Yesterday for 5/11/17


10 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

   CALAIS — A look at life through the eyes of a Passamaquoddy tribal elder.

  It was Nicholas who gave the commencement address. Interspersed between his words of wisdom was some of the humor for which Nicholas is known. “This is an honor at the age of 82 going on 42 to address such a distinguished group,” he said. “I have a breathing problem and somebody said, ‘Thank God, it’s going to be a short speech.'”

  Nicholas was born and raised at Pleasant Point. He entered high school in the early 1940s but didn’t graduate until 1951. “Talk about a slow learner,” he joked with the graduates.

  In between starting high school and graduating, Nicholas fought in World War II.

  According to his biography, which was included in the program, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1942.

  During his tour of duty he served aboard the USS Curtis, an aircraft tender in the Pacific theater. His ship was involved in a number of actions including battles at Guam, Saipan and Okinawa. The USS Curtis survived a kamikaze attack that he said, “put a big hole in her,” the program stated.

  After his discharge, he returned to Shead Memorial High School and earned his high school diploma. He then went to barber school, working first in Bangor, later in Eastport. “That’s when I followed in the trail of my ancestors: I scalped every darn one who came in,” he said to huge laughter and applause.

  Nicholas served as the tribal representative to the Maine Legislature for 12 years. Throughout his lifetime, he has devoted himself to preserving the culture of the Passamaquoddy people. He reintroduced tribal music and dances and founded the Waponahki Museum at Pleasant Point.

  Speaking to more than 160 graduates and hundreds of family members and friends, Nicholas offered insight into Passamaquoddy life.

  “I am a Passamaquoddy man, an elder that is proud of my tribe’s history and culture,” he said. “In my culture, as in others, we have stories that have been handed down for many, many generations. These stories help to see our path with clearer eyes, so that we will not stray too far from the path the Great Father has prepared for our steps.” He then told the graduates his story about World War II and his eventual return to Eastport as a barber.

  He told the students it was up to each of them to make their mark. “[Hard] work and determination is a virtue that can carry you to many places,” he said.

  Nicholas received a standing ovation.


 ORRINGTON — Thirteen months and 28 days.

 That’s how long Fred Hardin, 74, of Orrington fought in the Korean War during the early 1950s.

  To Hardin every day he was in Korea was a battle, and there are days when he still struggles with his hidden combat scars.

  “It was called a police action, not a war,” he told eight eighth-graders at Center Drive School on Friday as part of a project to videotape veterans’ stories. “Twenty-two nations, for the first time, came together under the United Nations flag.”

  He stood before the pupils with a U.S. flag hanging behind him and a Korean veteran hat on his head, recalling moments that were graphic and others that made his eyes well with tears.

  Hardin, who turned 22 while in basic training, was trained by the Army to be an engineer.

  The war began when North Korean Communists invaded South Korea in June 1950. Hardin arrived in May 1952.

  He spent much of his time fighting along Big and Little Nori, a row of Korean mountains, first attacking and taking, defending and then retaking portions of the peaks.

  There was “a lot of dying here,” he said, pointing to a map that he carries with him.

  Building temporary bridges, making roads passable and working with mines, activating and deactivating them, were his main jobs.

  “You had to be good, or you didn’t come home,” he told the 14- and 15-year-old pupils.

  Bayonets on the end of the soldiers’ rifles were stuck into the ground ahead of where they were walking to find the explosive devices, and then “I’d go and take care of them,” Hardin said.

  The pupils sat quietly watching as Hardin recalled his tour and passed around some combat pictures.

  After he finished, they asked questions, including whether he had been back to Asia, how much he was paid, if he was married, what the food was like, how he was trained, the weapons he used and if it was difficult going around without his gun.

  His great-niece was one of the pupils.

  Hardin said he had no problem living without his gun but added that the memories of the war bother him.

  “I still have times,” he said. “I didn’t like Fourth of July fireworks. I had enough fireworks at night” in Korea.

  The eighth-graders in language arts classes led by teachers Judith Front Gillis, Nancy Noyes and Charles Colson, and assisted by education technician Rick Cortis have listened to the stories of 26 veterans while they were video recorded.

  The first thing the school did after establishing the project was take the eighth-graders on a trip to visit the Korean War Memorial at Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor during a Christmas wreath-laying ceremony in December.

  “They were very surprised to see us,” said Frost Gillis, whose father was one of the soldiers who came to speak. “They were moved. We sang ‘God Bless America.'”

  During her father’s presentation, Frost Gillis sat in the back, hearing his story for the first time.

  She said her father had never told his story. “We asked. But he never spoke” of his military service.

  Other veterans couldn’t finish their stories, and others still showed signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome, Cortis said.

