Closer look at a nurse, Ebola and the contagion of fear

The Portland Press Herald over the past couple of days have put together several stories and op-ed pieces to look closer at a Maine nurse, Kaci Hickox, and the frenzy of fear surrounding the chances Ebola could spread in Maine. Hickox is from the city where I was born, Fort Kent, and I still have family in the area. My mother travels there every couple of weeks to visit with them. Of course, I’m concerned for health of all of them. But neither Ebola nor Hickox are the greatest threats to my family. Here are links to several of the pieces by the Press Herald:

Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox speaks out | Portland Press Herald

Close-knit Fort Kent finds itself split by a frenzy from away | Portland Press Herald

Bill Nemitz: Suit up, Maine, in case governor’s ignorance of contagion is contagious | Portland Press Herald

Bill Maher, Angus King discuss Hickox, Ebola on HBO show | Portland Press Herald

Our View: Maine’s Ebola reaction based on fear, not science | Portland Press Herald

Ashland soccer teams use strong defensive efforts to gain berths in EM ‘D’ finals | Star Herald via Bangor Daily News

I played soccer for Ashland before there was a girls team. The passage of time has dented my memory, but I recall that there were nine or so seniors my last year there and we went undefeated. We had a heartbreaking defeat in the playoffs, but I often think about those days.

ASHLAND — Stifling defensive efforts led the Ashland varsity soccer teams to victories over Fort Fairfield Saturday and berths into Wednesday’s Eastern Maine Class D championship.

The Hornet girls came through with a 2-0 win in the opener, and then the boys prevailed, 3-1. The top-seeded and now 16-0 Ashland girls will next host No. 2 Penobscot Valley of Howland, another undefeated team, for the Class D regional title, while the boys, ranked third, will be on the road to take on No. 1 Bangor Christian.

Shots on goal were hard to come by for the visiting Tigers in both contests. Fort Fairfield managed only one in the girls’ game and just five in the boys’ game as the Hornet defense was brilliant all afternoon.

In the first game, the Ashland girls showed off a defense that has now shut out nine consecutive opponents. The last goal the team allowed came on Sept. 18 at Washburn. Since then, the Hornets have outscored the opposition, 63-0.

“We just try to work together and try to cover each other when we can,” said junior defender Laura Sturgeon, who fulfilled her assignment of bottling up one of the Tigers’ scoring aces, Chelsey Pelkey.

Read more of this story by Kevin Sjoberg on the Bangor Daily News website.

What’s going on with my alma mater?

Here are a couple of opinion pieces about what’s going on at my alma mater, University of Southern Maine. I attended USM in the early 1980s before traveling to California to attend California State University, Chico.

Greater Portland’s economy needs the graduate-level science program USM eliminated | Bangor Daily News

Let’s preserve USM. Future students deserve the chance I had to succeed | Bangor Daily News

Window to the Woods with Rhon Bell: Fall hiking and wine tasting in coastal Camden | Maine Today

What do a quintessential Maine hike with near-peak-foliage views, a quiet yet bustling coastal town and an amazing wine-tasting experience all have in common? They are all a quick drive up Rt. 1 in Camden. This streets of this picturesque coastal town are simply a stone’s throw away from all that Maine has to offer, and today that’s an amazing hike. Today’s plan is a packed one. My advice: Get an early start on the day and try to hit everything.

Nice photos from Camden in this blog.

Lakes, Islands, Mountains, Moosehead | Maine magazine

The ancient mountains and cliffs above Moosehead are tempting us. How do we get closer? For starters, we’ll need a motorboat and a floatplane.

Nearly 70 years old, the old bird just doesn’t want to start when it’s this hot outside.Pilot John Willard explains the situation while we sit behind him in the narrow cockpit of his 1947 Piper floatplane.

The engine isn’t turning after two, three, and four tries. Hot is a relative term—it’s mid-70s at most on this early summer evening—but this is northern Maine. Earlier, on the drive up Route 15, we’d stopped for a cone of maple-nut ice cream at a take-out, and I heard another customer complaining of the day’s “oppressive” temperatures. Willard admits he’s no fan of steamy weather himself. (Much of the year, this is snowmobile territory, and sleds fly across the frozen-solid lake.)

Read more of this nice travel piece on Moosehead Lake by Sandy Lang with photography by Peter Frank Edwards in the September 2914 issue of Maine magazine.

University of the Pacific: A college with an East Coast feel, but California weather

I was hired a year and a half ago as the media relations coordinator at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, with campuses in Sacramento and San Francisco. It was founded in 1851 and is the oldest chartered university in California. Read more about University of the Pacific at www.pacific.edu.

