Week of December 15, 2016

Week of December 15, 2016

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10th annual veterans dinner held at South China Legion hall

On November 9, the South China, Boynton-Webber American Legion Post #179 and Auxiliary hosted the 10th annual veterans dinner, sponsored by Fieldstone Quick Stop, Erskine Academy students and the Maine Veterans Home, at Togus.  Neil Farrington, commander of the South China post, was instrumental in getting the most veterans that have ever attended the event. Over 130 local veterans, and many that were bused from the veterans home, were guests at the annual dinner. […]

Other News

Give Us Your Best Shot! Week of December 21, 2016

LAST WESTERN TRIP: During their last run out west in their camper, Pat Clark and husband, of Palermo, snapped these spectacular photographs. From top to bottom, a glacier, Mesa Verde, and Monument Valley.

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Youth basketball action

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Winslow rec youth basketball team member Braden Rodrigue, right, and Fairfield PAL team member MJ Gensen battle for the ball in a recent game.

Photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff

Youth basketball players in spirit

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Members of the Winslow Rev grades 1-2 girls basketball team got into the holiday spirit at a recent photo shoot. From left to right, Emma Fales, Tenley Nadeau, Julia Ortins and Kera Bilodeau.

Photo by Missy Brown, Central Maine Photography staff

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Canada lynx surviving in Maine

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Recently, two Canada lynx were found dead in northern Maine, spawning an investigation into why, and who, killed the predatory cat.

The Canada lynx, Lynx canadensis, was listed as threatened on March 24, 2004, by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Canada lynx are medium-sized cats, generally 30-35 inches long and weighing 18-23 pounds. They have large feet adapted to walking on snow, long legs, tufts on the ears, and black-tipped tails. They are highly adapted for hunting snowshoe hare, the primary prey, in the snows of the boreal forest.

A Canada lynx in the wild.

A Canada lynx in the wild.

Lynx in the contiguous United States are at the southern margins of a widely-distributed range across Canada and Alaska. The center of the North American range is in north-central Canada. Lynx are found in coniferous forests that have cold, snowy winters and provide a prey base of snowshoe hare. Lynx, primarily found in northern Maine, prey almost exclusively on snowshoe hare, so the fate of both species are linked.

Lynx can only flourish in a large boreal forest that contains appropriate forest types, snow depths and high snowshoe hare densities. In the Northeast, lynx were most likely to be in areas that support deep snow (106 inches annually), associated with regenerating boreal forest landscapes.

Lynx are highly mobile and have a propensity to travel long distances, particularly when prey becomes scarce.

Some believe both lynx and coyotes would compete for the same food, but during a recent 12-year study, it was found that is not the case. Lynx roam the deep snow without problems, while coyotes travel more in packs along trails and road systems, and are more likely to attack larger prey, such as deer.

a snowshoe hare

A snowshoe hare, the favorite prey of the lynx, with its winter coat.

The historic and current range of the lynx in the contiguous United States is within the southern extensions of the for­ests of the Northeast, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains and Cas­cade Mount­ains.

The lynx is listed in 14 states that support the environment needed to sustain the animal. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are three of them.

The environment in Maine is perfect to support Canada lynx populations. Harsh winters, deep snow, dense evergreen forests and sub-zero temperatures are exactly what the lynx likes. But, due to extensive hunting for its pelts in the 1960s, the cat nearly disappeared from Maine. Only a new law enacted in 1967, has protected it from hunting and trapping.

According to Jennifer Vashon, in charge of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife lynx program, it is believed the lynx population in Maine is at a historic high. More than 1,000 adult lynx are believed to be inhabiting the Maine forests. Even though it doesn’t sound like very many, compared to other fur bearing animals in the state, the lynx is actually living at the edge of its range.

Recently, a friend of mine who keeps farm animals in Richmond, reported sighting a lynx that was checking out his chicken coop.

Although the lynx was placed on the federal threatened species list, it is only listed as a species of special concern in the state of Maine.

Legal trapping, snaring, and hunting for bobcat, coyote, wolverine, and other fur-bearers create a potential for incidental capture of lynx. Lynx persist throughout their range despite the incidental catch that presumably has occurred throughout the past, probably at higher levels than presently.

Even though the animal rights group won a ruling about the state taking steps to prevent the occasional accidental trappings, they were not successful in their request for temporary suspension of some trapping where lynx are present in northern Maine.

Subsequently, inadvertent trappings of Canada lynx occur from time to time.

Kennebec Behavioral Health cited

CARF International announced that Kennebec Behavioral Health has been accredited for a period of three years for all of its programs and services including the agency’s newest service – Behavioral Health Homes. The latest accreditation is the fifth consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has awarded to Kennebec Behavioral Health.

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons served.

