Friday, September 28, 2012

“Shark Girl” Visits Berwick Academy

Jillian Morris filming a tiger shark in the Bahamas (Photo by Duncan Brake)
Jillian Morris is a marine biologist, videographer, shark lover, and ocean advocate. Originally from Maine, she now resides in the Bahamas and loves talk to kids about sharks. Recently Jillian spoke with students at Berwick Academy and shared the plight of the declining global shark populations and to encouraged kids to get involved to help the sharks.  She talked about her love for sharks and highlighted the many benefits of a healthy shark population to the world’s oceans. “Often kids think that they cannot do anything because they are too young,” Morris says.  “I want kids to know that they can do so many things to help our sharks and our oceans. They have voices that are powerful and as good junior scientists they can ask questions.”  Morse enjoys the time she spends in classrooms as much as the time she spends in the water with sharks.  She feels it is important to give the next generation the tools they need to help protect our oceans and she firmly believes that each child can make a difference.
When Morse is not busy speaking to schools she travels the world with her husband filming for various media outlets including BBC, Animal Planet, Discovery and National Geographic. They recently filmed the fifth season of Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” aboard the Sea Shepherd vessel Brigitte Bardot.  Morse says, “It was a wild ride and an experience I will never forget. Antarctic waters are raw, wild, and gorgeous. There is no place on the planet like it. I feel very fortunate to travel and experience these adventures. I also feel fortunate for the opportunity to speak to kids all over the world about sharks and our oceans.  Fins up Berwick Academy for loving sharks!”

Wells High School Senior Becomes National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

Zoë Onion, semi-finalist in National Merit Scholarship Program (courtesy photo)

Wells High School senior Zoë Onion has learned that she is a semifinalist in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.  She achieved semifinalist status by scoring highly on the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test or PSAT/NMSQT.
Annually, 1.5 million high school juniors and seniors throughout the United States take this standardized test.  Based upon test results, 16,000 are selected to become Semifinalists.
Semifinalists have the opportunity to compete over the coming months to be among the 15,000 finalists selected in the spring to qualify for over 8,300 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $34 million. 
“About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title,” according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
“First, it’s great to have this opportunity available for students and second it is great to be recognized for all the work I have put in through the years,” said Onion about becoming a semifinalist.
At Wells High School, Onion is on the Math Team, school newspaper, and Student Council.  In addition, she participates in the jazz, marching (this year she is a drum major) and concert bands and plays piano for the school chorus. She also plays on the softball team at school in the spring. Currently, she is in the cast rehearsing for the upcoming fall play at WHS, “And Then There Were None.”
Onion says that she has not decided on a college to attend after high school but says that she would like to study molecular biology and do research.  In the summer of 2012, Onion inspected incoming boats in Mount Vernon for invasive species such as milfoil and hydra.
“We’ve been very lucky to have several students qualify each year in the National Merit Scholarship Program,” said WHS secretary Lil Lagasse.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation of Evanston, Illinois. It is a non-profit corporation established in 1955.  Scholarship money awarded by the NMSC comes largely from corporate and college sponsorship. 

Story and photo by Reg Bennett

Hilton Winn Farm Offers Fall Fun Day

Kids decorate pumpkins at last year’s Fall Fun Farm Day (courtesy photo)

