Isaac H. Gingras named to St. Lawrence University dean’s list

Isaac H. Gingras, of Augusta, has been selected for inclusion on St. Lawrence University’s dean’s list for academic achievement during the fall 2016 semester, in Canton, New York.

Gingras is a member of the class of 2018 and is majoring in government. Gingras attended Cony High School, in Augusta.

Week of March 2, 2017

Week of March 2, 2017

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Winslow students help elderly dig out from snowstorm

The day before the beginning of February vacation is known for snow sculptures, skiing, skating, snowshoeing and hot cocoa at Winslow Junior High School, and all of the recent snowstorms gave students plenty of snow to play in this year. But there was something different about this year. Marybeth Bourgoin, eighth grade social studies teacher, wanted to use part of the day to help out in the community. So with the planning and help from many school administrators, Parks and Rec Director Amanda McCaslin, Jack Nivison and about 100 students, that’s just what they did. […]

Local youth wrestler excels, qualifies for New England competition

Colby Nadeau

Colby Nadeau

by Mark Huard

Colby Nadeau, of Benton, discovered the sport of wrestling and fell in love with it almost four years ago. Colby is currently competing as an independent wrestler for the Lawrence Bulldogs through the Skowhegan Middle School Wrestling Program. As an independent, Colby has had the opportunity to practice with and compete as part of the best programs in the state of Maine, including Skowhegan Youth and Middle School, Northwoods Outlaws, Maine Trappers, Wrestlers Way, Triton Athletics and Winslow Youth Wrestling. Colby’s dedication, drive and hard work along with the support of these programs, has earned Colby these recent milestones:

  • 2017 All-State youth wrestling champion, 73 lbs. novice division, #1 seed from Maine;
  • 2017 Wildwoods National Duals team member;
  • 2016 Marshwood New England wrestling champion, 71 lb.;
  • 2016 Maine State youth wrestling championships runner-Up, 70 lbs.;
  • 2016 USA Wrestling New England championships top 15, 72 lbs.

The All-State Youth Wrestling Championships are a USA Wrestling event where wrestlers have pre-determined weight classes/ divisions and only the top three in each weight division are automatically qualified as a seeded wrestler for the Youth New England Championships.

Other youth wrestlers from Skowhegan that qualified for New England’s include Aiden Clark, Bryson Howard, JJ Aubin, Elijah Wilkinson, all champions and the #1 seed from Maine for their weights, and Cam Green, third, and #3 seed. Winslow Youth wrestlers included Chase Larrabee, third in the state of Maine at 96 lbs. intermediate weight division, and Troy Hachey first in the state of Maine at 138 lbs., novice weight division.

Colby Nadeau

Colby Nadeau during a match.

Photos by Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography

SCORES & OUTDOORS: How do birds stay warm in cold weather?


by Roland D. Hallee

Last week we took a look at how white-tailed deer keep warm during those cold winter days and nights. As you remember, that was perpetrated by my watching birds at my wife’s feeders during the blizzard of February 12-13. So, let’s talk about how those little feathered friends keep warm during those times.

First of all, I was astonished as I watched the birds come in and out of the feeders during the height of the storm that dumped upwards of 24-28 inches of snow in central Maine, with winds gusting to 25-30 miles per hour.

Birds are warm-blooded animals that have a much higher temperature than humans, usually in the range of 105 degrees, as compared to our 98.6 degrees. Body temperatures can vary during daylight hours but it can challenge the birds during the night to maintain such a high body heat.

Smaller birds run more of a risk of body heat loss since they have a proportionately larger surface area on their bodies to lose heat but a smaller core volume to generate it.

Birds have different ways to maintain body heat during cold weather. Their feathers provide remarkable insulation, and many species will actually grow extra feathers as part of a late fall molt to give them thicker protection in the winter. Oil also coats their feathers to provide, not only insulation, but waterproofing.

Their legs and feet are covered with scales to minimize heat loss. By constricting blood flow to their extremities, they can also reduce body heat loss even further.

Then, there is the old standby: adding body fat reserves to serve as insulation and extra energy for generating body heat. They will gorge themselves in the fall when food sources are abundant.

Another way to produce insulation from the cold is to fluff their feathers. That enables air pockets to be created, keeping them toasty warm. Also, it is not unusual to see birds standing on one leg or crouched to cover both legs with their feathers to shield them from the cold. They also tuck their beaks into their shoulder feathers for protection, and to breathe air warmed from their body heat.

On sunny days, they will perch with their backs to the sun to maximize the exposure area of their body.They raise their wings to allow the skin and feathers to absorb as much of the sun’s heat as possible, even spreading or drooping their wings while sunning.

If you see a bird shivering, don’t worry. They do this to raise their metabolic rate and generate more body heat as a short term solution in extreme cold.