The university is known for – among other things – the beautiful campus in Stockton, where it moved in 1924. Lots of brick buildings that give it a definite East Coast/Ivy League look and feel. It also reminds me of the Gorham campus of University of Southern Maine where I attended college before moving to California. Take a look at Pacific’s campus:

A popular photo spot is on the east side of campus near Pacific Avneue. That’s Smith Gate – I believe it is named so because mountain man Jedediah Smith once camped along the Calaveras River that flows through campus – in the foreground, Faye Spanos Concert Hall (left), and Robert E. Burns Tower. The visitor center is located on the first floor of Burns Tower.

A popular photo spot is on the east side of campus near Pacific Avneue. That’s Smith Gate – I believe it is named so because mountain man Jedediah Smith once camped along the Calaveras River that flows through campus – in the foreground, Faye Spanos Concert Hall (left), and Robert E. Burns Tower. The visitor center is located on the first floor of Burns Tower.

Faye Spanos Concert Hall is the home of Pacific’s Conservatory of Music, the oldest conservatory in the Western United States. Conservatory students perform concerts for the community in Fay Spanos Concert Hall.

Faye Spanos Concert Hall is the home of Pacific’s Conservatory of Music, the oldest conservatory in the Western United States. Conservatory students perform concerts for the community in Fay Spanos Concert Hall.

Robert E. Burns Tower is a landmark for the campus and surrounding community.

Robert E. Burns Tower is a landmark for the campus and surrounding community.

Robert E. Burns Tower seen from Knoles Lawn.

Robert E. Burns Tower seen from Knoles Lawn.

Morris Chapel is the site of many weddings, memorial services, holiday concerts and other events.

Morris Chapel is the site of many weddings, memorial services, holiday concerts and other events.

Morris Chapel is the site of many weddings, memorial services, holiday concerts and other events.

Morris Chapel is adorned with lovely stained-glass windows.

Knoles Hall was one of the first buildings on campus when the university was moved to Stockton in 1924. it was featured recently – for the second time in recent years – on the cover of a Pottery Barn catalog.

Knoles Hall was one of the first buildings on campus when the university was moved to Stockton in 1924. it was featured recently – for the second time in recent years – on the cover of a Pottery Barn catalog.

Weber Hall is home of the award winning Eberhardt School of Business.

Weber Hall is home of the award winning Eberhardt School of Business.

These columns, found between Knoles Hall (background) and the University Library, were salvaged when a library in Stockton was being torn down. This is another popular photo spot or simply to sit and relax.

These columns, found between Knoles Hall (background) and the University Library, were salvaged when a library in Stockton was being torn down. This is another popular photo spot or simply to sit and relax.

Not all the buildings on campus are old. The DeRosa University Center, home to dining facilities, gathering places, conference center and the bookstore, is one of several LEED-certified buildings on campus.

Not all the buildings on campus are old. The DeRosa University Center, home to dining facilities, gathering places, conference center and the bookstore, is one of several LEED-certified buildings on campus.

The Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House is another.

The Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House is another.

And the John T. Chambers Technology Center is certified LEED Gold.

And the John T. Chambers Technology Center is certified LEED Gold.

Not far from the DeRosa University Center is a small redwood grove that includes art and picnic tables. It’s a perfect place for a quiet lunch or time for reflection.

Not far from the DeRosa University Center is a small redwood grove that includes art and picnic tables. It’s a perfect place for a quiet lunch or time for reflection.

The trees along this walkway on the south part of campus turn bright orange later in the fall. It is a nice reminder of New England.

The trees along this walkway on the south part of campus turn bright orange later in the fall. It is a nice reminder of New England.

There are several rose gardens on campus. They add color and fragrance to the campus beauty.
There are several rose gardens on campus. They add color and fragrance to the campus beauty.

About University of the Pacific

Established in 1851 as the first chartered university in California, University of the Pacific prepares students for professional and personal success through rigorous academics, small classes, and a supportive and engaging culture. Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West, the Stockton campus offers more than 80 undergraduate majors in arts and sciences, music, business, education, engineering and computer science, and pharmacy and health sciences. The university’s distinctive Northern California footprint also includes the acclaimed Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco and the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. For more information, visit www.pacific.edu.

Other links:

Pacific Mission and History:

http://www.pacific.edu/About-Pacific/History-and-Mission.html

Pacific has been the backdrop for several Hollywood films:

http://www.pacific.edu/About-Pacific/History-and-Mission/Hollywood-at-Pacific.html

Pacific’s alumni of distinction include many respected business owners, scholars, athletes, writers, artists … and an astronaut:

http://www.pacific.edu/About-Pacific/Success-Stories/Alumni-of-Distinction.html

Here are some of Pacific’s success stories:

http://www.pacific.edu/About-Pacific/Success-Stories.html

Follow us on Twitter @UOPacific or like us on Facebook.