“We are extremely pleased with our survey results,” said Thomas J. McAdam, chief executive officer of Kennebec Behavioral Health. “It is an indication of our commitment to excellence in all areas of KBH, including care delivery, operations and finance.”

Kennebec Behavioral Health is a non-profit health-care organization that has provided mental health and substance abuse services and supports in central Maine since 1960. KBH operates clinics in Waterville, Skowhegan, Winthrop and Augusta and has three vocational clubhouses located in Waterville, Augusta and Lewiston. For more information, or to schedule an appointment for any KBH service, call 1-888-322-2136. Information can also be found at www.kbhmaine.org.

I’m Just Curious: Merry Christmas!

by Debbie Walker

Yes. That is right. In my house it is called Merry Christmas. Too late to wish people Happy Holidays, after all we are past Thanksgiving, and to me that is one of those holidays. I have no interest in being “politically correct.” That whole thing is ridiculous. Okay, enough of that!

I imagine you may have noticed your Christmas’ have changed over the years, just as mine have. One thing I remember from years ago was the craziness of buying for a small child, we only had one. There was one year in particular that I remember. Her father and I went crazy trying to make sure we got Deana everything she wanted. She may have been six.

It was the year of Barbie Camper, Barbie House, Barbie Clothes, sled; the only thing she wanted that we didn’t get was a Bride doll. It also wasn’t from lack of hunting! We learned something that Christmas. Deana spent the entire afternoon outside sliding on a cardboard box, not even the sled we bought!

So that year we learned that kids suffer from a case of the “I wants,” somewhat prompted by all the Christmas advertisements. I believe we did a bit better in those coming years.

When the grandkids came along and their parents had the job it did take a lot of pressure off me. Then I put my own pressure on. After a few years I thought about how a month after Christmas they probably wouldn’t have been able to tell me what I had bought for them because it was all piled into the “STUFF” they had received. So I decided to do something different. And believe it or not, they were okay with what I decided. I decided to give them experiences. We were in Florida so I had quite a few choices. One year was a trip to MOSI, Museum of Science and they loved it. I sent them to Silver Springs one year. The experiences were great for a few years, and then I needed to come up with something new for the teen years.

Sooo…… I knew there was time yet but they would one day be going off to college or at the very least into their own place and would need “things.” I decided to get them little things, little things that I really like to have in my kitchen. I even wrapped their gifts in aluminum foil! They loved it, besides all their gifts they were still young enough to have fun with a big ball of foil to throw around! I thought they would think I was nuts but they loved it! The next year I asked if they wanted me to come up with something different or fly as usual. They told me to fly as usual and they laughed.

For about four years I bought them kitchen things, also got them some holiday decorations as each holiday had clearance prices! I used the Dollar Tree, thrift stores, Family Dollar and Dollar General and Walmart where I got their coffee pot, toaster, etc.

It kind of makes me think, all the changes, different ages and such; sort of makes me think the holidays are what you make of them. So…. In my house it is MERRY CHRISTMAS to You and Yours

I’m just curious what ideas you came up with over the years of change. Contact me at dwdaffy@yahoo.com, sub line: Christmas. Thanks for reading.

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Film: Heidi; Bandleader: Kay Kyser; Conductor: Dimitri Mitropoulos

Peter Cates
by  Peter Cates

Heidi

starring Shirley Temple, Jean Hersholt, Mary Nash, etc.; directed by Allan Dwan; 20th Century Fox, released 1937, 88 minutes.

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple

Recently, I watched this film for the first time in at least 54 years, via my copy of a colorized video-cassette, and was very entertained. The story of an orphaned girl, Heidi, sent to live with her grandfather – an embittered, aloof hermit living in the Swiss Alps – was a natural vehicle for the nine-year-old superstar who so endearingly played herself in several classics, my all-time favorite being Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. The gifted character actor, Jean Hersholt, portrayed the Gramps, Adolph Cramer, with depth and finesse while Mary Nash, Arthur Treacher, Sidney Blackmer, Helen Westley and a few others provided top-notch support elsewhere in the story.

Director Dwan shot the Alpine footage in and around Lake Arrowhead, California. Finally, during the on-location shooting, Shirley never went anywhere without at least eight bodyguards.

Kay Kyser

Huggin’ and Chalkin’; Columbia 37095, 10-inch 78,
recorded 1946.

Kay Kyser

Kay Kyser

Bandleader Kay Kyser (1905-1985) was a mildly entertaining showman who reached millions through film, radio and many Columbia 78s; the above hit record contains a forgettable novelty, Huggin’ and Chalkin’ and the lovely sentimental The Old Lamplighter, featuring one of Kyser’s several vocal groups from his heyday, Michael Douglas and the Campus Kids. Years later, Douglas would be better known for his network TV talk show, which was highly popular during the ‘60s and ‘70s !

