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'North Woods Law' comes to the wildlife park

Visitors to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray on Saturday lined up to meet the game wardens who have appeared on "North Woods Law," the Animal Planet reality TV series that documents the activities of wardens in Maine.9-30-14-wardens-2
Warden Mike Joy showed off the Maine Warden Service's dive trailer as part of the open house. Corporal John MacDonald chated with youngsters, including Spencer Jourdain, 6, who was accompanied at the wildlife park by Haley Labbe of Sanford. Jourdain was among many young people receiving autographs.
Animal Planet is currently filming a fourth season of "North Woods Law" in Maine, the wildlife park reported in announcing the open house. For fans of the series, Episode 1 airs at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 on Animal Planet (http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/north-woods-law/tv-schedule.htm).

According to the warden service website, the series premiere was on March 16, 2012. In past years, the open house at the wildlife park has drawn upwards of 1,000 people.9-30-14-wardens-main

The warden service reports, "The Maine Warden Service was established in 1880, and still today, nearly 130 years later, through education, community involvement, professional law enforcement, and search and rescue practices Maine Game Wardens are committed to protecting and preserving Maine's quality of life and outdoor activities."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 01:06

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Cumberland Fair features variety of sights, sounds

During the Robert Morrill Memorial Pull Tuesday at the Cumberland Fair, Gary Jordan waited with his team of Jake and Bruno, a power duo of oxen weighing 2,700 pounds and 2,800 pounds. They achieved a pull of 277 feet, 4 inches, according to results broadcast in the arena. 9-26-14-Cumb-fair-1

Gary's son, Patrick, had his own team to take into the arena, where they were tasked with pulling weights under a timed test of strength.

On a smaller scale, little Saylor Maloney, 2, of Cushing enjoyed a carnival ride with her family watching.

Such were the scenes and sounds of the fair, which runs through this weekend.9-26-14-Cumb-fair-2

A grinning gourd greeted fairgoers at the entrance. Harness racers tried their luck on the track.

Garrett Thoms, 2, of Pleasant River Farm in Windham carried a blue ribbon at the beef cattle pens, after it was given to him at the announcing area by a relative.

The Blue Pig in Gorham served up pulled pork at its booth, one of many booths strung throughout the grounds.9-26-14-Cumb-fair-4

This is the Cumberland Fair's closing weekend and features the Rawhide Rodeo once again this year — with daily exhibitions to include two full Professional Rodeo events, Professional Bull Riding and a Children's rodeo daily. The fair will also feature fireworks for the first time ever on Saturday evening, put on by Central Maine Pyrotechnics. Estimated starting time for the show is 8 p.m.9-26-14-Cumb-fair-5

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 01:51

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Open jam at Frog and Turtle serves up the blues

On any given Wednesday night, walk into the Frog and Turtle in Westbrook and get treated to some of the best blues music around. Already renowned in the greater Portland area as one of the best bistros, F&T also serves up some of the most talented musicians, jamming with their own bands and sitting in with each other in what has become a fixture on the blues scene.9-30-14-TG-frog-1

On a recent night, the venue attracted a West Coast singer/songwriter just in town for a few days to meet up with a friend from nearly 50 years ago.

Michael Vincent was in Maine to reacquaint with childhood friend, Madeleine Bernstein-Segal, after they had reconnected through Facebook. On a whim and through his friend, Vincent contacted James Tranchemontagne, owner of F&T, about playing at his restaurant. Vincent is a California-based musician now, and a pastor who works with the homeless in and around La Honda. During his set, he dedicated his song "Looking for You" to Bernstein-Segal.9-30-14-TG-frog-2

"It was 1958 when he and his brother Mark moved in next door to my family," she said. "I met them right after coming home from seeing 'The Shaggy Dog' with my mother, and was carrying a shaggy dog mask which I received at the movies. These guys were waiting for me on my front porch."

They lost touch over the years, and only met again online when a relative posted a Throwback Thursday picture. After Vincent's set, a couple members of the Downeast Soul Coalition took the stage. Scott Morrison was singing and playing bass, and Nelson Nadeau was scorching his six-string Stratocaster. Erik Lawson joined them on drums.

Ron Gill, better known as Poke Chop, was hosting the open jam.

Dave Engel, who plays bass, was in the audience, waiting his turn to play. Engel has developed a wooden fishing lure, "from the 1940s but using modern science." He's made 300 different lures, all by hand. He loves the scene at F&T, where you can join the jam or kick back and enjoy others.