Whether Decaf Or Regular, Coffee Seems To Be Good For Your Liver | HuffPost Healthy Living

See, coffee is health food!

Drinking decaffeinated coffee is just as helpful as drinking regular coffee is for maintaining a healthy liver, a new study finds.

Regardless of whether they drank decaf or regular, people in the study who drank large quantities of coffee on a daily basis had lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes, the researchers found. This suggests that a chemical in coffee other than caffeine may help the liver, the researchers said.

Other studies have found that drinking coffee is associated with lower risks of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

“Prior research found that drinking coffee may have a possible protective effect on the liver,” lead researcher Dr. Qian Xiao, of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a statement. “However, the evidence is not clear if that benefit may extend to decaffeinated coffee.”

Read more of this story by Laura Geggel on HuffPost Healthy Living.

‘Months later, I realized what we did’: Former Loring airman turns tale of daring mid-air rescue into book, movie | Bangor Daily News

I grew up in Portage, a little over an hour’s drive from where Loring Air Force Base was located. I recall seeing B-52s on training missions flying by overhead. This is a cool story of bravery.

Ron Craft of Ansonia, Connecticut, says he is neither a writer nor a public speaker, but his passion to share the story of an air rescue he witnessed as a 23-year-old stationed at Loring Air Force Base in Limestone has compelled him to be both.

It is the story of heroic valor executed with such calm competence that only in retrospect did Craft recognize the significance of what he had observed.

“I was inexperienced,” he said in a recent interview. “I didn’t know that they don’t do this on a regular basis. Everyone did his job professionally, as though rehearsed. I’m thinking, ‘Man, we have a cool job.’ But this is not in any manuals. Months later, I realized what we did.”

And 31 years later, he is translating his admiration for military bravery into a book and a movie about the experience, with help from California-based screenwriter and producer Mark Roemmich, president and CEO of Noble House Entertainment. Titled “Hell Over High Water,” the project represents the culmination of 12 years of effort by Craft to record his memory of a dramatic mid-air maneuver that changed his life.

Read more of this story by Kathryn Olmstead in the Bangor Daily News.

Exhibition focuses on the Holocaust: Artists explore in a deeply personal way a dark blot on history | Portland Press Herald

WISCASSET — Leonard Meiselman settled in his New York studio one day in 2000 with a brush in his right hand, his oil paints before him and a canvas in front of him. He wanted to paint what he had painted for years: Something abstract. Instead, he painted a prayer shawl from Auschwitz.

For the next three years, he painted prayer shawls. When he moved to Maine two years ago, he thought he had long put the shawls behind him.

“I came to Maine to paint the trees,” he said.

But, when he settled in the basement studio of his house on a tidal marsh in Wiscasset, the shawls emerged.

“I couldn’t stop,” he said. “It was obsessive.”

The dark, thickly painted shawls, which sometimes reveal a human face and eyes, are part of a group exhibition at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine.

“The Dilemma of Memory,” on view through November, also includes the work of other Maine visual artists and poets responding to the Holocaust. The title of show refers to our conflict, as humans, in remembering a horror so great as the Holocaust, a genocide that resulted in the death at the hands of the Nazis of 6 million Jews during World War II.

Read more of this story by Bob Keyes in the Portland Press Herald.

Watch Your Step: A Hike on the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park | Trailmix, the L.L. Bean blog

L.L. Bean and Acadia National Park are truly Maine fixtures. And I’m becoming a fan of the L.L. Bean blog.

Our Employee Outing Club takes dozens of trips every year – everything from skiing and snowshoeing in the winter to hiking, paddling and camping in the summer. A recent trip took a group of L.L.Bean employees up the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park, where a steep and rocky hike led them to picturesque views of Down East Maine. The Precipice Trail is the most challenging hike in the park and only recommended for experienced hikers who aren’t afraid of heights! These L.L.Bean employees were ready for the challenge.

Read more of this entry in the L.L. Bean blog and see some great photos of Acadia National Park.

Cruise ships ordering up Maine lobsters by the thousands | Portland Press Herald

Cruise ships are continuing to stoke their passengers’ appetites for Maine lobster.

Celebrity Cruises ordered 1,600 lobsters for delivery Friday to its 2,000-passenger boat, the Celebrity Summit. When the ship returns to Portland later this month, it plans to buy another 1,600 lobsters. That’s on top of the 640 lobsters the company bought last month, according to a press release from U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.

