Daily Archives: November 13, 2009

Updated 11/13: Uncle Clayton hauling pulp near St. Francis

Phillip Thibodeau (left) and Clayton Jandreau.

Phillip Thibodeau (left) and Clayton Jandreau standing near a truck hauling pulp.

I knew this day would come – a correction. Mickey Thibodeau took the photo of my Uncle Clayton Jandreau next to his new truck, a 1960 model, in the winter of 1960-61 in the street in front of his family’s home not too far from where my Uncle Clayton, my Mom and their siblings grew up in St. Francis, Maine. Mr. Thibodeau’s father, Phillip, is standing with my uncle. Mr. Thibodeau did not receive the photo from my cousin.

[Posted November 12, 2009 (See correction above): I wanted to get this photo up. I will post more later on it. The photo was e-mailed to me from another Mainer “from away,” Mickey Thibodeau, who now lives in Lake County, California. Actually, the photo comes from Mr. Thibodeau who received it from my cousin Cindy Jandreau. (Yep, the moose hunter.) The photo, taken in St. Francis toward Allagash, shows Mr. Thibodeau’s father, Phillip, and Clayton Jandreau (nearest truck), an uncle to Cindy and me. I am not sure when the photo was taken, but I am guess it had to be in the 1950s or ’60s.]

As I recall from family tales, one of the things my Grandfather and uncles did to get by was cut pulp to be used in mills. They used horses to haul the pulp from the woods to sidings or the nearest road where it was loaded – I am assuming usually loaded by hand – onto a truck to be taken to the mills. Of course, pulp is used for paper and other products.

I seem to recall a story my mother told me once that one of the horses they used to haul the pulp broke loose and was racing toward my Mom, who was pretty young at the time. If I recall the story correctly, one of her brothers threw her behind a fallen tree and the horse leaped over them and the fallen tree. It must have been a pretty exciting time for a little kid.

Mr. Thibodeau also mentioned an old parish hall in St. Francis my Uncle Warren – Clayton and my Mom’s brother and Cindy the Moose Hunter’s father – own and subsequently tore down. He later built a home there for himself, his wife Monica and their children.

I seem to recall that for a time – perhaps between when the building was used as a parish hall and when my Uncle Warren tore it down – that he ran a couple of businesses, including a barbershop and a pool hall/pinball parlor. I recall seeing photos of my first haircut and I am pretty sure Uncle Warren handled the shears that day. If the photos are any indication, I was not particularly pleased to get my hair trimmed.

For those who are unfamiliar with where St. Francis is located, it is on the border with Canada near where the St. Francis and St. John rivers meet. If you look at a map of the state, St. Francis is in the large notch at the northern border. Allagash, where the Allagash Wilderness Waterway ends to the north, is east of St. Francis. Fort Kent, Maine, to the east is where I was born.

Maine a leader in reducing carbon footprint

Clean air, clean water, clean everything is what I recall about living in Maine.

After all, I grew up in a small town in northern Aroostook County where traffic congestion pretty much happened only at the local general store where locals gathered for ice, milk and gossip. Or across the street at the local motel and restaurant that catered to people from away and locals alike.

A traffic “tie-up” happened when two friends driving in opposite directions stopped their vehicles in the middle of a town street to have a conversation about work, the weather, hunting or the cost of heating fuel. Or @#%* taxes. Local motorists coming upon such a scene tended to wait patiently or toot their vehicle’s horn in hello before driving onto the gravel shoulder to get around so as not to interrupt the conversation.

In Aroostook County, there are no smog warnings or “Spare the Air” days, and usually little need to run water through a treatment plant.

But things change over time. Population increases. More people means more vehicles means more gasoline used. More people means more energy needs means more petroleum products burned to make electricity. And those things mean more harmful emissions.

So, it is reassuring – but not particularly surprising given the type of people Mainers are – that a report released today shows that Maine is a leader when it comes to reducing its carbon footprint. That – and the state’s efforts in obtaining energy from alternatives such as wind and wave power – provides hope for sustainability in the long run in meeting energy needs through clean energy sources. And it means reducing greenhouse gases that help cause global warming.

The study – an analysis of U.S. Department of Energy data – shows that Maine’s carbon footprint was reduced by a larger proportion than any other state from 2004 to 2007, according to a Portland Press Herald story by staff writer John Richardson. Maine is leading the national trend for that period by dropping by 15 percent the carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas, according to the report by the Environment America Research and Policy Center.

That is a good start. But there is so much left to do.

Environmental advocates and state officials say those emissions still have to drop a lot lower in Maine and elsewhere in the United States to avoid such climate changes as rising seas and warmer, wetter weather.

“While that’s great, it’s also not enough. We need to keep going,” Katie Kokkinos, an advocate with Environment Maine, is quoted in the story. “The overall picture is, yes, we’re taking initiative and moving forward, but it’s still too slowly.”

Granted, there are other influences at work her, including the economic influences of higher oil prices.

But every effort toward the overall goal of global survival is well worth it and one part of that is reducing carbon dioxide emissions.