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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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Tag Archives: Houlton
I’m not sure how I missed this part of the NPR package on Interstate 95 the other day (Paying a local price for I-95’s global promise | NPR), especially since it includes information on where I grew up. I was born in Fort Kent, traveled to Caribou to eat and shop, and drove those roads in my late teens and early 20s.
Extending Interstate 95 to Fort Kent or Madawaska would be good for the region to get goods and services that far north and products back south, but the comments point out that there are other pressing needs as well.
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.
HOULTON, Maine — Although the potato fields aren’t as plentiful as they were 50 years ago, Houlton’s annual Potato Feast Days celebration is still a crowd pleaser for young and old.
Evidence of its popularity was on display Saturday, as hundreds of people flocked to downtown Market Square and to Community Park for the 51st annual celebration to laud the area’s most famous cash crop.
“We’ve had a wonderful day,” Lori Weston, the executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, said Saturday afternoon. “There are a lot of people in town.”
When the festival was first launched in 1959, farmers and potato fields abounded, and the fete was the last big celebration in the area before growers started harvesting. Although the celebration has changed over the years, many of the original activities are still in place.
Click for the rest of the story by Jen Lynds in the Bangor Daily News.
AMITY, Maine — Tips from the public could greatly assist investigators in solving a triple homicide at a trailer on U.S. Route 1 in which two men and a 10-year-old boy were stabbed to death, Maine State Police said Friday.
After a late-morning meeting among detectives at the Houlton barracks, state police Lt. Gary Wright said public involvement could be “huge” in helping authorities solve the crimes.
Evidence Response Team investigators continued on Friday to pore over the trailer where the bodies of Amity residents Jeffrey Ryan, 55, his son Jesse Ryan, 10, and Jason Dehahn, 30, were found at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The homicides most likely occurred in the early morning hours Wednesday, state police said.
The evidence response team at the scene on Friday appeared to collect several pieces of evidence from the driver’s side floor of a tan car Ryan owned that was parked outside of his trailer.
Police have received more than two dozen telephone calls reporting sightings of a blue-and-silver 1989 Ford F-150 pickup truck with license plate 4155RY missing from the home, but none that have led to the pickup, Wright said.
The truck has white-colored wheels in the front and silver in the back, and has orange running lights on top of the cab just above the windshield.
State police have posted a photo of a similar truck on the state of Maine and state police websites. Anyone who has seen the truck should call the Houlton barracks at 532-5400 or 911 on a cell phone.
Click on the link for the rest of the story by Jen Lynds and Nick Sambides Jr. of the Bangor Daily News. There is raw video at this link of Maine State Police Lt. Gary Wright, but the sound quality is not great.