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.”