Milhaud: Le Boeuf sur le Toit

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin- Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra; Columbia ML 2032, 10-inch LP, released late ‘40s.

Dimitri Mitropou­los (1896-1960) was one of the great conductors of the last century and directed the Minneapolis Symphony from 1939-1949 and the New York Philharmonic from 1949-1958. He made a pile of recordings with each orchestra, mainly for Columbia Reords. Also he conducted a number of productions at the Metropolitan Opera during the ‘50s.

His conducting was distinguished by the following characteristics:

Dimitri Mitropoulos

Dimitri Mitropoulos

A. He had an unusually photographic memory and conducted without a score in front of him on the podium.
B. He was a brilliant pianist and conducted and played concertos at the same time, again from memory.
C. He promoted many 20th century composers through concerts and recordings, particularly Mahler, Shostakovich, Berg and Schonberg.
D. His performances were intensely exciting.

He was also one of the most giving, generous human beings who ever lived. For example, during his New York years, he took a room at a cheap hotel, ate at greasy spoons and cafeterias and commuted by public transportation, in order to help as many people as possible with different financial needs.

Unfortunately, there were those who took advantage of him time and again. His kindness may have caused discipline problems with selfish and disrespectful New York Philharmonic players but this is a story for another time.

Interestingly, his earlier ten years in Minneapolis were different in that the orchestra gave him total respect and love. As an example, the above LP features works by two major 20th century composers – the very perky showpiece, Le Boeuf sur le Toit, or The Nothing Doing Bar, by Darius Milhaud, and the graceful and sublime Le Tombeau de Couperin of Maurice Ravel – in performances from Minneapolis that were a credit both to some of Mitropoulos’s earlier mentioned gifts and the mutual rapport between him and the players.

After leaving his New York post, Mitropoulos was very busy guest-conducting in Europe with great success, but the terrible diet, the brutally excessive chain smoking, the onerous work load with the Philharmonic and elsewhere, and the refusal to follow doctor’s orders to relax more after a major heart attack during the late ‘50s probably led to his sudden death in November 1960, while rehearsing the Mahler 3rd Symphony with Italy’s La Scala Orchestra.

Many Mitropoulos performances, including the Ravel, can be heard on YouTube!

Pages in Time: Christmas in Korea

by Milt Huntington

When I begin to reminisce about the Christmases-past, they all seem to blend together into a single memory of sparkling red and green. My Christmas in Korea in 1953 is a blur of khaki and canvas, homesickness and humor. I remember it well.

The 5th Regimental Combat Team was perched in the center of Chiporee Valley, just south of the 38th Parallel. We were the members of the Honor Guard Platoon. The war had recently ended, and the responsibility fell to us to shine our boots, clean our rifles, press our khakis and guard the officers of the Headquarters Company. Highlighting the drudgery of it all was the assignment we had of greeting dignitaries when they arrived by chopper to meet the brass before entertaining the troops.

Photos of Milt Huntington in Korea in 1953. Photos courtesy of Milt Huntington

Photos of Milt Huntington in Korea in 1953.
Photos courtesy of Milt Huntington

The spit and polish made it all worthwhile when we stood at attention to salute the likes of Marilyn Monroe, General Maxwell Taylor, Chief of the Far East Command; Accordion Artist Dick Cantino, and Catholic Cardinal Francis Spellman. Our days were filled with close order drills and practice sessions, twirling rifles in a variety of salutes. Our evenings were spent walking guard duty endlessly on the slopes of Chiporee.

The Honor Guards were housed in canvas, nine men to a tent, including two KATUSAs, (Koreans Attached to the U.S. Army). Pak Bu Hong was an older man compared to all the rest of us. He could cook up a wonderful Korean stew on one of the two kerosene stoves in our quarters.

Kim Yung Sam was the other native. His ready smile and passable English made him a favorite among the Koreans in our squad. His pay was 37 cents a month, more than GI’s paid for a pack of cigarettes back then. Our leisure time was spent listening to music on the radio in our tent or playing tag football or basketball in the warmer months. In the winter, we did a little hunting of pheasant or tracking mountain lions in the snow. It was mostly boring, but we passed away the time playing poker and getting in debt or reminiscing about our lives back home.

Homesickness was the common disease, but it was never as bad as it was at Christmastime. I only experienced one Christmas in Korea, but it was more than enough to rack up significant memories. Ed Seary from New Jersey was a huge guy with a soft voice and kind demeanor. He hardly ever said a word, but oh, could he ever play a harmonica. I’ll never forget that Christmas Eve when he played Christmas songs as we sang along. Our little Christmas tree, cut from a nearby hill, was dectonorated with homemade paper ribbons and blue and silver Combat Infantry Badges (CIB’s). It looked pretty darn good.