The Youth Enrichment Center at Hilton-Winn Farm will be hopping again this year on Saturday October 6. The whole family can enjoy a beautiful day on the farm with games, nature hikes, arts and crafts activities, scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, and more. The farm is located at 189 Ogunquit Road in Cape Neddick.
The Youth Enrichment Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to positive youth development, nature-based education, and stewardship of the unique agricultural landscape of New England. It s based at Hilton-Winn Farm, a King’s Grant farm dating back to the 1600s.
Over its 400+-year history, the Hilton-Winn Farm has been a witness to the changing cultural and environmental landscape of southern New England. Its early inhabitants were likely participants in the colonial French and Indian Wars, and since then the property has supported a range of economic activity that reflects Maine history. It has been used variously to cultivate many different kinds of vegetables, fruit orchards, raspberries, and blueberries, to run a logging sawmill and a blacksmithing operation, and to raise chickens and dairy cows, among other activities. Today, it provides the perfect setting for the Youth Enrichment Center.
The land that comprises the Hilton-Winn farm has a rich history, starting with the first known inhabitants: the Algonquian-speaking Armouchiquois tribe of Native Americans who were based in what is today Saco, Maine, according to its website.
The farm’s site first came under English colonial influence in 1620 through a land patent from King James 1 to the Plymouth Council for New England. It appears that English settler Edward Winn acquired a royal land grant of the property in or about 1640, and by 1710 his grandson Josiah Winn had settled 10 acres of land there. The property—which grew to over 200 acres—was farmed by eight generations of Winns, and then Clifford Hilton (Ada Winn’s son) purchased the farm in the 1940s.
In the 1990s, as the rural qualities of southern Maine life were being threatened by rampant development, Ethel Hilton, the 9th generation of the HiltonWinn family, was dedicated to preserving the woodlands, wetlands, and agricultural character of this historic property for future generations to enjoy. In 1998 she donated 185 acres of the property to the York Land Trust, which now forms the HiltonWinn King’s Grant Conservation Area.
In 2002 Youth Enrichment Center executive director Nancy Breen purchased the remaining central forty-eight acres of rolling fields and forests with one goal in mind: to establish a safe, peaceful, and fun environment for children to connect with the land, learn about the science and art of farming, and be transformed along the way.
The Fall Fun Farm Day is one of many offerings that looks to achieve this mission.
Admission for the Fall Fun Farm Day is $5 for adults and $3 for kids; the day starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Answering the Call: Young Maine Native Living in Tel Aviv

Jamie Dandreta in Israel (courtesy photo)

By Rhyan Romaine
Staff Columnist

This week, Jews around the world observe Yamim Noraim, (translated from Hebrew as, “ימים נוראים‎ or, “Days of Awe”), the ten High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. For one former Wells resident, this is remembered as an isolating time.
Jamie Dandreta, 22, now a citizen of Israel and student at Tel Aviv University, would rarely have friends or close family to celebrate with during her childhood growing up on the Seacoast in and around Wells, Maine. While Jamie always felt she had a special heritage, she felt disconnected from her heritage while growing up in an area where she didn’t know many other Jewish people. 
Dandreta first had the opportunity to explore her faith and culture in 2010 as a participant in the Taglit-Birthright Israel program, a nonprofit organization providing a free trip to Israel for young Jewish people. Her two-week tour helped her embrace her Jewish identity through peer education and cultural immersion.
“As soon as the plane landed in Jerusalem and I read Hebrew on all the signs, I had an immediate sense of inclusion,” a sense that Dandreta notes was lacking in her southern Maine youth.  While touring various locations in Jerusalem, it wasn’t rare for strangers to approach Jamie on the streets of Jerusalem and just say, “Welcome home.” It was at that moment Jamie felt she was answering a call, and she wasn’t alone.
In August, 2012, Dandreta officially made Aliya, a word that, when translated, means the return of Jews in exile back to Israel. This term is also used when establishing formal citizenship in Israel. This citizenship marks the end of a two-year process that also included studying abroad as the first University of Maine-Orono student in more than a decade to request to study in the Middle East. On a personal level, this accomplishment means so much more.  She was no longer a tourist or study-abroad student, she is a citizen of the world’s only Jewish state.
Dandreta has permanently relocated from the Southern Maine area to Tel Aviv to continue her studies, get married (she recently became engaged) and pursue a career in communications.
“When I’m in Israel, I feel like I’m home, in a community, a big beautiful family,” says Dandreta. While completing her degree in Digital Communications, Dandreta feels it is her obligation to communicate back to the US about the real Israel. “Before I came here, I thought it was just a desert.”
Most of all, Dandreta wants to underscore how her experience does not reflect the restive environment so often depicted in mass media coverage of the Middle East. Even as terrorist attacks continue to rock different areas of the Middle East, she says Israel is very safe.

