Category Archives: Uncategorized

Maine’s greatest flower show happens on roadsides, not in gardens | Down East magazine

In a state where summer is famously unpredictable, you can bet on one thing: every road and hillside and meadow worth its salt from Kittery to Caribou will be aglow with purple spires in mid-June — the ramp-up to the summer solstice — when lupines come into flower.

During the two weeks or so when the great lupine show is going on, you’ll probably feel like the rest of us that this splendid creature deserves to be the Maine state flower, no question. It has every virtue, even apart from the dusky beauty of its blooms. It’s fragrant: sweet with a spicy, peppery edge. It’s tough, thriving in poor, sandy soil and indifferent to environmental insults like drought, insects, and disease. It’s variable enough to avoid monotony — ranging naturally from purple to white, pink, and a bright rosy hue just short of red — but these colors never clash and can even seem tastefully understated compared to, say, the glare of gladioli and geraniums.

Lupines are so much a part of the Maine scene that it’s startling to realize they haven’t always been here. The late Barbara Cooney, author of the children’s classic Miss Rumphius — the tale of the Lupine Lady who scattered seeds everywhere she went — recalled that in her girlhood lupines were not the ubiquitous roadside attraction we know today. “I remember when you first started seeing them, out in fields,” she said. “And that wasn’t that long ago.”

Clearly there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

Yes, there is. Read more of this story by Richard Grant in Down East magazine. The story has lovely photos by Susan Cole Kelly.

Katahdin’s Abol Trail closed for 2014 season | Bangor Daily News

Abol Trail, a popular hiking route up Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park, is closed for the 2014 season due to landslide activity that would make hiking dangerous, park officials announced Thursday.

“We’re most worried about having someone get hurt up there and not being able to help them,” said Baxter State Park Authority Director Jensen Bissell.

Late in the winter, debris began moving on Abol Slide, resulting in a debris field that could continue to shift in months to come. Not just rocks, but large boulders are currently unstable along the trail.

“Hundreds of rocks now — that are the size of your car — they’re gonna move,” Bissell said.

“This is likely to be a longer term closure,” he continued. “We need to evaluate this through the year.”

Hikers found on the trail during this closure will be subject to summons by law enforcement, a $200 fine, and they will be billed for the cost of any search and rescue expenses incurred on their behalf, according to Baxter State Park Authority.

Click here to view a video and read the rest of the story by Aislinn Sarnacki on the Bangor Daily News website.


Maine will always be home


This looks perfect for someone “from away.” I’ve never dealt with the company, so buyer beware, but I might have to drop $19.95 for a T-shirt that reads “No matter where I am, Maine will always be home.”

Will you always call Maine home, no matter where you are? Then you gotta get this new shirt!!

Normally $29.95, but since you love Wyoming, you can get it today for just $19.95 and have yourself a collectors item!

NOT IN STORES and this limited-edition offer is CLOSING SOON! Order yours now to avoid disappointment. Select your color Tee, V-neck or Hoodie and click on BUY NOW to choose your size.

Here’s a link to order.


Maine sits pretty when it comes to eating local

“Eat local,” they say—but where is local eating the easiest?

A Vermont-based group has released its annual ranking of states based on the availability of local food to the average citizen. It’s the third annual Locavore Index compiled by Strolling of the Heifers (here’s a hint for the complete story on where that quirky name came from: It’s a play on Pamplona’s running of the bulls).

So which states make it easiest to eat local? Here are the top 10:

1. Vermont
2. Maine
3. New Hampshire
4. Oregon
5. Hawaii
6. Rhode Island
7. North Dakota
8. Wisconsin
9. Montana
10. Iowa

Here’s the whole story by Jason Best, a regular contributor to TakePart.

The Art of Giving Gala

The Art of Giving Gala


In celebration of our 60th anniversary, Down East is partnering with 6 Maine artists to raise $60,000 for 6 Maine charities.

Thursday, August 14, 2014
5:30-9:00 p.m.
The Portland Company Marine Complex
Plentiful hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and cocktails
Special performance by Gunther Brown

Alex Katz, Angela Adams, Barbara Ernst Prey, Eric Hopkins, William Wegman and an up-and-coming artist from Maine College of Art.

Admission ticket includes: hors’ d’oeuvres, beer, wine, and cocktails. Each admission ticket can be exchanged at the event for one (1) Art of Giving raffle ticket entitling you to a chance to win the featured artists’ work. (No more than 1000 tickets will be sold)

Continue reading

“Summer Art Preview: New shows opening in Portland, Rockport and Ogunquit” | Maine Today

We’ve heard for years that painting is dead.

Not so fast.

The early-summer season at Maine museums is full of what should be terrific art exhibitions spotlighting some of Maine’s best known and most accomplished painters. There are other exhibitions as well, including a major examination of Shaker objects and lifestyle, a focus on art and jazz and a deep examination of sculptor Bernard Langlais.

