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My name is Keith Michaud and this is “Letters From Away,” a blog written by a Mainer living outside the comfortable and sane confines of New England. The blog is intended for Mainers, whether they live in the Pine Tree State or beyond, and for anyone who has loved ’em, been baffled by ’em or both. Ayuh, I am “from away.” Worse still, I live on the Left Coast – in California. Enjoy! Or not. Your choice.
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Stuff people write
- How Maine Became a Laboratory for the Future of Public Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Angus King Urges Interior Department To Reconsider Offshore Drilling Proposal | Mainepublic.org
- Maine Voices: Higher education, employers must work together for bright future | Portland Press Herald
- Stunning reversal: McDaniels turns down Colts’ job to stay with Patriots | The Associated Press via the Portland Press Herald
- Kennebec River water levels could stay high into next week | Bangor Daily News
Daily Archives: August 28, 2010
Offering viewers a sneak peek of autumn: Dry summer gives some trees early start on foliage season | Portland Press Herald
The fall foliage season has started, at least for some trees.
Some species are turning yellow and shedding their foliage earlier than normal because of the dry summer. But forestry experts do not expect conditions to affect the prime leaf-peeping season.
“We have noticed it especially with paper and yellow birch,” said Bill Ostrofsky, a tree pathologist with the Maine Forest Service.
Touches of red and gold always appear on some trees in the Maine landscape in late August. But the dry conditions have led to more color this year. Until this week, no significant rain had fallen over much of the state since June.
The lack of water caused leaves to droop, then drop, on bushes and trees where the soil was especially dry.
Click for the rest of the story by Beth Quimby in the Portland Press Herald.
In the coffeehouse I was just struck by something, something I’m sure others have thought about. I’m suddenly concerned that a whole generation of American music lovers will think that The Who is covering the “CSI” theme song.
Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.
I find it, um, strange that the coffeehouse music includes a Peter Framptonesque talking guitar version of “Rocket Man.” There’s something very wrong about that.
Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.
BANGOR, Maine — The crowd began gathering around 4 p.m. to welcome the sixth annual American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront. With full sun, mid-80s temperatures and cloudless skies forecast for the weekend, the biggest party in Bangor was off to a rousing start for the nearly 100,000 people estimated to attend this year.
The Pride of Maine Black Bear Marching Band took formation in West Market Square around 6 p.m. and performed for a crowd of several hundred, some of whom arrived early to snag a seat at one of the downtown eateries. Band director Chris White stood atop a platform and conducted the band through a selection of pop hits and the ubiquitous “Maine Stein Song,” the anthem of the University of Maine.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Andrew Day, service manager at Paddy Murphy’s Pub, located just off West Market Square. “We had people get here early to watch the parade from inside. It’s definitely been a boon. West Market is the heart of downtown, and there’s nowhere else the festival should start.”
Click for the rest of the story by Emily Burnham in the Bangor Daily News, along with photos and video.
This NPR story caught my eye because Interstate 95 is the closest interstate highway to where I grew up in Aroostook County.
State Route 11 was the only paved road in and out of Portage, but as an adult I’ve lived in cities bisected by several interstate, U.S. and state highways.
Route 11 still is the only paved way in and out of Portage and I’m pretty sure no one living there is interested in adding any commuter lanes or interchanges or bypasses. My mother used to lament about the “traffic” on the road when we lived on Route 11 leading into Portage. There were too many logging trucks going too fast for her.
The northern terminus of I-95 is at Houlton, Aroostook County’s county seat and a border crossing into Canada. The oldest and longest of the interstates, I-95 runs from Houlton to southern Florida.
Whenever we wanted to visit points south we would drive south on frost-damaged state Route 11 – also known as the Aroostook Scenic Highway – through Ashland. Farther south we would turn east at Knowles Corner onto state Route 212 to Symrna Mills and onto southbound I-95. Or we would bypassed the Knowles Corner turnoff and continued on Route 11 through to Patten and then to I-95.
I’ve driven a lot of interstate highways in the past 30 or more years and I-95 through Maine’s North Woods must be among the most remote interstates in the continental United States. It was not uncommon to drive from Houlton, Symrna Mills or Patten and not see another vehicle for miles and miles of forest-lined concrete highway. It was difficult sometimes not to nod off just a bit and it is not unusual to come across a moose or black bear standing in the middle of the lanes.
From doorstep to Bangor was about a three-hour drive, with about two-thirds of that on I-95. There is a section that opens up just a bit and allows a scenic view of Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine and the official end of the Appalachian Trial. (Some believe the Appalachian Mountains actually continue to Mars Hill, Maine, and there was a report earlier this summer that a section of the mountain range was left behind in Europe when the tectonic plates shifted. Also, a few days ago I posted photos of Mount Katahdin taken by a high school classmate, Kelly McInnis. https://lettersfromaway.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/camping-in-maine-in-the-shadow-of-mount-katahdin/)
I-95 goes through or near such Maine communities as Old Town, Orono, Bangor, Waterville and Gardiner, where the road splits into I-95, which swung out to Lewiston, and I-295, which was a straighter shot to Portland, Kittery and the rest of New England and the World. It would take about six hours to drive from my home in Portage to Gorham, Maine, where the residential campus of the University of Southern Maine is located and where I attended college for a time.
The NPR story has a couple of nice features: a list of little known facts, an interactive map showing the construction of the highway over the decades, and a list of places along I-95 to visit.