Cross-Country Bike Trip a Testament to Energy Conservation

Stephen Kosacz on the shore of Lake Superior, Marquette, Wisconsin (courtesy photo)

The idea to bicycle across the United States started in May 2011 at Ceres Bakery in Portsmouth when Peter Billipp of Eliot ran into Stephen Kosacz of Cape Neddick.
Billipp, a commercial real estate broker at Kane Company, and Kosacz, owner of Autoworks in Kittery and vice chairman of the Seacoast Energy Initiative, have known each other, off and on, for thirty years. But a coast-to-coast trip, covering more than 3,600 miles, was something they had never imagined before.
While both may be considered senior citizens (Kosacz is 63 and Billipp is 59), they had been keeping in shape all their lives. Billipp is an avid hiker, bicyclist, and Nordic skier of the White Mountains while Kosacz races Lasers, an Olympic class single handed dinghy, cycles, works out at the gym, and cross country ski raced with Peter decades ago.
“For me, the toughest part was the mental aspect” said Kosacz. “Preparation, online research of what to leave behind, wondering if we could climb all those snow covered peaks in the Cascades right at the beginning of the trip, and then a few days later get over the Continental Divide in the Rockies at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park produced a fair amount of anxiety.”
The epic journey is a great example of what Kosacz espouses though his work with the Seacoast Energy Initiative, and is a living testament to energy conservation.
SEI works with residents in Kittery, Eliot, York, South Berwick, North Berwick and Ogunquit to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
“We worked with Efficiency Maine to reduce energy consumption of residential homes through a revolving loan program they set up,” Kosacz said. “If people pay down the loans to weatherize their homes, those funds became available to other homeowners.”
The group set up a half million dollar revolving loan fund. Homeowners could borrow up to $10,000 with zero percent interest if they paid the loan off in three years, and if loan went to improvements. The idea for SEI came to him during another journey.
“I was inspired while on a trip to New Zealand in winter of 2009,” he said. “I was amazed by what other countries were doing to reduce energy consumption.”
The bike trip with Billipp called upon all of their energy reserves, as they traveled through five mountain passes as high as 5,600 feet in the first week. Fifty-seven days later, they pedaled back to Maine.
“I like to do physically demanding trips,” Kosacz said. “I’m not a cruise type of person”
The trip began on July 5 when the two flew to Seattle, took a bus up to Anacortes in the San Juan Islands, and the following morning started pedaling home.
They had shipped their bicycles ahead of time and picked them up from the bike shop on the morning of July 6, loaded them with their panniers filled with spare tires, tubes, camping and sleeping gear, clothing, food, and headed out to the Cascades. They biked all but two days, on which they rested, they were welcomed by friends and family on August 31 as they road into the Atlantic Ocean at York Harbor Beach.
“Once we had the mountains behind us, we gained confidence,” they said.
“For me the most spectacular part was Logan Pass on the Road to the Sun where the highway had been cleared of a rock and mud slide the night before.  As we wound our way up we could see clouds, backlit by the sun, cascading over the ridges.  At the summit I hiked in the snowfields to see mountain goats with the kids,” Kosacz said. “Until you witness it firsthand it is hard to comprehend how much moves by rail in this country: freight trains are carrying containers filled with goods from the Far East, coal from Montana, grain from the Midwest.”
It seemed to take forever to cross eastern Montana and North Dakota where every day was basically a grind as they rode through hundreds of miles of corn, wheat, soybean, or hay fields in the scorching record heat.  With temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s, the water bottles were quickly emptied but the evaporation that comes from riding at 15 – 20 miles per hour cooled them off.
“We were relieved to get to Minnesota where it was green again from the thousands of ponds and lakes,” they said. “ After crossing Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Duluth is a great city to visit with all of its activity of grain, coal, and iron ore being transferred to boats to cross the Great Lakes), we entered Ontario Canada at Sault Ste Marie re-entering the US at Niagara Falls.”
Returning to New England brought familiar sights and welcome relief from the heat and western mountains.
“Aside from the last 100 feet of our journey, the happiest day for me was descending the Adirondacks into Ticonderoga NY, seeing the Green Mountains of Vermont, crossing the lower end of Lake Champlain on a cable barge, and making our lunch on the village green of Orwell, Vermont.  After the mountains of the West we knew could go over anything.”
In addition to many memorable scenic vistas, they saw some less attractive sights as well.
“It’s sad to see some towns pretty empty. Imagine a town the size of South Berwick but less prosperous. On Indian land, we spoke with people who said gambling had sucked the lifeblood out this town,” Kosacz said.
“The most dangerous part of the trip was riding on the Trans-Canada highway across Ontario – a two-lane highway with no paved shoulders.  We cringed every time a tractor trailer or giant RV passed us in the rain wondering if this was ‘it,’” said Kosacz, who talked with Canadians about their health care system, marveled at the wind turbine blades being transported from factories in South Dakota heading to Montana, Oregon, and Canada, and was impressed by an electrician they met in a public campground in Shelby Montana. “He was wiring the wind turbine generators but was terrified of heights. He said  ‘I’m 300 feet up inside the tower, I don’t dare look down, I just focus completely on what’s directly in front of me.’”
What’s directly in front of Kosacz and Billipp now? Miles of memories, lots of time to rest and recover, and plans for the next trip.