Two years ago, Pingree wrote to the chief executives of several major cruise ship companies urging them to buy local lobsters while in port. At the time, there was a glut of lobster, depressing prices for the entire industry.

Celebrity and Norwegian cruise lines responded by buying Maine lobsters. Others have as well.

Erik Elvejord, a spokesman from Seattle-based Holland America Line, which brings approximately 35,000 passengers to Bar Harbor and Portland each year, said they continue to make an effort to buy local lobster during stops in Maine.

“It was a positive thing for both sides of the equation,” Elvejord said. “There’s no question that people enjoy eating their lobster, and it’s great to get great local fish, and certainly help out the local lobstermen.”

Read more of this story by Jennifer Van Allen in the Portland Press Herald.

Potato Harvest Schools Maine Teens in Hard Work | The Associated Press via ABC News

A fall rite of passage in The County. I did this as a kid. Crazy hard work for just a few pennies a barrel. Family legend says that my grandfather on my dad’s side could stack three full barrels of potatoes one on top of the other single-handedly. – Keith

In the gentle hills of northern Maine, far from the rocky coastline and lighthouses, teenagers trade warm classrooms for cold potato fields every fall, just as they have for generations.

Schools shut down — sometimes for weeks at a time — while their students haul in the harvest or monitor conveyor belts for potatoes that don’t measure up as farmers rush to fill their stores before the ground freezes.

But as farm operations consolidate and heavy machinery make them more efficient, farmers wonder how much longer there will be a place for the harvest breaks that as little as 20 years ago saw kids hand-picking potatoes for 50 cents a barrel.

“Eventually it’ll probably fade away,” said Wayne Garrison, the 72-year-old co-owner of Garrison Farms, which hired eight high school students to help harvest its 700 acres of potatoes. “I’d hate to see it go, I really would.”

Up until the 1940s, Maine was the nation’s potato capital and Aroostook County — a place so vast that it’s about the same size as the combined states of Connecticut and Rhode Island — is still home to roughly 50,000 acres of potato farms. Nearly a dozen high schools here emptied for this year’s harvest — fewer than the old days, when virtually all schools shut down.

Read the rest of this story by David Sharp of The Associated Press.

Culinary boom in Portland, Maine | The Boston Globe

The “culinary boom” in Portland this story tells about really began in the 1980s and probably earlier. Sometimes it takes a while to build a boom that people from away notice. — Keith

PORTLAND — There was a line of people waiting to nab a precious seat and a basket of fries at Duckfat. At Eventide, a handsome, square-jawed photographer from Travel + Leisure magazine shot lobster rolls as the lunch crowd slurped oysters. Later that night, there wasn’t a seat to be found at Central Provisions as diners grazed on small plates of bluefin tuna crudo.

This is what it looks like when a small city becomes an innovative and nationally recognized hub of cuisine. You can finish lunch feeling like an over-stuffed throw pillow, but walk a few yards, and you spot a shop that sells doughnuts topped with vanilla glaze and sea salt. I dare you to pass by and not try a bite. That one bite then turns into a sweet potato doughnut, which naturally leads to gelato.

Why did I leave those poly-blend slacks with the elastic waistband at home?

“We have a lot of people coming in asking where they should go to eat,” said Johanna Corman, an owner of the recently opened soda bar Vena’s Fizz House in Old Port. “I don’t know what to tell them. How do you pick just one?”

That’s easy: You don’t. Portland is a gastro-tourism paradise. Set aside as many days as you can and stuff yourself silly. Before I could cram another heirloom tomato salad in my maw, the person sitting next to me was telling me that I must try the pizza at Slab or the wood-roasted clams at Lolita Vinoteca + Asador.

Read more of this story by Christopher Muther in The Boston Globe.

National Coffee Day! Here’s a list of freebies | USA Today

Happy National Coffee Day! I knew there was a reason I took the day off from work!

LePage among 10 governors facing tough fights to stay in office | The Washington Post via the Bangor Daily News

The most embattled collection of politicians this fall are neither members of the Senate nor the House. That distinction falls upon the nation’s governors. Compared with elected officials in Washington, incumbent governors are struggling disproportionately.

The Cook Political Report lists nine incumbent governors in tossup races and another as a clear underdog. That group of 10 includes seven Republicans and three Democrats. That’s the most ever dating back years of Cook Report analyses, according to Cook’s Jennifer Duffy. Another Democratic incumbent — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie — is already on the sidelines after losing his primary earlier this year.

The Rothenberg Political Report rates the races on a different scale and differs in some small ways from the Cook analysis, but it comes to a similar conclusion about the competitive nature of the races in the states: It’s a tough year to be a governor.

