Give Us Your Best Shot!, Week of April 20, 2017

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Frank Dore, of Skowhegan, snapped this pair of cardinals last winter.


KEEPING VIGIL: Tina Richard, of Clinton, photographed these bald eagles from her favorite trail in Winslow.


IS IT SPRING?: Michael Bilinsky, of China Village, caught this chipmunk peering out from a snowbank recently.

Patriots linebacker greets local fans

Fin Minkel, 8, of Oakland, left, and Sean Achorn, 8, of Oakland, had the opportunity to meet with New England Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich on April 12

by Mark Huard

Hammond Lumber Company hosted an Employee and Contractor Appreciation event on April 12, featuring Rob Ninkovich, linebacker for the New England Patriots and two-time Super Bowl champion. Close to 3,000 Patriots’ fans waited patiently to have their picture taken with Rob and shake his hand. Some even had the privilege of trying on his Super Bowl championship ring. The event was a perfect opportunity for Maine fans to celebrate the Patriots’ LI Super Bowl victory and commemorate Ninkovich’s first trip to Maine.

Ninkovich with Hammond Lumber Co. founder Skip Hammond.

It was an especially memorable event for all the children in attendance. Their pride and excitement was apparent as they got to meet the 6-foot 2-inch linebacker in person. Ninkovich’s obliging personality and easy manner certainly made it a dream come true for many. Mark Huard from Central Maine Photography was on hand to capture each special moment.

Travis Brunette, right, 18, of Pittsfield, compares his 2016 Class D state championship ring, which he earned as a member of the Maine Central Institute Huskies football team, of Pittsfield, last fall, with Ninkovich’s Super Bowl ring.

“Rob Ninkovich is a true gentleman and exemplifies the high standard for excellence put forth by the Patriots’ organization. He was as kind and gracious to the last person in line as he was to the first fan who made it to the stage six hours later,” Mike Hammond, President of Hammond Lumber Company, shared. “The entire day exceeded my expectations and I was gratified to see the positive impact it had on our employees, contractors, vendors, neighbors, and friends,” he added.

All photos by Mark Huard, Central Maine Photography

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Eulogy for a little friend


by Roland D. Hallee

I always knew this day would come eventually. I always had it in the back of my mind that it wouldn’t be any time soon. It has taken me three weeks, but I have finally come to grips with it.

This is a story about a pet.

His name is Dudley. He is a Holland Lop rabbit. Born on May 16, 2007, he came to us on July 7, 2007. How he got his name is kind of a cute story. You see, he was supposed to be my wife’s, although you would never know it by the way I spoiled him.

From left, Dudley, two weeks after we acquired him, on July 24, 2007; full grown adult in 2014; eating Cheerios from a miniature champagne glass. Photos by Roland D. Hallee

Dudley was born in a litter of 12 rabbits, as the runt. We have photos of him at a very young age, keeping to himself in the back of the cage. A place he would not stay for very long. Anyway, my wife has always loved the film Arthur, starring diminutive Dudley Moore, who stood only 5 feet 3 inches tall. My wife also had a love for the actor. So, she decided to name the rabbit Arthur. That’s when I stepped in and suggested Dudley, since that was the man’s name who played the character Arthur in the film. So Dudley it was!

Once we got him home, he would never again spend any time locked up in a cage. He had the run of the house. We purchased a collapsible dog kennel as his “getaway” space, and quickly litter box trained him.

In the early years he would run, jump, twist, and literally do acrobatic stunts, to our delight and entertainment. We had many a good belly laugh watching him go through his antics. He spent his time between camp in the summer, and home during the winter. Everyone who knew Dudley loved him. He was extremely social, and enjoyed being around my wife and I. He very often would give us love “kisses.” There were times when we thought he was almost human. The stories about him abounded with our friends and family. My favorite is when I would alert people of his presence behind the outside door. I would tell them, “Watch out for the rabbit, and don’t let him out no matter what he tells you.” Dudley became a legend in his own time.

My kids, I think, actually became jealous of him.

Once, when he was between 12 and 15 weeks old, we were given his sister to care for who had been a little dehydrated. My wife made sure the sister had plenty of water, and gave it an occasional spray water bath, all the time keeping it in a dark, cool area. But, in our opinion, it was Dudley who nursed her back to health. He spent his time huddled next to her and constantly licked her coat in an attempt to soothe her. Remarkable, was all we could think at the time. She was later able to return to her caretakers.

Of course, as the years passed, he began to slow down, like the rest of us. During his prime, he weighed 5.4 pounds, actually a little overweight for a lop.

