiors of Hollis, Jay Goldsmith Photography of Portsmouth, Ethan Allen Design Center of Portsmouth, and Bartlett Design Associates of Dover
Maine participants include Anne Cowenhoven of York, Museums of Old York, Georgie’s Home and Garden of York, Charles C. Hugo Landscape Design of South Berwick, York Art Association, The Daisy Trading Company and Daisy Jane’s of York.
Massachusetts firms include Mary O’Neill Interior Design of North Andover, Gerald Pomeroy Design of Boston, and Finn-Martens Designs of Beverly.
Items used in redecorating will be available for sale and a boutique will be open in the garage on the property.
The chairwoman for this year’s show house is Beverly Young.
Old York has also scheduled a lecture series during the next month.
It starts with a luncheon at Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School July 18 with chef Beth Kozemchak. The session is scheduled from 11:10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 19 there will be a cocktail party at York Harbor Inn from 6 to 8:30 p.m. with Don Cresswelll and Behind the Scenes at the Antiques Road Show.
A July 25 luncheon will be held at the Stage Neck Inn and includes a fashion show by Daisy Jane’s. The session is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There is an August 1 Luncheon at Dockside Restaurant with Mary Ann Esposito, cookbook author and creator/host of Ciao Italia, the nationally televised PBS series. That too is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There will be an evening cocktail cruise August 2 on board the gundalow Piscataqua. In partnership with Discover Portsmouth and the Gundalow Company, the cruise will include a tour of the “Under the Shoals” exhibit followed by a river cruise with historian/author Dennis Robinson. Exhibit tour meets at 4:15 p.m. at Discover Portsmouth. Cruise leaves Gundalow dock at Prescott Park at 5:30 p.m.

Aug. 8 there will be a luncheon at York Harbor Reading Room with a designer panel discussion with Sue Bartlett, Gerald Pomeroy, Michael Engelhard and Linda Zukav. It will be held from 11:30 1:30 p.m.
There will be evening cocktail party August 9 at Stage Neck Inn with designer Val Jorgensen discussing “Antiques and Today’s Design Aesthetic.” The party will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Life in Milltown Maine Explored

Book Review by Theresa Gillis


Monica Wood is a Maine author and my former high school guidance counselor.  While she probably doesn’t remember me as a student, I have been an avid reader of her fiction.  Her latest book, “When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine” is a step back into. Wood’s childhood and a revealing look at life in a Maine milltown. 
For those of us who spent time growing up in “milltowns,” the descriptions of smoke-filled skies and towering smoke stacks is familiar.  Mexico, Maine, like many of the milltowns in Maine, was made up of families, often with deep ties to each other, to the mill and to a local church.  And like other paper mills, the Oxford Paper Company provided security then uncertainty as times changed. 
Within the backdrop of her hometown, Wood shares her deeply personal memories of both her father and mother. These memories include her brother, her sisters and a treasured uncle and a slew of relatives from Prince Edward Island. Wood recounts time in her Catholic school and the trip her family takes to Washington DC just after the assassination of President Kennedy.
As a reader, I was drawn into this memoir because it felt like a familiar story - the story of a Catholic family growing up in milltown Maine.  This could have been my story - with many exceptions of course.  My parents still live in their milltown of Westbrook, but neither worked at the mill; my siblings and I have moved away from the mill while remaining in Maine; and I don’t have an uncle who is a priest.  You don’t need to have a family like Monica Wood’s to enjoy this deeply engaging memoir, however.  For those of us from Maine, there is the flavor that may not be present in all memoirs (including the frequent mention of Moxie).  But Moxie and gumption are with the Woods family throughout “When We Were the Kennedys.”  You will be rooting for Monica and her family as you enjoy her touching memoir.

Monica Wood will be at Kennebooks, 149 Port Road in Kennebunk, on Thursday, July 12, at 7 p.m. reading from “When We Were the Kennedys,” and signing this new book.

Kennebunk Native Writes from Japanese School

I am a native of Kennebunk.  I have been living and teaching English at a private junior and senior high school in Sendai, Japan, for the past fifteen years.  Sendai was near the epicenter of last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.  As you can imagine, our school and homes were severely damaged by the quake.
It has been more than fifteen months since the disaster and although the emotional scars of students and staff alike run deep, there has been a return to normalcy.  Aftershocks are constant reminders, even fifteen months later.  But overall things are back to a new kind of normal.
On a much lighter note, as part of my recent English classroom lessons, I have been making cultural comparisons of the summer vacation routines of American and Japanese students.  My students really enjoy cultural comparisons in general, and we often use The Weekly Sentinel as a classroom tool.  My dad still bundles them up for me and sends them overseas four or five times a year. It has provided my students enjoyment and learning over the years, and has been a wonderful way for me to share my love of Maine with my students.
Together with my students, we have written a letter.  It talks about the Japanese school summer vacation system and the education system of Japan in general.  I hope your audience will find it both entertaining and informative.