Follow this link to read the rest of this piece by Bob Keyes in Maine Today.

Deadline nears for Life is Better Contest

Deadline nears for Life is Better Contest

Only one day left to be entered in the Life is Better with MPBN Contest. Please don’t miss your chance!

Make a gift to MPBN before 8:30pm May 31 and you will automatically be entered in MPBN’s Sixth Annual Life is Better with MPBN Contest.

There will be one Grand Prize winner of a 2014 Nissan Juke S, generously donated by Lee Auto Malls of Maine, and two Second Prize winners of a Sugarloaf Weekend getaway and golf package.

You can be entered in the contest and support MPBN right now by clicking on the support button below and making a safe and secure on-line donation to MPBN.

Thanks and good luck!

Vacation, Day 1

Vacation, Day 1: Nothing accomplished. So far, #vacation is a success!

There is more to come

Greetings! I have not updated this in a while, but I fully intend to in the coming weeks. First, I am no longer with the Central Valley Business Journal. I am now a Media Relations Coordinator for the University of the Pacific, and I’m very pleased about that.

I spent about 25 years in newspapers as a staff writer, copy editor, columnist, assistant news editor, opinion page editor, assistant city editor, and finally editor of the Central Valley Business Journal. It was time to move on and it is proving and will continue to prove to be a very positive thing for me.

In coming weeks I will post work I did at the CVBJ and some of the stories I am working on at Pacific. It is an exciting time for me and I look forward to the future.

Gooooooooooooooooooooooo PATS!!

Gooooooooooooooooooooooo PATS!!

Essay: What Makes a National Park?

Essay: What Makes a National Park?.

MaineToday Media laying off 38 newspaper employees | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

MaineToday Media laying off 38 newspaper employees | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Coffeehouse observation No. 328 – Like, um, cut it out!

If the woman at the next table uses the phrase “like, um, you know” one more time, I may need to scratch up some bail money. Can I count on donations?

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

All rights reserved by Keith Michaud ©

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Maine Gov. LePage ‘bureaucrats’ memo stirs up more controversy | Bangor Daily News

Maine Gov. LePage ‘bureaucrats’ memo stirs up more controversy | Bangor Daily News

[Maine’s new governor gets scarier and scarier every time he or someone on his staff puts their foot in his mouth. – KM]

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 9,000 times in 2010. That’s about 22 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 1552 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1693 posts. There were 138 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 21mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 5th with 225 views. The most popular post that day was Women march topless in Portland without incident | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for moxie, topless march maine, portland maine topless march, women march topless in portland without incident, and malaga island.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Women march topless in Portland without incident | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram April 2010


Festival celebrates Moxie, Maine’s state beverage | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram July 2010


Topless march draws crowd, cameras, but remains peaceful | Lewiston Sun Journal May 2010


Topless march draws crowd in Maine college town | Bangor Daily News April 2010


Big name concerts coming to Bangor waterfront | Bangor Daily News June 2010

Winter fishing season kicks off in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Winter fishing season kicks off in Maine | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Santa, all I want for Christmas is a bit of economic bliss: P.S. And don’t even think about re-gifting 2010 or 2009

Dear Santa:

How are ya, ya ol’ stout coot? I truly hope things are wonderful up at the North Pole and that you’ve been catching a bit of rest before your Christmas Eve jaunt. I know there’s lots of work involved – or so your flack factory spins us to believe – and the schedule must be pretty hectic.

I know it’s been awhile since I last wrote. After all, I haven’t worn footy-pajamas in years. Really. Please don’t take the lapse in correspondence as an indication of some Santa slight. I’ve been busy. Sort of, anyway.

But what you really want to know – and I know you’ll be checking twice – is whether I’ve been naughty or nice. Nice. Very, very nice. I put the “nice” in, well, “nice.’ I’m the nicest guy I know. Really I am. Come to think of it, I put the “nice” in “nicest,” too.

So, let’s get underway on this year’s Christmas list.

First, peace on Earth. Let’s start with peace in the Middle East and Afghanistan and a bit more peace still in Iraq. And good will toward men – servicemen, to be specific, and servicewomen. It still isn’t “Mission Accomplished,” but American servicemen and women have given their all – sadly for some, their very all – and it is time to get them back home. They deserve it. Their families deserve it. This nation deserves it. Sure, it may take a bit longer still, but surely there is something you can do to hurry things along, Saint Nick. Give it the ol’ college try, won’t you.

My family and friends each should have something nice this year. Everyone I know and love deserves good health, much happiness, and abundant prosperity. Everyone I know and love deserves these things because health, happiness and prosperity have been lacking a bit this past year. I hope you can amp up things a bit in the coming year.