Farming Documentary to Premier at Marshwood High School

A couple of cows greet their newest arrival (Photo by Peter E. Randall)

“Farming 101,” a new documentary film by Peter Randall about Kittery and Eliot dairy farming, will have its premier on Friday, September 28, at Marshwood High School auditorium. The event is co-sponsored by SeacoastLocal, an organization that encourages residents to “think local first” to cultivate socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities in southeastern Maine and coastal New Hampshire. The film will be shown at 7 p.m.
When Randall moved from seacoast New Hampshire to Goodwin Road in Eliot, his well-seasoned photographic eye was immediately attracted to the beautiful fields, many of which were regularly used by local farmers. Goodwin Road, along with Wilson Road in Kittery, is an eight-mile stretch of winding Route 101 between Route One and Route 236. Here are located two dairy farms, the last of the dozens of such farms that once made agriculture a common business in York County.
Recently retired after forty years and 450 titles as a book publisher, Randall also has authored a dozen books of his own, combining a love of history and photography into prize-winning publications. Always ready for new challenges, Randall made a decision to make a video documentary about the dairy farms.
“Although I had no experience with making a film, I charged ahead anyway,” Randall said. “Not many years ago, dairy farms were commonplace and most people knew how the farms operated. But now, in this area anyway, farms are disappearing along with knowledge of this way of life. I wanted to help preserve this culture.”
Now three years later, Randall has finished his film telling the story of the two dairy farms, but also a working hay production farm, three former farms, a dairy, a tractor dealership, a tractor collector, and a cider mill.
Randall used a new type of Canon digital SLR camera that was made for still photography, but had a video capability that exceeded the quality of consumer video cameras. In fact, this type of camera has been used to make production television and Hollywood films. With relatively inexpensive digital equipment and software, it is now possible for anyone to make a quality film.
When it came time to turn his raw film footage into an organized narrative, Randall turned to his grandson, Kael.
“Editing video to me is like another language,” said Randall, who also got help from his daughter, Deidre, who wrote a song for the film. “Deidre and Kael actually lived on one of these farms a number of years ago. They rented a house from Fred Schultze.”
Randall has published a lot of book on local history, including one a few years ago on North Berwick. Also, he has written a history of Hampton, New Hampshire, a short history and guide to Mount Washington, and three books of photographs of New Hampshire.
“I was not a farmer growing up,” Randall said. “I can hardly grow anything. I had a neighbor who grew radishes. I asked why and he said, “they come right up.’”
In his formative years, Randall lived in Hampton Falls, where he spent a lot of time roaming around fields and woods. “I’ve always had a feel for the land, always had sort of a conservationist outlook on things,” said Randall, who was chairman of the Hampton Conservation Commission for ten years.
“I saw, in particular the seacoast of New Hampshire, farms going out of business for one reason or another and saw houses moving onto their fields. When I moved to Eliot in 2000, I was amazed to see most of the open fields still being used - haying, growing crops,” he said. He had been using panoramic cameras, and started taking pictures for Goodwin farm and Leavitt farm on Goodwin Road in Eliot.
“Farming is sort of a – I hate to say it – dying way of life,” Randall said. It’s been in decline over the last forty or fifty years. Now the farms are gone. People don’t know about farming anymore, as a common way of life, the way it used to be.”
He hopes his documentary will re-instill in locals some of that lifestyle, and let people know how farms operated and where their milk came from.
“The original plan was just to do video interviews of farming families. Once I got started I was told I needed to have more video. I needed to have B-Roll. So if I have a farmer talking, the tractor in the field becomes the B-roll,” he said.
Editing is perhaps the most complicated aspect of any film. Randall’s grandson edited what began as a short documentary into an 80-minute film. Making this a family affair, Kael’s mother, singer-songwriter Deidre Randall, composed a song called “Dig,” especially for the film. Local performers Mike Rogers and Dave Surette provided other music.           
“While my first approach to filming was simply to document what happened on the farms, “ Randall said, “People who knew what I was doing asked, ‘What’s the point of the film?’ As I talked with the farmers and looked at the landscape, I began to wonder what the future holds for the businesses and the property.  When the Kittery Land Trust recently announced plans to purchase a conservation easement on the Johnson Farm on Wilson Road, I knew my film then had a point!”
Kenneth and Richard Johnson own Rustlewood farm, but Ken stopped working there several years ago, leaving the operation of the farm to brother Richard. In order for Kenneth to receive his value in the farm and for Richard to keep working, the brothers accepted the Kittery Land Trust proposal. Richard and his wife Beth will now own the farm outright, and the conservation easement means the land can never be developed, preserving it’s valuable soils as open space, watershed protection, and wildlife habitat. While the farming continues, the property will be open to the public for passive recreation and hunting.
The film also features the dairy farm of Fred and Tony Schultze, and the haying operation and former dairy farm of David and Jeanne Leavitt, in addition to the former dairy farms of the Pettigrew, Pearson, and Kashmere families, and the former Rowan dairy. Numerous historical photographs illustrate the film, that also includes the Pearsall family’s tractor dealership, tractor collector John Sullivan, and Ken Tuttle’s King Tut’s Cider Mill. Other details are found on the website
Admission to the film is by a suggested donation of $2 for adults, students are free. DVDs of the film will be available for purchase.
A related film is also showing on Saturday, September 29, at the John F. Hill Grange Hall, 1333 State Road, in Eliot. You can view Randall's short documentary, “Rustlewood,” featuring Johnson Farm in Kittery/Eliot, and segments of Maine Farmland Trust’s film, “Meet Your Farmer.” Bondgarden Farm's Paul Goransson will introduce the film and Great Works’ challenge to raise $25,000 in support of Kittery Land Trust's conservation easement for Johnson Farm. For more information on this event, contact 207-646-3604 or