Next up on stage, "Lazy" Mike Schools, who sings and plays guitar, Bruce Millard on sax, and Mark Peterson on harmonica joined up with an older couple who referred to themselves as T and A. (I didn't ask.)

Bruce Herrick was in the crowd. He's an experienced photographer of famous rock and roll bands, but was taking in the night's scene with his eyes only.

Tranchemontagne said it was a business decision to move the open jams from acoustic to blues, as there hasn't been a successful blues jam in the Greater Portland area since Raoul's Roadside Attraction.

"I first came to the acoustic open jam with an electric guitar," Nadeau said. "Then came back with my acoustic, and it had changed."

Nadeau joined the High Ryder Golden Oldies Band in 1997 and still plays with them. A couple of years ago, HRGO started slowing down, and Nadeau started going to open mics in Gray. You can often find many of these musicians at the Tailgate in Gray on Sundays 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Several just played there as part of the venue's seven-year anniversary, where Steve Bailey, the host, is celebrating five years of jams. If attendance was unusually sparse that day, several jammers were at the Maine Blues Society 25th anniversary bash at Tucker's Pub in Norway.

Nadeau met Morrison and other members of the subsequent Downeast Soul Coalition at the Tailgate, and the band took shape. There were eleven members at first, but they whittled it down to five — two guitarists, a keyboardist, a bass player and a drummer.

They play one Friday a month at F&T, alternating nights with Black Cat Road, Pete Witham and the Cosmik Zombies, and The Tone Kings with Phil Divinsky.

Morrison, who played at the Big Easy when it was rockin' and The Venue (the old Raoul's), has settled into playing at the Frog and Turtle.

"I love it. The environment's great. It's small, but they're good people here," he said. "They come for the good music and good food. The thing with James is — if you're a working musician, you're welcome here. It's a true partnership, and a great vibe. You're playing in a place you're appreciated, not only by the patrons but also the staff."

For updates, visit http://www.thefrogandturtle.com.


Bistro owner injured

On Tuesday, Sept. 23, James Tranchemontagne, owner of the Frog and Turtle bistro in Westbrook, posted on Facebook: “Just taken a moment to say thank you for all the kind words of concern and wishes to get better. For those of you who don’t know, I broke my femur and compressed fractured some discs in my back. Sasha and Chef Todd have the restaurant under control I hope to be back soon cooking! I’m sure you’ll see me from time to time in the dining room. I’ve always said our guests are our best asset and I truly appreciate your love and support during this time. The fun and energy will remain in my absence so please continue to support our little pub. Thank you so much, Chef James.” A fall from a tree during landscaping work was the cause of the injuries, according to press reports.
To wish Tranchemontagne well, visit https://www.facebook.com/thefrogandturtle.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 01:07

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Dead Poets Society prepares for its special day

Honoring the famous and the lesser known, the Dead Poets Remembrance Day 2014 celebration in Maine will take place this year in Portland's Western Cemetery on Friday, Oct. 10, at 5 p.m.9-30-14-TG-dead-poets-front

"We are so glad to have three of Maine's finest poets on hand to help us celebrate our amazing literary history," said Walter Skold, the head of the Dead Poets Society of America.

"Annie Finch, Steve Luttrell and Megan Grumbling are going to be presenting the work of Maine poets Edna St. Vincent Millay, Pat Murphy and Anne Hazelwood-Brady," respectively.

Skold, a poet and filmmaker from Freeport, has visited the graves of more than 400 dead poets across the country since he started his quest six years ago — "it's very informal but growing network of people," he said.

In 2009, he took a three-month tour by himself. Luttrell and some other poets helped kick off a bigger entourage in 2010 with a reading at the Eastern Cemetery, with Luttrell, Grumbling, and former Maine State Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl. That reading launched a six-week tour through 22 states, with Skold visiting and reading poems at 90 graves in 152 days. He has been joined in his endeavors by 13 state poets' laureate.

Everywhere he goes, he connects with local poets and discovers some amazing things about that particular state's poetic past.

When readying for a reading of Hazelwood-Brady, Skold and Grumbling found out that the poet, who died in 2012, was an active feminist, co-founding the New York Women's Center in 1970 and fighting the early battles of the ERA movement. She founded Maine Women in the Arts and was poetry editor of Maine Life from 1979 to 1985.

