Friday, January 6, 2012

Secretary of State Charlie Summers Announces “Conversations With The Communities”

In an effort to address the safety concerns surrounding young drivers, Secretary of State Charlie Summers announces “Conversations With the Communities”—a public discussion regarding ways to improve the safety of Maine’s young drivers. “Too many tragedies occur on Maine roadways involving young drivers every year. This past year alone, there were around 50 fatal crashes where a young driver—someone between the ages of 16 and 24—was involved. That’s almost one crash a week,” Summers said. “It is my responsibility as the Secretary of State to look at ways to improve the safety of young drivers and all of us traveling Maine’s roadways. I want to ensure that when a young person gets behind the wheel, they have been provided with the best tools available and the experience they need to be a safe, responsible driver. And I feel the best way to begin this process is to engage parents, students, educators and other concerned members of the community in an effort to make Maine’s young drivers the best in America.”
Secretary Summers has established a Technical Review Panel (TRP) as required by Maine law, M.R.S.A. Title 29-A, that will conduct a comprehensive review of young driver requirements, such as laws, rules, and the driver education curriculum in Maine. The Panel is made up of representatives from the Secretary of State’s Office, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Education, the Insurance Industry, the Motor Carrier industry, and the driver’s education community. Summers has also asked Sarah Beth Campisi, a sophomore from Thorton Academy who recently completed driver’s education, to be a member of the TRP as well. Summers said, “Although I wasn’t required to have a student on the Technical Review Panel, I feel Sarah Beth will offer a unique perspective that will benefit the Panel as we discuss areas for improvement. She has recent, first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be hitting our roadways as a new driver.”
“Conversations With the Communities” will be held on the following dates at the local Bureau of Motor Vehicle Offices: Thursday, January 5 in Lewiston at 6 p.m.; Monday, January 9 in Kennebunk at 6 p.m.; Thursday, January 12 in Portland at 6 p.m.; Tuesday, January 17 in Bangor at 6 p.m.; Wednesday, January 18 in Caribou at 6 p.m.; and Thursday, January 19 in Calais at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend. For a complete schedule of “Conversations With the Community,” including addresses to the motor vehicle locations or for information and instructions on joining the discussion via Webinar, please visit the Secretary of State’s website at

CPS Announces Annual “Clinical Site of The Year” and “Best Practice” Award

The 2011 Clinical Site of the Year award and the Best Practice award for the Northeast Region were presented to Goodall Hospital in Sanford, Maine by Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS). The awards were presented to the Director of Pharmacy, Fred Anselmo. In order to receive the Clinical Site of the Year award, Goodall needed an Operations Audit score of at least 85 percent, outstanding financial performance by meeting or exceeding budget, superior scores on The Joint Commission Survey as well as clinical success and maintaining good relationships with hospital administration. For the Best Practice award, the hospital had to score at least a 95% on the annual operations audit, which includes regulatory, quality, clinical and operational categories.
Marcus Baker, Regional Vice President for CPS shares that the pharmacy team at Goodall Hospital makes a difference every day in their provision of care to the patients and staff of Goodall Hospital. “There is a strength in numbers in this top notch staff who support the patient centered care expected by hospital leadership and Comprehensive Pharmacy Services. They exemplify the CPS vision statement, “Advancing pharmacy practice, one patient at a time.”
Isabel Schmedemann, Chief Operating and Nursing Officer for Goodall hospital adds, “We couldn’t be happier with the performance of our pharmacy department. They excel everyday and are always at the forefront of patient care.”
CPS is the nation’s largest pharmacy services provider, partnering with greater than 300 hospitals and health care facilities in 46 states (including D.C., Puerto Rico and the USVI) and employing over 1,600 pharmacy professionals. For more information, visit
Photo caption: Goodall Hospital’s pharmacy staff pose with their Clinical Site of the Year & Best Practice award presented to them by Comprehensive Pharmacy Services. (Courtesy Photo)

Well, I’ll Be...: A Review of “Damned”

By Chip Schrader
Staff Book Reviewer
Chuck Palahniuk’s latest novel, “Damned,” combines themes of several of his previous works: the grotesque depiction of American celebrity he mastered in “Tell All,” the taboo of basic human drives from within “Choke,” and the supernatural elements that made his masterpiece “Lullaby” such a page turner. Having several of his books adapted to film, including his breakthrough novel “Fight Club,” Palahniuk is a staple on must-read lists worldwide. A note on local facts, he has stopped in Portsmouth during two of his recent book tours.
The titular “Damned” refers to the main character, Madison, the thirteen-year-old daughter of “Brangelina”-esque celebrities who is said to have died from an accidental overdose. Beyond dying early, Madison has somehow fallen from ‘grace’ and been sentenced to spend eternity in the “lake of fire.”
From the opening chapter, this concept treads upon the hokey side because of its lack of proper imagery of Hades and its depiction of a teenage rivalry between two condemned souls. As the story progress, Madison meets a group of friends that prompts a reference the “Breakfast Club.” There is the jock, the geek, the prom queen, the punk and Madison herself, the undesirable girl or recluse—she compares herself to the Ally Sheedy-played recluse of the famous John Hughes film.
Further on in the story, we learn that the reasons the characters have ended up in hell range from an offside penalty to stealing bread for a hungry family. Much like Dante, Palahniuk masterfully inserts dozens of other reasons for condemnation: saying the ultimate swear word more than 700 times in a lifetime, practicing Buddhism at any point and honking a horn too many times—which condemns cab drivers on the spot.
Humorous anecdotes like the aforementioned make an otherwise slim early narrative both fun and engaging.
Further into the book Madison endeavors to take over Hell. Her nerdy friend knows the origin and taxonomy of each demon, and the readers are treated to history lessons in world religion, as demons are merely gods of dead religion. Through this trek through the underworld, they travel through a river of clipped fingernails and various other unbecoming collections of human waste in order for Madison to reach her goal.
“Damned” slowly evolves into an adventure-story that makes up for a slow beginning. A story dependent upon character set-up, layered themes flesh out the narrative as Madison’s story unfolds. The scenarios are hilarious and outlandish—though sometimes become so explicit that readers may envision the adult-oriented cartoons of R. Crumb. Especially during at least one scenario that remains too graphic to depict in this publication.
As readers laugh their way through this book, much of the satire and jabbing seems both indulgent and unnecessary. As the book winds down to its last pages, though, Palahniuk proves his skill as a master satirist as he crosses every “T,” dots every “i,” and proves each pun intentional.
“Damned” is a fun and unique romp from a modern disciple. Kurt Vonnegut’s latest—though a tad more adult-oriented than some may think—is ultimately a solid read. (Courtesy image)