  Participants in the project get a DVD, a framed picture of them with the pupils, and thank you letters written by the youngsters.

    Service members from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraq have all come in to tell their stories.

  On Friday, Maj. Dana Beers, Capt. Ed Vanidestine and Staff Sgt. Christy Stroup, who all served with the Maine Air National Guard, made recordings in different classrooms at the same time as Hardin. Afterward, the active Army members came in and shook hands with Hardin.

  “Thank you for all you’ve done,” Stroup said to him, a sentiment echoed by her counterparts.


  ORONO — Two commencement ceremonies and two speakers were the order of the day Saturday as the University of Maine awarded 1,950 degrees in Alfond Arena.

  Robert Edwards, former president of Bowdoin College, addressed a morning ceremony. Novelist Tess Gerritsen spoke in the afternoon.

  An estimated 11,000 relatives and friends of graduates attended the university’s 205th commencement exercises.

  Edwards, who retired from Bowdoin in 2001, spoke of Maine’s literary tradition, which includes Henry David Thoreau and E.B. White.

  “Language and thought, their quality and precision, are closely allied,” he said, “and this clear, robust use of the English language has been at the core of the peculiar contribution the people of New England have made to American democracy.

  “To read E.B. White,” Edwards said, “is to scrape the most cherished barnacles from one’s writing and sand down to the wood any glossy varnish of attempted eloquence.”

  He discussed the importance of language and pointed out the detrimental impact of “careless, inaccurate and cheap” language in the public arena, on talk radio, television and the Web.

  In the afternoon, Gerritsen of Camden urged graduates to read a newspaper every day and to think like gardeners.

  “Don’t waste a single planting season,” Gerritsen said. “Plant the seeds of your future now by nurturing every interest, no matter how irrelevant it may seem. Be a sponge and absorb information — you never know when it might come in handy.

  “And always have something new growing, something you’ve never tried to grow before,” she said. “You never know. It could end up being the most beautiful plant in your garden.”

  Ivan J. Fernandez, professor of plant soil and environmental sciences and a 1978 UM graduate, is this year’s distinguished professor at UM. He urged graduates to follow poet Robert Frost’s advice and take the road less traveled.

  “Your generation will indeed make America the ‘superpower’ of the 21st century,” he said, “not by armaments, but by solving the problems of today and leading the world by example for a future that offers sustainable prosperity, environmental quality, clean energy and social justice.”

  Degrees were awarded during the morning ceremony to graduates from the College of Business, Public Policy and Health, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Lifelong Learning.

  At the afternoon ceremony, degrees were awarded to graduates from the College of Education and Human Development, the College of Engineering, and the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.

   Honorary degrees were awarded at the morning ceremony to Edwards and Native American studies scholar and Wabanaki historian Nicholas Smith of Brunswick. During the afternoon ceremony, honorary doctorates were awarded to alumni Richard and Mildred Giesberg of Los Angeles.

  Community leaders, the Giesbergs are known for their work in helping Ethiopian Jews emigrate to Israel.


25 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

  AUGUSTA — Legislators continued to make a dream come true Monday for District Court Judge Andrew Mead in elevating him to the Superior Court bench.

  In a brief statement at the beginning of his confirmation hearing, Mead, a Bangor resident who has sat on the lower-court bench for almost two years, told members of the Judiciary Committee that becoming a judge was “the fulfillment of a dream, something I never thought I could hope for, and now it’s apparently happening.”

  Mead was one of three judges to receive unanimous endorsement during the afternoon hearings. Two already at the Superior Court level — Justice Kermit Lipez and active retired Justice Robert Browne — were easily reappointed to their posts. The nominations now require approval of the full Senate.

  Responding to questions by Sen. N. Paul Gauvreau, a Lewiston Democrat and Senate chairman of the committee, Mead said the Superior Court job appealed to him because he would enjoy working with juries.

  “I’m a firm believer in the jury system, notwithstanding what happened in Los Angeles,” he said in one of several references throughout the afternoon to the riot-triggering verdict in which four police officers were acquitted of beating a motorist. “My experience has always been that they take their duties very seriously.”

  Legislators questioned Mead on a spectrum of topics, including equal access to the courts for everyone, the impact of budget cuts, and the handling of juveniles in the legal system.

  Mead said the Maine courts were accessible to anyone who understood what was available to them. Typically, he said, those “in the lower economic rungs” are most intimidated by the legal system and are unaware of how it can help them.

  He advocated more direct communications between judges and legislators outside the confirmation process, but offered little solace for lawmakers looking for places to cut spending.

  “Down on the front lines we’re spread thin,” he said.

  As a District Court judge, he said, he was frustrated with the correctional tools available to him — either probation or incarceration at the Maine Youth Center — in sentencing youthful offenders. He advocated alternatives such as therapeutic foster care.