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ogunquit Playhouse’s Brad Kenney to Direct Holiday Special at Carnegie Hall

Brad Kenney, executive artistic director at Ogunquit Playhouse, is going to Carnegie Hall (courtesy photo)

By Timothy Gillis

Brad Kenney, the executive artistic director at Ogunquit Playhouse, has been tapped to work on a new holiday special at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Kenney will be working with multiple Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress Jane Seymour and PBS composer Tim Janis for the musical journey called “The Christmas Rose” on Thursday, November 29. A cast of 400 performers will fill the stage for an evening of music, dance, and drama. Kenney has met with producers of the show and will begin work in earnest in early November.
“It’s kind of a different genre,” Kenney said. “A mix of symphony, large choir, folkloric dancing, with a Broadway musical story.”
“The Christmas Rose” is a whimsical, family tale that follows a young orphan named Annabelle into the desert, pursued by a team of bandits. She crosses paths with everything from the three wise men and singing angels to Mary and Joseph.
“It has a spiritual, holiday feel to it,” Kenney said. “It will be very inspirational, fun, upbeat. We’re shooting for it to be an annual holiday event there.”
The show will employ Broadway-caliber talent, he said, and is very funny. “A team of bandits, led by a character named Adbul, are comic and farcical in their attempts to capture this young girl,” Kenney said. “The backstory is really about a lot of us, a universal message. She’s finding her way in the next part of her life.”
Kenney came to be involved in the mega-production when he was approached by Janis, a noted composer from York, and his producing partners. Kenney’s reputation as Ogunquit Playhouse’s artistic director is known in theater circles around the country, and they recruited him to be at the helm of this new venture in a theatrical fashion.
“We hope it’s the new Nutcracker,” Janis said.
Jane Seymour is the star of the show, set in a story-telling environment. Seymour’s husband, James Keach, who produced “Walk the Line,” will work with Kenney on the production. Kenney thinks Seymour is the perfect choice for her role.
“There’s a beautiful aura of elegance about her, for telling a story like this, on the grand scale of Carnegie Hall,” he said.
Janis and Elizabeth Demmer wrote the music and lyrics for the musical spectacular, and Janis wrote the script. The show will play for one evening only. The following evening, Janis will return for the American Christmas Carol, an annual treat at the venerable venue.
Janis has ten Billboard charting CDs, more than one million albums sold, and four national public television specials. He’s worked with some of the top artists in the music and entertainment business including Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, George Clooney and James Earl Jones. He has also conducted the Czech National Symphony, the Kwazulu Natal Philharmonic and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.
“A lot of what Tim does is inspirational,” said Kenney, who has only been to Carnegie Hall once, as a patron to see a classical music concert. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s an incredibly prestigious place.”
Kenney plans to work with some familiar faces from the Ogunquit Playhouse, who will be collaborating on the project.
Kenney is in his seventh season at the Ogunquit Playhouse, and he is already looking to next year.
“Although we are working on the current production (“Buddy, the Buddy Holly Story”), we’re already working furiously on the 8th (season),” he said. “The seacoast has been a great partner with the playhouse.”
Even with people interested in their digital devices, live theater continues to grow, he said. Kenney credits “the support network, from the community, the board, and the talented actors and actresses that are drawn here. The seacoast is an incredibly cultured and intelligent community, and when you put out a strong piece, they react to it. That’s not always the case in other parts of the country.” Kenney says he repeatedly hears from actors and actresses that “the audiences are smart; they really react to the material.”
The final production of the season, “Buddy,” has some surprises in store. “The actors not only sing and dance and act,” Kenney said. “They also play the instruments.” The theater was fortunate to work with the original creators of the show from London’s West End, he said, and there will be “new songs in the show that haven’t been heard before.”
After “Buddy,” Kenney will focus on “The Christmas Rose,” which will also feature the country’s premier concert boys choir The American Boychoir, and internationally renowned and Ireland’s own Damhsa Dance Company.
The evening’s proceeds will go to benefit The Open Hearts Foundation, which encourages people to live with an open heart in the face of adversity. Tickets go on sale September 28, at the Carnegie Hall box office. Call 212-247-7800 or visit Tickets are discounted thirty percent the first four days they go on sale, from September 28 at 11 am until October 1 at 11:59 pm.