It is the opinion of my wife and I that Holland Lops are the best rabbits in the world. Dudley was not a dwarf rabbit, but rather known as mini lops. He had a wonderful temperament, curious as all outdoors, and was easily trained. One of the remarkable characteristics of his, was that he did not fear the vacuum cleaner. You would think a small animal would not know what to make of a modern human contraption that makes a lot of noise, and run and hide. He would actually come right up to it (remember what I said about his curiosity). He was not fearful of other animals, particularly small dogs. Again, his curiosity would lead him to investigate what this other animal was that was invading his space. All-in-all, nothing really bothered Dudley. He was about as layed back as an animal could be.

And a story about Dudley would not be complete if we didn’t mention his love affair with Cheerios. The rabbit was addicted. He would do anything for them as a treat. At times, when I felt he had too many or he wasn’t being a “good boy,” I would ignore him. He would actually stretch as far as he could, and nip me in my inner thigh while I sat in my chair. It goes without saying he would get my attention. He would even get Cheerios from relatives and friends at Christmas.

I could go on about the experiences we had with this adorable pet, but space doesn’t allow it. All I can say is that I would have another one (but the pain of losing him was tremendous), and recommend them as a pet for adults. They don’t particularly like to be picked up and held, although in time, Dudley learned to accept it.

The average life expectancy of a mini lop is seven years. Dudley passed suddenly, in my arms, on March 31, 2017, 45 days shy of his 10th birthday. As far as we know, he was the last survivor of his litter.

Goodbye, little friend, may you rest in peace.

Violette earns academic merit scholarship to Delaware Valley U.

Delaware Valley University, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, congratulates the recipients of the University’s top three merit-based Admission scholarships.

Nathan Violette, of Oakland, has been selected for an academic merit scholarship to Delaware Valley University.

DelVal awards admission merit scholarships to high-achieving high school students based on GPA and test scores.

SOLON & BEYOND, Week of April 20, 2017

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy!

How are our pollinators? Pollinators: birds, bees and butterflies. How are our pollinators doing in Maine and how can we attract them? It’s time to think about gardens and our garden’s best friends: Pollinators. Bees, birds and butterflies are essential pollinators for our gardens. We have all heard that some bees and butterflies are declining across the globe but what about Maine’s pollinators? Dr. Frank Drummond will share his expertise on the state of health of our pollinators. Warren Balgooyen will give us advice on what to plant to attract pollinators.

Somerset Woods Trustees 2017 Talks and Walks invite you to come and enjoy their expert speakers, Frank Drummond, School of Biology and Ecology & Cooperative Extension University of Maine, and Warren Balgooyen, naturalist, on Sunday, April 23, at 1 p.m., at the Renaissance Center, 60 Water Street, Skowhegan. Refreshments will be served. SWT’s Talks and Walks Series are always free to the public. If there are questions you may write Nancy at (Thanks so much for this valuable information. )

The following e-mail, “Happyknits A Yarn Store” is an invitation to celebrate Earth Day at Happyknits! Food shopping isn’t at the top of our fun list. But wouldn’t a brightly colored knit cotton market bag help just a little bit to make your next trip to the grocery store more exciting? They have some kits available to make a bag you’ll be proud to take to the market. The kits include two balls of Kid Cotton yarn plus an easy-to-follow pattern using two strands of yarn to make your bag strong and stretchy. You’ll need two 16-inch circular needles (a #8 & #9), plus a set of #9 double points. If the color combinations in the kits are too wonky for your taste, feel free to build your own custom kit from their baskets.

To top it all off, Karla will be holding a Market Bag Knit-Along to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s no cost for the Knit-Along and no need to pre-register. Just drop in for some fun! Sarah, Karla, Julie and Mary Lou. (knitting is one of my most loved and relaxing hobbies, sounds like lots of fun, thanks for the e-mail.)

It sometimes seems that all there is in daily papers now-a-days is bad and scary news. I would like to write about a wonderful blessing and miracle that took place in my life last week. For a few months, I haven’t been able to see much of anything out of my left eye. It continued to get worse so I finally got an appointment with my eye doctor. Had cataract surgery two years ago and my doctor made an appointment with one who did that surgery for last Wednesday. After many tests were taken the doctor looked at my troubled eye through a machine and very suddenly I had perfect vision in that eye again! What wonderful things have been accomplished in our modern world along with the bad!

Lief and I had two wonderful Easter meals and visits last week. On Saturday we were invited to have an early Easter supper with his sister and brother in law, Nancy and Elwood Ellis, at their home in China. We enjoyed visiting with their family and friends and the huge ham meal with all the many trimmings. It is always a warm and friendly place to visit.