Many small birds will gather in large flocks at night and crowd together in an attempt to share their collective body heat. Even individually, they will roost in places that may contain residual heat from the day’s sunlight.

But, there is something called torpor that birds will use to conserve energy during the cold nights. Torpor is a state of reduced metabolism when the body temperature is lowered, therefore requiring fewer calories to maintain the proper heat. Birds can lower their body temperature from 22 to 50 degrees. Torpor, however, can be dangerous as reduced temperature also leads to slower reactions and greater vulnerability to predators.

Even with all of these Mother Nature-built in safeguards, mortality rate among birds can run high during extreme winters. You can help.

During winter, keep your feeders cleared of snow and filled with good food, offer liquid water, and provide shelter. You can build brush piles or protective boxes if you have no natural shelters. I think one of the reasons we have as many birds during winter as we have is because birds are attracted to coniferous trees. My wife and I have three rather large pine trees in our backyard, providing them with plenty of protection from the weather.

Mother Nature, again, provides for its creatures, large or small.

Oliveira earns fall honors at Roger Williams University

Michael Oliveira, a resident of Waterville, has been named to the Fall 2016 dean’s list at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Staten named to Assumption College dean’s list

Assumption College, in Worcester, Massachusetts, has announced that Shalahn Staten, of Clinton, a member of the class of 2018, is one of 486 students named to the college’s prestigious undergraduate dean’s list for the fall 2016 semester.


IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of March 2, 2017

Katie Ouilette Walls
by Katie Ouilette

Y’know, WALLS, I must have a touch of Spring Fever, cause all of a sudden I’ve been thinking about the song: “People…People Who Need People are the Luckiest People in the World.” O.K., we’ll talk about people, as this just may be thank you week and our lucky people are those who gave much of their lives and talents to Skowhegan and vicinity.

First, with wars still raging in our Middle East and some of our military there and to those who fought in our wars and their relatives, we must say ‘thanks.” We will soon celebrate Abner Coburn Day and we all know that Abner Coburn was born in nearby

Canaan, but built the ‘decrepit’ mansion on our Skowhegan Main Street Hill. Yes, our Governor Coburn sat with our President Abraham Lincoln, as he delivered The Gettysburg Address, since we of Skowhegan and Maine had men fighting in our Civil War. Yes, People needed those soldiers.

What’s more, my thoughts have turned back to the days when Skowhegan’s Water Street and Madison Avenue had a great variety of stores where people who worked in our spinning and woolen mills could leave their work for lunch hour and, yes, walk down Water Street to window shop or stop in and buy whatever was needed at home. Yes, we had Stern’s and Crane’s department stores, or five-and-dimes McClellan’s, Grants, Woolworth’s or even Cora Cayouette’s Corsetry which was next to Skowhegan’s Famous Bonnet Shop. On Madison Avenue and Water Street there were grocery stores, meat and fish markets, furniture stores, gift shops, restaurants, soda fountains and, lest we forget, the Maine Liquor Store, drug stores and music stores. Don’t forget the many offices that were located on the second floors of our famous downtown buildings.

Here’s a bit of an aside from the Waterville Morning Sentinel’s Amy Calder, who wrote this week of the snowstorm of 1968-69 and who urged me to write of my experiences during that storm. Well, will suffice for now in saying that Skowhegan’s first radio station (WSKW) was located above the William Philbrick Office and that storm happened to be on the first day for my broadcast! Well, we all know that ‘the show must go on,” and I got there through the drifts!

At a Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours, at Russakoff Jewelers, a few weeks ago, WALLS promised to write a history of Skowhegan Downtown, but at another time. I will say that Skowhegan’s downtown had a lot of barber shops as the men didn’t have long hair and beard in those days!

While writing this, WALLS, you certainly will thank the Alfond Foundation and other local manufacturers for their workers having made the products that enabled giving our area young people assistance with college tuition, with the hope they will stay in this area and develop the foresight to develop products needed and become CEO’s for the manufacture of same. Yes, WALLS, you know full well that “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world,” and, WALLS, you also know that this is the best place to live, “Maine, the Way Life Should Be.”

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Composer: Sir Edward Elgar; Singing group: The Mills Brothers; Pianist: Frank Froeba

Peter Catesby  Peter Cates


String Quartet
played by Aeolian String Quartet; Violin Sonata, played by violinist Alan Loveday and pianist Leonard Cassini – Dover Publications HCR-ST-7011, 12-inch stereo vinyl LP, recorded early ‘60s.

Sir Edward Elgar

Sir Edward Elgar

Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) was perhaps best known as the composer of Land of Hope and Glory, a very much sung World War I anthem, itself based on the First Pomp and Circumstance March, whose tune is still heard at graduation ceremonies and band concerts.