From Richard Meres

LETTER from Richard Meres and his Japanese students

As most children around the state are settling into their summer vacation routines of sleeping in, cooling off by the pool or at the mall, and watching those summer reruns, I thought it would be interesting to point out how their counterparts half a world away in Japan are spending their summer holiday.
First of all, the Japanese academic calendar is quite different than America’s.  The school year begins in April rather than late August or early September, and it ends in March rather than June.  So essentially Japan has a year round system where students join their new classes in April and move on to the next class or graduate the following March. So summer vacation is more like a midterm break and respite from the summer’s heat, than a time to clean out the lockers and say goodbye to classmates.
The length of the summer break is the most obvious difference.  Since students in Japan attend school about 240 days per year, compared with the 180 days in the United States, it goes to reason that vacation time will be shorter.  In fact, students in Japan are still in their classrooms counting down the days to the start of their holiday.  Most summer vacations begin at the end of July and continue for less than a month.
For the sake of reference here are some details from the actual school calendar of my junior high school.
Monday, July 23: Last full day of lessons
Tuesday, July 24: School cleaning day (Yes, students in Japan routinely clean their own schools, toilets included!)
Wednesday, July 25 to Friday, July 27: Morning lessons only
Saturday, July 28 to Tuesday, August 21: Summer vacation!
So, how do the students in Japan spend their precious days off?  Mostly by doing their homework.  Since summer vacation is technically an interruption of the academic semester, students get an extra load of homework during this time to assure they keep up with their studies.  Schools remain open during the break to allow students to get their work done, and it is not uncommon to see a school bustling with students over the break.
When the students aren’t working on their history reports and math assignments, most of them are putting in extra time with their school club activities.  In Japan, students traditionally join a club when entering junior or senior high school and stick with this club until their graduation.  Most of these clubs, particularly the sports clubs practice six days a week, including weekends, and practice year round.  So, the summer break offers a chance for more lengthy and rigorous training.
Although Japan’s abbreviated summer vacation, and the education system as a whole may seem a bit overwhelming from an outside perspective, you will rarely hear a complaint from students, parents and educators.  Schools in Japan tend to be highly organized, safe, and fun places for students to hang out with friends.  There is never a shortage of school pride.  The education system in Japan seems to produce students with an overall sense of social awareness and community responsibility that plays a tremendous role in shaping the fabric of Japanese society as a whole.  And this strength of character was clearly evident in the country’s response to last year’s earthquake and tsunami disaster.
On a final note, it is worth pointing out that students in our area of Japan, an area directly impacted by last year’s earthquake, will be looking forward to getting back to their usual summer vacation routine, as short as it may seem.  At this time last year our school, like many of the schools in this area, was closed for repairs and grieving the loss of students and staff.  A brief holiday of homework, club activity and quality time with friends is a welcome return to normalcy.