Olympian Speaks to Freshmen at Wells High School Orientation

Olympian Julia Clukey (left) speaking to a group of freshmen at WHS.   On stage with Clukey are WHS seniors Bryanna Welch and Sean Roche

Story and photo by Reg Bennett

Flying down a winding, ice-coated track on a small sled at speeds exceeding eighty miles an hour takes courage, practice and great skill.  But that is what Julia Clukey does when in competition on the U.S. National Luge Team.  To get to where she is today involved goals and the motivation to achieve them through persistence, determination and lots of hard work. 
On September 4, Clukey, a 2003 graduate of Cony High School in Augusta, was the motivational speaker for freshmen orientation at Wells High School.  She was introduced to the audience by team leader for the freshman team and math teacher Andy Bridge.
Following a short film about her sports career thus far, Clukey talked about being on the Junior Olympic Team and how, at just 17, she became a member of the Senior Olympic Team, a spot that is normally for those 20 and older. 
“This was a huge moment for me,” said Clukey to the students.  “I had reached my goal, I made the senior team.”  She indicated that this experience showed her “how important it was to work hard and how hard work was the one thing you are always going to own yourself.”
She told the audience in the WHS auditorium that her role models are her parents and that “school” came first over sports in her family.  She told the group that she has studied electrical engineering and was employed in the summer of 2012 in a marketing department creating graphic design.
Clukey has been a motivational speaker appearing at Maine high schools for the past two years. She estimates she has spoken to 10,000 students in that time period.
“Anytime I get to meet new kids it’s great,” said Clukey. “I’m always amazed by no matter where I go, there’s great kids everywhere and they all have goals of their own and I love talking to them.”
Clukey competed in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and is training to compete in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 
At Wells High School, Clukey also participated with senior class officers in panel discussions on freshman life. Between panel discussions she met students and signed posters.

York Family to Compete on Family Feud

(left to right) Megan, Alyssa, host Steve Harvey, Sandy, Meg, and Jeff, on the set of Family Feud. The Lathrop family competed on the television game show, which airs Tuesday, September 18, on the Fox channel (courtesy photo)