After church on Easter Sunday we had been invited to dinner at my daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Dave Walz’s home, in North Anson. Again, another bountiful delicious meal and good company. I really don’t know how Mary finds time to do as much as she does. Ben was home from Biddeford, don’t get to see him very often, my many thanks and love to all.

Usually try not to repeat Percy’s words in his memoirs, but don’t believe anyone will remember this one which I put in a bulletin when I was doing the bulletins at the Solon Congregational Church way back in 1992: Try to do to others as you would have them do to you, and do not be discouraged if they fail sometimes. It is much better that they should fail than that you should. (words by Charles Dickens.)

I’m Just Curious: Remember to RELAX

by Debbie Walker

Do you know how to relax? Do you give yourself permission to relax? If you read the dictionary you will see definitions like: make less strict, or severe; to release from intense concentration; give rest to; to rest from effort, etc. and it continues. So did you relax this weekend? Can you do it? My Mom rags on me a bit because I am not very good at it. I do explain that I think when my mind goes into high gear there is no relaxing. Seems like if I even get close to relaxing that is what happens.

For some years I had trouble even going to sleep at night. Just as soon as my body started to kick back my mind would go into high gear. When some people were counting sheep to go to sleep I was writing more stories, designing clothes in my mind, coming up with different craft projects to work on, etc. On those nights I learned to get up and write till…….

When my grandson, Mark, was giving his mother and father fits about going to sleep at night I was able to help a little. Mark, since he could hold a pencil, has been an artist. He would explain to them he needed to get up and draw something before he forgot it. He really wasn’t trying to put one over on them; he needed to put it on paper while it was so strongly on his mind. So they started to let him, and it worked out fine. He was able to relax.

I found a little inspiration piece, I believe it had been in a Woman’s World magazine some years back. It is about relaxing:

“It’s okay to relax! Admit it: you work too hard, or worry too much, or both! Plus you tend to put yourself last. So taking it easy is probably not on your to-do list. But it should be! You’re long overdue for a break. So give yourself permission to spend time on you. You’ll feel so much better once you do!”

We all go through times where we are stressing about things in our life that we can’t fix right now. We really need to come up with something for each of us that works to help us relax. For some people that may be their faith. It may be music for you. Whatever works for you.

There is one thing about “taking care of yourself” that is very important. If you really want to be able to function and be at your best you need to take care of yourself first. Otherwise there is nothing to help others with. I hope you have this all under control already; maybe this is just a little reminder.

Okay, I’m just curious as usual! Contact me at Thanks for reading!

REVIEWS: Conductor: Walter Susskind; Orchestra: Melachrino Strings; Film: Charley Varrick


by  Peter Cates

Handel’s Messiah

Walter Susskind conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus; Musical Heritage Society MHS 582/ 583/ 584, three LP set, recorded September 22-24,1958.

Walter Susskind

Being in the Easter spirit, I offer comments on this Messiah set since the music is appropriate to both Christmas and this week’s observances. Con­duc­tor Walter Susskind (1913-1980) delivered a performance of superb quality with a crackerjack quartet of singers – my special favorite being the late contralto Helen Watts (1927-2009), whose rendition of He Shall Feed His Flock gives me the thickest goosebumps every time I hear it. Harpsichordist George Malcolm (1917-1997) did beyond superb playing with the orchestra and revealed especially exquisite details in certain sections such as the Pastoral Symphony.

My first Messiah record was a 99-cent highlights disk from this same performance. A CD edition of this recording is priced starting at 2 or 3 bucks by various Amazon vendors.

Melachrino Strings

April in Paris
RCA Victor LSP-2739, recorded 1963, stereo dynagroove LP.

The Melachrino Strings were the creation of English-born George Melachrino (1909-1965), an all-around musician skilled at playing violin, viola, clarinet, oboe, etc., and composer of movie soundtracks. This orchestra landed a contract with RCA Victor in the very early fifties, sold easy listening records by the millions and were the biggest rival to Mantovani. The albums had such titles as Music for Relaxing, To Sleep By, For Dining and To Study By; and ones devoted to the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, and, one special favorite, Jerome Kern. To me, their arrangements were tasteful, very pleasant and, as a rule, less sugary than those of Mantovani.

April in Paris also has a group of three accordionists, the Trio de Musette, which provides charming instrumental contrasts to the larger orchestra within each selection. The program consists of French-styled pop classics such as C’est Si Bon, I Love Paris, the Bobby Darin hit Beyond the Sea, Song from Moulin Rouge, Autumn Leaves, the title song, etc. The LP shows up often on Amazon sites and in various thrift stores along with other Melachrino titles.