Speaking of that, Jolly One, do you take returns? Because someone really botched 2010. Well, and 2009. Come to think of it, Kriss Kringle, someone royally screwed up quite a few years lately when it comes to the economy. Oh, sure, there were massive gifts to the auto industry and to Wall Street bankers and someone seems to have gifted the federal government with a passel of people who can’t seem to keep track of millions and millions of federal money, but what about we common folk? Sure, the federal tax break extension also includes an extension of unemployment insurance. But can’t we see a little more holiday spirit when it comes to the economy? And don’t be re-gifting the past year, either. That just wouldn’t be acceptable.

OK, I’m being a little selfish here. After all, I was laid off in March 2009 and am still looking for a job. But it is time that we get the 15 million or so unemployed Americans in this country back to work. That would be a lovely Christmas present. I could really use a job, Santa. Really.

And one more thing – and this is sort of a request for a long-term gift. The environment has taken some major, major hits since we humans started standing upright. From the North Pole you probably have the best view of the devastation we humans have wrought. So, please bring us cleaner air and water, fewer chemicals in the things we eat, drink, wear and otherwise use every day, and true sustainability in everyday life. Essentially, Santa, I’m looking for you to give us a better future on this marble we call Earth.

Well, Santa, the list is pretty short, but it covers the big stuff – better economy, no re-gifting of 2010, 2009, etc., health, happiness and prosperity for family and friends, a job, and a greener, sustainable future. I suppose if you must whittle down the list, why don’t you keep everything else and give us peace and tickets home for the servicemen and women who have given so much of themselves for the past decade or so.

That’s it, Santa. Say hi to Mrs. Claus and all the elves and scratch the reindeer under their chins. And have a safe journey on Christmas Eve.



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Portage Lake axes indicate trade link | Bangor Daily News

[This is a cool story for those who know Portage and Portage Lake. Of course, “portage” is the French word used for the act of carrying a canoe or other boat overland, which would happen when travelers had to move from one body of water to another. This is where I grew up. Jim Dumond was a longtime game warden in the area and I believe owned Dean’s Motor Lodge for a while. And the Gagnon name is a very familiar one in Portage. It will be interesting to see just how far back they can track these artifacts and if there are any more there. — KM]

PORTAGE, Maine — Every object passing through a person’s hands has a story to tell.

Sometimes those stories are centuries in the making and take years to tell themselves. Just ask Jim Dumond and Antoine Gagnon of Portage whose story of trade between two nations and two hand-forged axes dates back to the mid-1600s.

The axes initially were discovered in the 1950s on a piece of land known locally as Indian Point on the banks of Portage Lake.

“My grandfather Fred Cliff was clearing some land in between two camps, and the fellow he hired to pull stumps turned over some dirt and there were these old iron axes,” Fred Edgecombe of Kure Beach, N.C., said during a phone interview Saturday.

Now retired, Edgecombe owns one of those camps and has one of the axes.

“In the late 1970s my cousin got the larger of the two axes and I got the smaller one, and we’ve been sitting on them ever since,” Edgecombe said. “Nobody had much of an interest in them and all of sudden, it’s like, ‘Wow, people are interested.’”

In fact, Dumond and Gagnon are very interested in the axes and what they represent.

Last summer the two men got a good look at the old tools and, thanks to some intensive research on the Internet, were able to match the symbols on the blades, indicating they had been crafted from iron ore mined in Spain around 1640.

“These trade axes are just awesome,” Gagnon said. “They looked like a metal hatchet, [and] on the sides were stamped a cross within a circle.”

According to Dumond and Gagnon, the trade axes — so called because French and British trappers and colonists traded them for furs with the area’s Native American residents — probably found their way to northern Maine thanks to the Acadians who came to Maine around that time.

Both men say they have Acadian and Native roots in their family genealogies and are fascinated by what the blades represent.

Click for the rest of the story by Julia Bayly in the Bangor Daily News.


Maine moose season yields stories of success | Bangor Daily News

For the better part of a week, Shandy Schroder had a moose hunt that many would have described as miserable. The weather was foul. And the moose didn’t cooperate.

“Come the end of the week, everyone starts wondering,” the Bangor woman said. “I never said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to get a moose.’ I kind of tried to stay positive and said, ‘I’m not going to see anything if I’m not out there hunting.’

On Tuesday it rained. On Wednesday her rifle scope broke. On Friday the remnants of a tropical storm rolled through.

And still, she left the comfortable Ludlow camp she and her husband, Matthew, own, and went hunting.

“Rain, shine, mud, tired, hungry, I went out there,” she said.

Friday, she said, was the worst day of the week.

“I couldn’t have been any wetter if I had fallen in the pond. I was soaked. But I was still out there, every day,” she said.

When Saturday, the final day of her six-day season, dawned brighter — and without rain — Schroder rose early … again … and headed back into the woods, hoping for the best.

Chick for the rest of the column by John Holyoke in the Bangor Daily News.

Moose beckons Conn. wildlife photographer to Baxter | Bangor Daily News

For information about John Fast and to see more of his photos, visit or For information about the Digital Imaging Association, visit