The Lathrop Family from York will face off against the Carlyle Family from Stillmore, Georgia, in front of a live studio audience in Atlanta with the chance to win up to $100,000 and a brand new car, along with some serious bragging rights. The show airs Tuesday, September 18 at 4 p.m. on the Fox channel. Family Feud host Steve Harvey and his no-holds-barred brand of comedy are back for an all-new season of one of America's favorite family competitions.
The Lathrop Family – which includes Meg, a stay-at-home mom; cousin Jeff, a firefighter; cousin Sandy, a librarian; cousin Alyssa, a teacher; and cousin Meg, a teacher – will be playing for big prize money plus a brand new car when they appear on the show. Since Harvey took over as host of the show, viewership has increased nearly 50 percent overall, and it's no wonder. Harvey brings down the house five days a week as he puts contestants on the spot and mines laughter from the crowd with every remark, gesture and eye roll he makes.
“I saw a story in my local newspaper about an open casting call for ‘Family Feud’ happening at Foxwoods Casino, so I immediately asked my crazy family to try out with me,” said Sandy.  “If we win we want to donate a portion of the winnings to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation in honor of my aunt and Meg’s mother.”
One of the original Kings of Comedy, Harvey brings his ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ brand of humor to center stage where he keeps audiences in stitches for the show's 14th season in national syndication. Families travel from all over the country to compete for big cash prizes on the set of Family Feud, and enjoy a great bonding experience while they’re at it. When the show is over, fans can connect for breaking news on Twitter (@FamilyFeud), find outtakes and behind the scenes footage on YouTube ( ) and even face off against friends and family on Facebook.
One of the most beloved and successful game shows in history, Family Feud is produced by FremantleMedia North America and distributed by Debmar Mercury. Gaby Johnston is executive producer; Jim Roush is executive in charge of production; Ken Fuchs is director.
To secure their spot on the show, the Lathrop Family called the Family Feud hotline to begin the process. Other contestant hopefuls can also call the show’s hotline at 323-762-8467 for an interview.

Friday, September 7, 2012

“I Will” Movement Comes to Maine

Nationally, 33 million joined movement last year

The Maine Commission for Community Service invited area citizens this week to join the 9/11 tribute movement called “I Will” to commemorate this relatively new National Day of Service and Remembrance.  Organized nationally by My Good Deed, a foundation started by family members of 9/11 victims and first responders, “I Will” calls on each citizen to pay tribute to those remembered on 9/11 by performing a good deed, a personal act of service, an act of “neighboring.”
Maryalice Crofton, executive director of MCCS, said the tribute movement was a way to honor those who died on 9/11 and also to begin to look at the day in a positive light, somehow.
“Families spent ten years to get 9/11 as a day of service and remembrance,” Crofton said. “In 2009, it finally happened as part of the Serve America Act passed by Congress.” The act reauthorized the American service programs, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, and affirmed all the national days of service including the new one, she said.
This is the second year in a row that Maine has participated in the national campaign.
“People design or pick out their own way of remembering,” Crofton said. “Some of the things people did last year: there were a couple of classrooms who wrote letters to active military stationed overseas, some people collected food for a food bank, some helped out neighbors who didn’t have family close by. It’s a wide range of things to do. It’s called neighboring. And it gives an opportunity to let folks highlight what they do.”
“Neighboring is the informal volunteering we do to help out in the community,” said Pam Zeutenhorst, the Commission’s coordinator for volunteer sector initiatives. “It is the food we bring to a sick neighbor, the community drive to refurnish a family whose house burned, and the citizen who keeps an eye on seasonal camps for their owners during the winter.”
The MCCS has registered Maine's “I Will” tribute as a single, statewide project with the national movement. Each citizen wishing to participate decides what personal act of service will be the tribute to 9/11 victims and first responders and then registers the pledge of service at by September 11.
Zeutenhorst noted that neighboring complements formal volunteering. Both connect residents to each other, make communities stronger, and foster mutual respect and responsibility. In rural, under-resourced communities throughout Maine, neighboring and formal volunteering flourish side-by-side, tackling serious local needs.
Schools, clubs, town councils, faith communities, and fraternal organizations can organize a “pledge drive” among their members. Posters and pledge cards with instructions on how to participate are available from the Commission. Group leaders can obtain these at no cost by emailing or calling 207-624-7792 during business hours.
All Maine pledges of service recorded at will be bundled and reported to the national organizers by September 15. Last year, through the efforts of the “I Will” campaign, thirty-three million people observed 9/11 by engaging in charitable activities that ranged from simple good deeds to organized volunteer work. The results far exceeded the national organizers’ hopes for ten million people undertaking volunteer activity. For more information and pledge registration details, visit

Native American Speaker Looks to Refocus Perspectives

Dana Benner, the Native American speaker, is the Kittery Historical and Naval Society’s next feature (courtesy photo)