Science Team to Begin Seafloor Mapping

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A collaboration of state scientists from several state agencies, universities, and non-profits will head fifteen miles out to sea next week to map the ocean floor off the coast of Maine and to observe sea life in the region.
Sailing on the Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV) Bold – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s only ocean and coastal monitoring vessel – the sixteen scientists and observers hope to map as much as an 800-square-mile area off Maine’s coast at a depth of up to 300 feet.
The five-day research expedition includes scientists from the Maine Department of Conservation (MDOC), the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), and the University of Maine (UM).
It is expected to result in significant scientific information that should aide in managing multiple uses of the ocean, such as shipping, fishing, aquaculture, and energy development, as well as aid in making informed decisions on marine matters and off-shore development.
“This innovative scientific research hopefully will provide more answers than questions concerning the interaction between our land-based natural resources and the ocean floor,” said Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb.
“The Bold’s survey work in Maine will provide the Department of Marine Resources with updated data on benthic habitat in parts of the Gulf of Maine with modern mapping technology that provides much greater accuracy than previous mapping efforts, including important lobster fishing grounds and areas proposed sites for wind turbines,” said marine resources commissioner Patrick Keliher. “The DMR is mounting a multi-beam sonar system that will complement R/V Bold’s existing mapping capability and enable the DMR to obtain information in offshore areas that are difficult to reach in our smaller vessel. 
“We appreciate the efforts Sens. Snowe and Collins made to ensure this critical mapping will be conducted this summer,” the commissioner said.
“Maine’s ports are already 700 miles closer to Europe and the Middle East than are Southern U.S. ports,” Bill Beardsley, the conservation commissioner, said. “The expanded Panama Canal in 2014 will reduce the super-container ship distances from Maine ports to China by forty percent. The multiple use of our ocean resources off the Maine coast are evolving and are critical to Maine’s future global economy. We simply need to better understand our offshore submerged lands.”
Matt Nixon, Maine Coastal Program senior planner at MDOC and one of three principal investigators on the expedition, said no such collaborative research has ever before been attempted by the State of Maine.
“We want to get more accurate information about the ’lay of the land’ of the ocean, much like a surveyor does on land,” Nixon said. “A better picture of what the seafloor looks like provides us with information about marine habitats and species.”
The OSV Bold is the EPA’s 224-foot-long research vessel equipped with state-of-the-art sampling, mapping, and analysis equipment. It was docked at the International Marine Terminal in Portland before it shipped out on Tuesday, July 3. It is scheduled to return on Monday, July 9.
The vessel was able to come to Maine for the research trip through the efforts of Maine’s two senators, U.S.Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, who were able to have the Maine research added to the ship’s summer schedule. “We are very grateful to Sens. Snowe and Collins, who made this important endeavor possible,” Nixon said.
The scientific party will be led by EPA Chief Scientist Matt Liebman. The two other principal investigators are Stephen Dickson, Maine Geological Survey marine geologist at MDOC, and Carl Wilson, DMR senior lobster scientist. Other scientists and observers are from the Biodiversity Research Institute, the University of Southern Maine and the University of New Hampshire.
The scientists will be divided into three teams; eight members conducting the benthic (seafloor) mapping; two scientists making avifauna (bird and wildlife) observations; and five scientists and observers making observations of large marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins.
The primary reason for the research effort, said Nixon, is because the state lacks sufficient data on the ocean floor. In 2009, the state did a needs assessment of its coastal marine data, and “the most important, and by far the largest gap is in this kind of high resolution seafloor mapping,” he said.
“All we have now are depth estimations, 19th-century lead-line soundings, and sporadic, high resolution maps focused on very specific, small locations, typically inshore,” the MDOC coastal planner said. “It will be good to have an idea of true depth out there with sound-generated pictures of what the bottom looks like.”
The scientists will issue a final report within two months after the trip, including a summary of information collected, plus maps and observations. Much of the data will be available on line as part of a coastal atlas.
“It will be exciting to get out on a research cruise like this,” Nixon said. “It will allow us to integrate our knowledge and skills with that of other professionals, enabling us to draw a more comprehensive picture of our marine environment.   
For more information about the OSV Bold, go to: For more information about the Maine Department of Conservation, go to:
For more information about the Maine Department of Marine Resources, go to:

Kittery Fire, Police & Estates Compete in Barbecue Throw Down to Benefit Food Pantry

The first annual Kittery Barbecue Throw Down will be on Saturday, July 14, at 3 p.m. at Kittery Estates, 220 State Road in Kittery.
The barbecue battle will be a friendly competition between the Kittery Fire Department, Kittery Police Benevolent Association and Kittery Estates. Teams from the three groups will be competing for bragging rights and a trophy while proceeds will benefit Footprints Food Pantry in Kittery.
The public is invited to attend and support their favorite team. Each team will submit their best barbecue ribs using secret rubs and recipes while a team of judges will select the winner.  The barbecuing competition will begin at 3 p.m. Kittery Estates will offer a drive-through barbecue plate for the public for $5 per person with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Footprints. Judging will take place at 5 p.m. The event will be held rain or shine. Kittery Estates will also be accepting non-perishable food donations for Footprints. 
Already the competing teams are posturing.  Patrolman Brian Cummer of the Kittery Police Benevolent Association is confident his team will win. “We are looking forward to smoking the Fire Department in this competition,” Cummer says. “This competition is a friendly rivalry against our friends in the Fire Department and Kittery Estates while benefiting our community’s food pantry, Footprints.”
Barbara Fernald, executive director of Footprints is thrilled to be the beneficiary. “This time of year our Food Pantry is running low and proceeds from this event will allow us to replenish to help many people in need. We are grateful for the opportunity to be aligned with this fun event,” says Fernald.
Please contact Kittery Estates at 207-438-9111 with any questions.