Charley Varrick

starring Walter Matthau, Andy Robinson, Joe Don Baker, John Vernon, Sheree North, etc.; 1972.

Walter Matthau

A mostly forgotten film of possible interest.

With respect to bank heist flicks, this movie remains one of the best ones I have ever seen. Matthau plays the title character who is thrown unwittingly into one nasty situation after he and his friends pull off the typically every day bank robbery. Their proceeds are not the common ten or, if lucky, $20,000 for their well-planned hard day’s work but a roaring six digits when

Sheree North

the gang coerces the employees into handing over certain cloth bags seen behind the counter. They have obviously hit a money laundering outfit. And become the target of some individuals, portrayed with captivating aura by Joe Don Baker and John Vernon, who pursue them with scorched earth determination. Quite fun and delightfully unpredictable at moments!

Joe Don Baker

Carrabec honor roll


High honors: Ian Baker, Avianna Boucher, Evan Gorr, McKayla Gray, Paul Kaplan, Bobbie Peacock, Royce Pena’, Samantha Taylor, Sara Taylor and Sophia Tsimekles. Honors:  Jacob Bauter, Whitney Coro, Dustin Crawford, Taylor Cyrway, Jade Fortin, Allyn Foss, Mariah Langton, Eric Libby, Abigail Longley, Brooklynn Moore, Elizabeth Rafferty and Sydney Trudeau.


High honors:  Rhiannon Ambrose, Kaitlin Dixon, Bailey Dunphy, Michael Hargreaves, Samantha LeBeau and Katrina Mason. Honors: Jacob Atwood, Mackenzie Baker, Emily Buzzell, Melanie Clark, Kelsey Creamer, Patrick Dube, Ariana-Lee Dunton, Mackenzie Edes, Courtney Fuller, Jackson Lawler-Sidell, Brooklyn Miller and Sierra Turcotte.


High honors:  Tristan Bachelder and Lauren Rafferty. Honors: Lilyana Aloes, Lauren Chestnut, Lillian Johnson, Lindsay Lesperance, Brody Miller, Liam Serafino, Sidney Small and Makayla Vicneire.


High honors:  Annika Carey. Honors:  Cassidy Ayotte, Ashley Cates, Skyler Chipman, Caitlin Crawford, Shay Cyrway, Caroline Decker, Skylar Karr, Dylan Leach, Scott Mason, Laney Murray, Abby Richardson, Dalton Way and Skye Welch.

PALERMO: Meet the Author series

The Palermo Community Library presents Sister Elizabeth Wagner, the award-winning author of Seasons in My Garden: Meditations from a Hermitage, on Sunday, April 30, at 2 p.m. She will disclose what led her to become a hermit and the founding of Transfiguration Hermitage, in Windsor.

In the prologue, Sr. Wagner writes: “I didn’t come to Maine gladly. In fact, I came kicking and screaming: ‘This is Siberia, Lord!’…I came to Maine because it was a place that I could earn a living in solitude… And yet for me, it felt as if I’d been exiled to Siberia.”

In her inspirational book, she reveals how her contemplative life of prayer, tending a garden and meditations, led her to a deeper understanding of the presence of God.

The Library is located at 2789 Route 3. For more information: call 993-6088 or email

The Palermo Community Library offers Kindles, books, large print books, audio books, Inter-library loan, DVDs, VHS tapes, Wi-Fi, patron computers, printing, faxing, and! There is also a community room with a large screen TV available for meetings and presentations.

The Palermo Community Library is an all-volunteer library. If you would like to volunteer, please call 993-6088.


IF WALLS COULD TALK, Week of April 20, 2017

Katie Ouilette Wallsby Katie Ouilette

WALLS, can you tell? I’m trying to type on a different computer! Ayeh, faithful readers, gotta go to the fix-it shop PDQ! As a result, WALLS will be very short this week!

WALLS, apologetically wants the young man who was bagging groceries at Hannaford and asked how our Maine weather had improved and suited us lately? Well, you know about the year that Maine had no summer and suggested he read this week’s column. After all, you and I know about the old saying, “everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it”.

Yes, we are old and remember the saying, but I never knew why Maine folks talked about a Maine without a summer, until I found a 2016 Almanac that Bangor Savings Bank had distributed to folks. The very last page gave the reason why and when and where. Yes, WALLS has learned that 1816 and a volcanic eruption gets all the blame! No, the volcano didn’t erupt in these parts, but it happened to Mount Tambora, in Indonesia! Yes, faithful readers, that was the largest eruption in the last 1,800 years!

Yup…a big cloud for sure!

And, since Lew has guided me through using his laptop,WALLS will tell you more in Chapter 2.