The Native Americans who once called the Kittery area home will be the topic of the next program at the Kittery Historical and Naval Society. Dana Benner, a well-known expert in Native American studies, will present a fascinating look at the people who were here long before we were, their lifestyle, social structures, and their relationship to the ocean.  In addition to a power point presentation, Benner will offer several static displays of Native American interest. He hopes to shift the typical focus on Native American studies, away from war, disease, and death, to a better personal understanding of the way these Native people lived on a day-to-day basis.
“The battles and conflicts between Native peoples and the Colonials could fill libraries, but people know very little about those that called that area home,” said Benner. “I try to talk about - not the conflicts - but the Native people themselves, how they lived their social lives, how they survived the winters.”
Benner, a Manchester, New Hampshire, resident is Native, himself. He’s part Penobscot, Piqwacket, and Micmac. When he speaks to groups of people, he tries to make his talks more natural than the traditional library lecture.
“I hate going to lectures, I hate lecturers, and I hate lecturing,” he said. “But I’ve been doing this for twenty five years.” Benner teaches a history of New England course at Granite State College, in Concord, New Hampshire, and an adult ed course called “Native Peoples of New England” in Concord, Exeter, and Nashua. Benner received his BA in US History and Native Culture from Granite State College, and is in the last course for his Masters of  Education in the Heritage Studies program at Plymouth State.
“I often start by asking how many people in the audience are Native American. Then I ask ‘how long have your families been in the New England area?’ Some say ‘500 years.’ Well, ten to one they’re part Native, especially if they’re French Canadian: that’s almost a ‘gimme.’ It gets people talking,” he said. “It’s the people in the audience that will govern how this lecture goes. I could speak for hours on something they don’t want to hear, but if someone asks a question, that leads to a discussion of what’s in their interests.”
The essence of the hour-long lecture is new perspective. “My main thing is to educate people about the Native people as a people, not as a date in a history book where a battle took place.”
Benner will speak at the Lions’ Club building on State Road on Tuesday, September 11, at 7 pm. The Kittery Historical and Naval Society meets quarterly, March, June, September, and December. There is no admission fee and the public is always invited and encouraged to attend. For further information, contact the Kittery Historical and Naval Society at 207-439-3080.

Soccer Player from Wells Scores 1st Collegiate Goal

Abbigail White, from Wells, who scored her first collegiate goal, a penalty kick for Nichols College (photo courtesy of

Abbigail White, of Wells, slammed home a penalty kick to score her first goal for Nichols College. The tally wasn’t enough, however, as Nichols fell to Emmanuel in overtime, 3-2.
Emmanuel senior Megan Zerba (Cumberland, R.I.) deposited a feed from sophomore Amanda Roberts (Hudson, N.H.) just 1:51 into overtime to lift the Saints past host Nichols, 3-2, on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in a non-conference women’s soccer match. With the win, Emmanuel improves to 2-1-0 while the Bison move to 0-1-1 on the season.
Nichols struck first as junior captain Julie Monroe (Whitman, Mass.) sent a free kick into the back of the net from 30 yards out 56 seconds into the match for her first collegiate tally.
First-year player White extended the Bison lead with the penalty kick that found the bottom right of the goal in the 13th minute. Less than a minute later, Emmanuel converted on a corner kick as junior Lindsey Garvey (Warwick, R.I.) knocked in a header that was put into play by senior Lauren Foley (North Andover, Mass.). The Saints led 18-5 in shots and 4-0 in corners for the frame.
In the 61st minute sophomore Alyssa Tosti (Douglas, Mass.) drilled the ball into the post and collected her own rebound only to have Emmanuel’s rookie goalkeeper Jenna Marcello (Hopedale, Mass.) made an outstanding save.  Emmanuel then netted the equalizer as Garvey sent a long feed to junior Darcey Sullivan (Dalton, Mass.) at 62:29. The second half saw a closer shot margin with the visitors holding an 11-7 advantage as both squads took a trio of corner kicks.
Marcello (1-0-0) picked up the win for her scoreless relief effort that included a pair of saves. Senior Jessica D’Ottavio (Pawling, N.Y.) surrendered both markers in the opening half and made two stops.
Rookie Bison backstop Melissa Toomey (Saugus, Mass.) collected a game-high 11 saves in the defeat.
Both squads returned to the pitch on Thursday, September 6. Nichols hosted the United States Coast Guard Academy at 4 p.m. while Emmanuel ventures to Fitchburg State for a 7 p.m. match.