We were getting more than a little maudlin that night when suddenly our lieutenant burst into the tent to order us out for a full scale “bug out”. That meant we had to pack everything we owned, clamber into a 2 1⁄2 ton truck and head the heck out of there. A few miles down the road, we stopped, turned around and returned to camp. It was only a “yellow alert” a practice session to see how fast we could retreat in the event of an attack. I think the higher ups wanted to keep us busy on Christmas Eve as an antidote to the insidious homesickness disease. What really helped later that night, however, was when our lieutenant gained our undying gratitude by bringing to our tent a case of gigantic bottles of Japanese Asahi beer. The guard duty was on a hill behind our camp. This was a lonely job, made more lonely because of this special time of the year. The stars were out, featuring the Southern Cross and the Big and Little Dipper. On an adjoining ridge opposite ours was a huge red pentagon-shaped insignia of the 5th RCT, lighted by spot lights in the night. It was almost Christmas-like, but it made me sad. I really wanted to go home. To make matters worse, music drifted up from a tent down below. Joni James was singing “Purple Shades,” one of my favorite songs of the day.

As I sighed and strolled along the ridge, I saw flames from a fire, and proceeded to investigate. A small band of Korean civilians and an English-speaking KATUSA were huddled around the fire, roasting something on a spit. “Hey, GI,” he yelled. “Come in by the fire, get warm. Have some chow.” Their kind offer was politely refused. They were woking a Korean dog!

I think back now on that Christmas eve so long ago and remember with fondness the guys whose experiences I shared. They included Joe Vrable from Ohio and Ron Stahl from Illinois who missed their girlfriends; Denver Arnett from West Virgina, who was the sharpest looking soldier of them all; Roland LaTaille, a really funny guy from Woonsocket, R.I; — Kaffenburger from somewhere else. I don’t remember his first name either, but we never used it anyway; the two Katusa’s; and of course Ed Seary and his harmonica. I can still hear him playing “Sleigh Ride” on that unforgettable Christmas Eve. As nice as those memories are today, I sure do appreciate the holidays at home. Merry Christmas, you guys, wherever you are.

Milt Huntington is the author of A Lifetime of Laughter and Things That Make You Grin.

IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of December 15, 2016

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

Faithful readers, are you the ones who planned so many events for our calendar? I thought WALLS would know better, but maybe all the events that everyone has attended during the last week had to have a lot of busy minds and, yes, we’ve said yes!

Right now, we’re having our first real snowstorm, so we are guaranteed a white Christmas, so our dreams of that Bing Crosby song can definitely come true. What’s more, as Lew went out to start the snow removal ordeal, he ordered one of his favorites, a salmon pie with egg sauce. Hmm, I wonder how many of today’s cooks make such today.
O.K., I’ll make that pie and top it with egg sauce, but, first, WALLS, you will make sure I order all those magazines for our great-grandkids. Yes, and our Reese Paine was absolutely beautiful at her Top Hat dance recital. The Opera House at Skowhegan’s Municipal Building was full of proud parents, ‘Grands and Greats.’

WALLS, you sure do want me to tell you about great-granddaughter Sydney’s taking pictures of everyone who attended the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours at Andy and Donna Russakoff’s wonderful jewelry store, on Water Street, in Skowhegan. That was held on December 15, but Andy and Donna did much reminiscing during the evening. There was a framed photo of Founder Sussman Russakoff for all to see and that brought reminiscences of the whole Russakoff family. Oh, what happy days have been shared with so many over the 100 years of the business!

Yes, Jason Gayne told us at the SACC annual meeting that the Chamber was going to be involved with all the communities that have been members. Danielle and Kevin Dubois attended BAH and, surely, Sydney pointed the camera at her mom, Danielle, and others who have taken up the challenges with Jason and are new chamber directors.

Yup, WALLS has been thinking backward! Katie took all who urged her to write a history of downtown Skowhegan very seriously. In fact, at 86 years ‘young,’ she was surprised at how much she remembered about the Skow early-days, so she hopes all requests were serious.

WALLS, don’t forget that the Whittemore’s Real Estate sales people were treated to a positively wonderful gathering at the Heritage House on December 7. Yes, WALLS will tell you that some of those attending could reminisce about those days of

World War II beginning with Japan’s bombing [of Pearl Harbor] on December 7, but Van Ames thought of school days when, after school, he worked in sales at Henry’s Hardware and Chris Perkins, also an owner of Whittemore’s Real Estate shared his memories with Richard Parlin and others at one of the six tables of ‘the Whittemore Real Estate “family.”

WALLS, you know that we have shared so much with family and friends during the past week, but, surely, you are wise and will share more of your thoughts as “Tis the season to be jolly”……. Ho-Ho-Ho, Santa Clause is coming to our faithful readers.