Starting in 1917 when the composer was 60 and at the height of his powers, Elgar wrote three works for chamber forces, which he had never attempted before. Two of them are contained on this LP – the Violin Sonata and the String Quartet, both of them having a quiet thoughtful reserve of both dignity and yet an intimacy of feeling, along with a special beauty.

The performances are superlative. Finally, there are 14 copies of the vinyl LP still available from Amazon vendors, starting at $7, along with other more recent recordings on CD.

The Mills Brothers

Great Hits
Dot DLP 25157, stereo vinyl LP, released 1958.

The Mills Brothers

The Mills Brothers

The Mills Brothers, consisting of Dad and two sons, began performing in 1922 and recorded a slew of best selling hits for Decca during the 78 era, later re-recording them for Dot records from the ‘50s into the ‘60s with greater success, not to mention the superior stereo sound; this 1958 LP has some of their classics – Paper Doll, Up a Lazy River, Glow Worm, the sweetly poignant You Always Hurt the One You Love, etc., performed with that utterly unassuming style of theirs that was endearing while concealing the years of careful rehearsing and discipline.

About Glow Worm – its composer, Johnny Mercer, recorded it, but with minimal sales. Within five years, the Mills did their own record and made millions.

Frank Froeba

Jazz Piano and Orchestra
Royale 1826; 10-inch vinyl LP, released 1954.

Frank Froeba

Frank Froeba

The jazz pianist and bandleader, Frank Froeba (1907-1981), founded his own group in the 1930s, which employed the likes of Bobby Hackett and Bunny Berrigan, and waxed a number of 78s for the Decca and Columbia labels. This LP contains such familiar tunes as The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else, A Lover’s Lullaby, My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean and Where Has My Little Dog Gone?, the first two selections are admittedly incompatible as to style and content with the last two; it also has the aptly titled Bee Boogie, which is a boogieish reworking of Rimsky-Korsakoff’s Flight of the Bumble Bee. The entire program is very professionally and enthusiastically performed and makes for very pleasant listening.

Royale was one of several very cheaply priced labels which proliferated from the late ‘40s into the ‘50s and drew its material from both legitimate and questionable sources, often engaging in flagrant bootlegging. However, my copy of the above LP is in wonderful condition and has good sound. Highly recommended for interested listeners and still available on Ebay at a reasonable price under $15.

I’m Just Curious: Ticks and bumps

by Debbie Walker

Ever notice how sometimes things are easier when you put them in your own words rather than maybe the appropriate one? You know, bring them down to your terms.

I think I do it out of a healthy disrespect for the real terms, and sometimes because my words are just shorter. I’ve done some of that here.

I made a long put-off trip to the dermatologist to have a little mole thing on my forehead looked at. They told me just by looking at it that it was a basil cell carcinoma, lot of words for cancer. Instantly that thing reminded me of being in Maine, come in from the woods with a tick on you and all you want to do is get it off you! And anyone else in the room starts checking for any ticks on themselves. Well my immediate reaction was: Get that thing off me now! This little mole thing was now my “tick” and I wanted it gone now!

Well, beside the little tick I had a bump on my upper left leg. It has never been discolored; it has never burned, itched, hurt, changed colors, nothing. However, it has started to grow and just a little bit ago it seemed to be forming groupies around it. So, hey, I’m here I might as well ask him what kind of thing that was. Well, you know how it goes, almost like with your car, it could be this or it could be that, usually it is the more expensive one but sometimes you get lucky. So the doc did his little biopsy of both tick and bump.

Tick test came back next day just what they said it was and it was going to have to come off. I’m ready now. However, we (they) were waiting on the bump’s biopsy that it turns out had to be sent away. Oh yeah, I’m a little nervous now, but better safe than sorry.

The “tick” was no big deal; they took that off in a matter of minutes and a few stitches. But it seems that the “bump” was going to send me to a specialist, seems it was a little on the rare side and had a name I think includes all the letters of the alphabet in it. So I was sent off to Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa. Probably means nothing to you guys but this place is top of the line all the way!

That little bump that never did anything but grow to about the size of a nickel was going to require an eight-inch by six-inch cut down to the muscle to get rid of, I had one layer of stitches and one layer of staples. This particular cancer is rare and has a 95 percent success rate. AND, for it to be considered not successful only means it will grow back in the same spot. Now as cancers go I consider myself very lucky.

We all do it; we all put things off, “ah, that isn’t anything.” I will admit that for awhile I had an idea what the tick was and even then put it off, lack of money, insurances, time from work, etc. As for the little bump, looked like the most harmless thing in the world and as I said, never gave a sign of it being anything other than a bump on the skin. But if you think about it, what was the bump doing there, I didn’t have one anywhere else?