"We have an amazing resource here," Skold said of the Maine Women's' Writers Collection at the University of New England in Portland. "They have the best archives in the state of women writers from Maine. I had never heard of her. Turns out she has published a number of books of poetry, and was an early, active feminist. This happens in every state I go to: We dig up some interesting information of that state's poets."

Skold makes his verse journey in The Poe Mobile, a white Sprinter van.

"In getting ready for a trip in 2009, I was inspired by John Steinbeck ('Travels with Charlie') and Ken Kesey (best known in relation to the Merry Prankster bus known as Furthur from 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test' by Tom Wolfe). I did some online research and came across the Sprinter and turned it into Dedgar (which is short for Dead Edgar)."

Now, the Poe Mobile has driven 100,000 miles through 38 states.

"I had been advised by a former U.S. poet laureate (Daniel Hoffman, who summered in Cape Rosier, Maine, for 50 years) to use Poe as a mascot," Skold said, because Poe's grave is one of the most visited in the world. Hoffman died last winter, a day before his 90th birthday. "It's fitting that our largest event this year is in Philadelphia, honoring Hoffman, on Sunday, Oct. 5. He was the only U.S. poet laureate to push for annual Dead Poets Remembrance Day. He liked the idea of having a national holiday to remember dead poets. It's sad that he died, but fitting that our first big event in Pennsylvania will honor him."

On Monday, Oct. 6, Skold will hold an event at Poe's grave in Baltimore, Md.

For the Portland reading, organizers chose Western Cemetery because three Maine authors and poets are buried there: Samuel Longfellow, John Neal and the Rev. Elijah Kellogg.

"Each year, besides celebrating our leading poetic voices, we try to bring back the voices of poets either forgotten or less well-known," said Skold. "Both Anne Hazelwood-Brady and John Neal, though more than a century apart, are connected as activists for feminism in their day."

A historical context will be offered to the event by Maine Historical Society research librarian William Barry, "who will be presenting on the remarkable and unusual life of John Neal," Skold said.

David H. Hackett III will share some humorous stories and poetry from the life of the Rev. Elijah Kellogg, whose books for young boys were known across the USA. Kellogg was also a sort of unofficial class poet during his years at Bowdoin College.

The event is free and all are welcome to celebrate Maine's literary heritage at the graves of three "forgotten" poets. The event will take place rain or shine.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 01:07

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DiMillo's Ride brings bikers to Lincoln, N.H. for a good cause

The 14th annual DiMillo's Ride rolls through southwestern Maine on Sunday, Sept. 28, heading out from the Commercial Street floating restaurant's parking lot at 8 a.m.9-26-14-TG-ride-1

Participants are collecting $30 per bike for the Maine Children's Cancer Program. Steve DiMillo started the ride with some local friends who live on boats in the marina.

"We'd been on other rides for other benefits," he said. "We have (another) annual fundraiser with the restaurant, along with the Rotary Club. The Maine Children's Cancer Program is the recipient of all our funds. We picked that because it's a good program. A good percent of the money goes to help out kids in need."

DiMillo has been riding a motorcycle since he was 12, when his father, Tony, bought him his first minibike. Members of the DiMillo family work and play together. Steve's brother, John, will be also be making the trek to Lincoln, N.H., this year.9-26-14-TG-ride-2

"He doesn't get to make the ride every time," DiMillo said. "He just got back into it. With his kids and family, he had taken a hiatus."

The weather was supposed to cooperate — in the mid 70s and sunny, according to forecasts.

"If we have beautiful weather, we have more bikes and get more money," said DiMillo.

Besides the donation to ride, the group will sell raffle tickets for gift certificates to DiMillo's and Bruno's, the restaurant and bar owned by sister, Vicki and Bob Napolitano.

The ride leaves Portland and heads out on outer Congress Street, following Routes 22 to 114 to 25 to 113 into Fryeburg. They'll take the Kancamagus Highway to a scenic rest area to stretch and take pictures before heading down the mountain to Lincoln, N.H.

"The nice folks at Gordi's Fish & Steak House are expecting a lot of us," said DiMillo in the ride's announcement. "Gordi's is on the left at 'The Depot' as we roll into Lincoln. (Look for the steam locomotive.) This will be our 12th year in a row that we've eaten at Gordi's."

Around 2 p.m., they'll leave Lincoln.

"Some years we go north on 93 and back to North Conway. Sometimes we go south to Weir's Beach," DiMillo said. "Either way, we get to have a little fun, and the Maine Children's Cancer Program benefits."

Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 01:40

Hits: 458


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