Voters often say they prefer their state or local elected officials to their Washington representatives. That may still be the case, theoretically. But the fact that this many are on the watch list provides one more indicator that voters in both red and blue states are unhappy.

At this point, the Republican incumbents who face serious competition include: Rick Scott in Florida; Scott Walker in Wisconsin; Rick Snyder in Michigan; Nathan Deal in Georgia; Sam Brownback in Kansas; Paul LePage in Maine; and Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania. Democrats with competitive races include Pat Quinn of Illinois; Dan Malloy of Connecticut; and John Hickenlooper of Colorado.

Read more of this story by Dan Balz, The Washington Post.

Poll shows tightening race for Maine governor: Mike Michaud leads Paul LePage by 2 points, with Eliot Cutler well behind | Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

Disclaimer: I am not related to Mike Michaud, as far as I can tell. (There are many people in Maine with the last name Michaud.) However, if I was a Maine voter, I might fall under the anti-LePage category.

The race for governor has tightened. Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud has a slight but statistically insignificant lead over Republican Gov. Paul LePage with 37 days remaining before Election Day, according to a new poll commissioned by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

The poll, which surveyed 482 likely voters on landlines and cellphones from Sept. 18 to 25, shows Michaud leading LePage 40 percent to 38 percent, with independent Eliot Cutler drawing 12 percent.

Michaud’s 2-point lead is less than the 4-point advantage he had in the newspaper’s last poll, conducted June 12 to 18. His June lead and the new margin are both within the polls’ 4.4 percent margins of error.

The poll and interviews with poll respondents suggest that the governor’s best hope for re-election still hinges on dividing the opposition vote between Michaud and Cutler.

It’s working. Michaud benefits from the anti-LePage vote, but he has not pulled away from the governor even as support for Cutler has stagnated. In addition, in a sharp reversal from the Press Herald poll conducted in June, Michaud is now virtually tied with LePage when respondents are asked to predict who will win the race. Ten percent of voters said they were undecided about the race, although the electorate is paying more attention to the race. Forty-nine percent said they have definitely decided whom they will vote for, 21 percent said they are leaning toward a candidate, and 30 percent are still trying to decide.

Read more of this story by Steve Mistler. There are links from this story to other stories on the race.

‘It’s going to take a lot of work’: Railway owner dreams of passenger service from Portland to Montreal | WGME via Bangor Daily News

FRYEBURG, Maine — Critics say it can’t be done, but if the owners of a proposed passenger train service are able to pull it off, it could bring hundreds of jobs and thousands of tourists to Maine. The last time the tracks in Fryeburg were used to carry passengers from Portland to Montreal, Canada, was in 1959. Now, 55 years later, plans are in the works to bring passenger train service back, linking Portland to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and to Montreal.

“I think this area needs that. I think the country needs that,” says Lisa Johnson of Chocorua, New Hampshire.

She’s already imagining how nice it would be to take a train to the Fryeburg Fair instead of fighting all that traffic.

“It’s a more relaxed way to travel,” she added. “You’re not fighting the traffic. You’re sitting back and relaxing, enjoying it.”

Better still, the president of Golden Eagle Railway says the new rail service would generate 200 full time jobs with benefits.

Read more here.

Hiking the Bold Coast on the Eastern Edge of Maine | The L.L. Bean Blog

Check this out:

Hiking the Bold Coast on the Eastern Edge of Maine | The L.L. Bean Blog

Maine envisioned as a magnet for growth, talent | Portland Press Herald

FREEPORT — More than 200 entrepreneurs, educators, legislators, investors and leaders of businesses and nonprofits gathered Friday for Envision Maine: a daylong summit to promote Maine’s economic future.

While conversations about how to support business growth are constantly occurring, the purpose of the gathering was to catalyze a collective effort to nourish that growth and encourage more.

“Innovation is not a new idea in Maine,” Alan Caron, president of Envision Maine, told a standing room only crowd at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport.

“What is new is being intentional about building innovation through the entire state … and redefining Maine as an entrepreneurial place and a magnet for startups.”

U.S. Sen. Angus King set the tone for the day. While acknowledging Maine’s demographic challenges, he said the state already has some of the most critical raw materials with which to grow and prosper.

Read more of this story by Jennifer Van Allen.

Coffeehouse Observation No. 360 – Well, aren’t you Mr. Highsocks

You missed it! Guy just walked into a Starbucks in north Stockton wearing T-shirt, shorts, running shoes … and knee-high black socks. It was a fashion statement, I think. … Too quick for a photo, I’m afraid. … But there are some things that you simply cannot un-see.