Please take this seriously. My tick is long gone and my bump was removed December 23, 2008. Yup, I am making fun of them, that healthy disrespect I was talking about but this is serious. If you have ticks or bumps or whatever word you decide to call them do yourself and your family a huge favor and go now. Don’t wait. If it turns out to be nothing, go celebrate, if it is something, deal with it. You wouldn’t leave a tick on there knowing it was there, would you?

This is one time when I wish my curiosity had won over sooner!

Thanks for reading and if anything here rings a bell to you: CHECK IT OUT!

Contact me at sub line: Ticks and Bumps

(Note: I try to get this printed once a year because I believe it is important.)

Pages in Time: Mushy stuff from years gone by

Pages In Timeby Milt Huntington

Fifty percent of the many responses I received from my newspaper articles come from senior citizens over 65 years of age. I know this for a fact because one of them told me so. Both responders agreed that they love all the mushy stuff from years gone by.

So, let us reminisce. Flipping back through the dog-eared pages of time, I found a piece about the home front in WWII. I told of air raid wardens, rationing of butter and gas, patriotic movies and buying savings stamps at school. Yes, there were no bananas, and we ate sherbet instead of ice cream. Contributing to the war effort by helping mother squish red dye into white margarine to make it yellow was a genuine source of pride.

Growing up in Augusta was a priceless chunk of my young life, so I described the beauty of early Western Avenue and the bustle of Downtown Water Street. Western Avenue was lined with shade trees back in the good old days, and it had a skating pond. It didn’t have a federal building or a shopping mall. You could actually cross the street without taking your life in your hands. Heck, you could even watch soap box derbies there or ride down the hill on your bike with your feet on the handlebars.

There was no traffic circle at the bottom of Western Avenue–just the intersections of State Street, Grove Street and Grove Street Extension. There was, however, an elegant yellow brick building–The Augusta House. The historic old meeting place played host to the rich and famous and was the site where many legislative measures were lobbied to death but often revived by mouth-to-ear resuscitation. Gone now–all gone.

To our young eyes, Water Street was the Broadway of the Capital City. There were Class “A” movies at the Colonial Theater featuring musicals with new Technicolor technology. The Capital Theater drew us in with the Class “B” westerns, vaudeville and cliff-hanging serials. The names of a lot of the flicks are beginning to fade from memory, but I remember well, and always will, the nickel candy bars, the Ju-Jy fruits and buttered popcorn. I also remember the eleven-cent price of admission.

Thoughts of the old American Legion building by the little park stir memories of teen-age dances, football on the lawn, post-war suppers and playing pool with friends in that old front room. Those, indeed, were the good old days.

Still there at the top of Rines Hill is the Hartford Fire Station with all of its history and its bellowing nine-o’clock whistle. The beautiful train station at the bottom of the hill was replaced by a parking lot. Arlene’s Bakery and the aroma of doughnuts and pastries is still a tantalizing memory. You can’t get your shoes repaired or shined anymore at Turcotte’s.

The shop is long gone along with Augusta’s shoe factories – R.P. Hazzard and Taylor Shoe.

You want to talk about change? Just take a look at Bangor Street. Whatever became of Hussey Hardware, Doc’s Lunch, Mike’s Lunch, Williams School, The A&P, Charlie’s Market and the Esso gasoline station?

I can still remember, with delight, the taste of a good steak at Hazel Green’s, a shrimp scampi at Al Biondi’s 89 Winthrop or First Tee on Water Street. I remember well how great the meals were at Ray Lammer’s Pioneer House. Nobody served up cheeseburgers like John McAuley did at his place on Outer Western Avenue. Then, of course, we salivated over the fare at the Roseland Restaurant on the Waterville Road and McNamara’s in Winthrop. The beer was also pretty good over a hamburger and fries at the Oxbow hangout in Winthrop.

Don’t even get me started about Island Park. Suffice it to say, the memories are many. All I need to resuscitate recollections of your own is to casually mention the revolving ball that left colorful squares on the dance floor below and the 21 Club that got us high on a bottle of beer. It was the site of my first date with the girl that I married.

For the beer drinkers in the crowd, I would be remiss in failing to mention Ray’s Dine and Dance in the lower end of Water Street and Duffy’s Tavern on the Bond Brook Road. Don’t talk to me about inflation. I remember when “dimies” went to 20 cents a glass. In some of those places and in most cafeterias, juke boxes were mounted on the walls over the tables. For the drop of a nickel, you could listen to Sinatra, the Chairman of the Board; Mel Torme, The Velvet Fog; Vaughn Monroe, Frankie Laine, Perry Como, Patti Page, Jo Stafford, Joni James and Doris Day. If you’ve read this far, you can easily recall the names of all the others who helped promote romances of the teenage years.

OK! That’s it for now. I’m beginning to tear up. I just hope that all my fans, (both of them), will think back on all the things that they remember if I’ve been successful in jump starting their memories again.

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