  “I feel as though I’m armed with two weapons in juvenile settings,” he said, answering questions by Rep. John Richards, R-Hampden. “One’s a fly swatter and the other is a cannon, and there’s nothing in the middle.”

  Rep. Cushman Anthony, a South Portland Democrat, asked Mead to compare that to sentencing options for adult offenders. Mead said the two were similar, but that the process for juveniles disturbed him more because the chance of making a difference was better at that level.

  “It pulls at my heartstrings much more severely when it’s a 14- or 15-year-old,” he said.


  U.S. postal patrons in Maine will send greetings this week to American Olympic athletes on a postcard the size of three football fields that will be displayed this summer in Washington, D.C.

  A total of 236 post offices around the state on Monday invited patrons to sign a piece of the postcard displayed at each post office for a $1 donation, which will be contributed to the Olympic fund.

  Signers received a souvenir postcard of the “World’s Largest Postcard” for themselves and one to mail to an Olympic athlete in Barcelona, Spain, where the Summer Olympics will be held from July 25 to Aug. 9.

  Sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, the World’s Largest Postcard will bear the names of hundreds of thousands of people, including many Mainers, according to a U.S. postal official in Portland.

  “With the extensive national advertising that’s being done, we’re expecting quite a few” signatures from Maine, said David Cosby, U.S. Postal Service Olympic coordinator for Maine.

  This week has been designated U.S. Olympic Spirit Week at the nation’s post offices. About 28,000 post offices across the country are expected to take part in the promotion.

  Cosby said the response Monday was good, with one post office in Wells reporting 15 signatures in the first three hours. Several post offices are coordinating the promotion with other events, he said.

  At the Wiscasset Post Office, local sports personalities were present for opening-day ceremonies. Other post offices are offering cancellations to be used with an issue of Olympic stamps released earlier this year, said the official.

  “We do really hope this will be a successful promotion,” said Terry Toole, supervisor of administration at the Bangor Post Office. A few signatures were obtained Monday, though there was no advance notice of the special promotion, he said.

  The cards sent to the Olympic athletes will be compiled at the U.S. Postal Service message center, and will be forwarded to Barcelona for distribution to athletes each day of the Olympics to ensure that each athlete receives personal encouragement from the United States.

  The assembly of the giant postcard will coincide with the Salute to Team U.S. ceremony slated for July 12 in Washington as the athletes prepare for their trip to Barcelona.

  BANGOR — A replacement for the Penobscot Bridge between Bangor and Brewer need not be as large as the one proposed by the Maine Department of Transportation, the Bangor City Council said Monday when it called for the DOT to scale back its project.

  In asking the state to reconsider its plan for a five-lane bridge that would move the Bangor abutment to align with Oak Street, the Bangor councilors joined the Brewer City Council, which passed a similar resolve two weeks ago.

  The plan presented by the DOT at a council workshop would feed traffic up Oak Street to Broadway. Many people attending the workshop opposed the plan.

  “The DOT was looking for feedback and position statements from councils on both sides of the river,” said Councilor John Bragg, the sponsor of the resolve. He is a member of the All Souls Congregational Church whose officials opposed the DOT’s original plan.

  “I think it’s appropriate for (the state) to know where we stand,” he said.

  No one from the Department of Transportation attended the meeting Monday. But City Manager Edward A. Barrett said that city staff already had met with the DOT and raised some of the concerns expressed in the resolve. The DOT is revamping the project and will hold a hearing on the new plans soon, he said.

  The resolve passed unanimously with little debate.


50 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

  A comprehensive, voluntary plan to make its 2,278,000 acres of northern forest land available for the “recreational enjoyment of the people of Maine, the nation and Canada” has been revealed by the Great Northern Paper Co.

  In the first formal statement of recreational policy issued by any large Maine landowner, which is intended to serve as a guideline for the company and vacation seeker alike, the company declares that its lands shall remain “open” to all recreation activity during the years ahead. To the growing demand for outdoor recreation in America, the policy states, Great Northern “must make a substantial contribution.”

  Authored by the company’s Woodlands Planning Committee and its Division of Forest Engineering the first formal recreation plan is based upon standards recommended by the President’s Outdoor Recreation Review Commission and declares that it will be company policy to maintain “the beauty and splendor of the landscape compatible with the growing and harvesting of timber.”

  MONTREAL — Bangor Daily News carriers still haven’t seen sunshine, but everything else is bright at Expo 67.

  The boys, numbering 103, along with chaperones, arrived Tuesday for a five-day visit to Canada’s Expo 67.

  On Wednesday and Thursday mornings they swam in the hotel pool before breakfast, then joined nearly 150,000 people, many of them school groups, at Expo.

  Highlights of the trip for the NEWS carriers were visits to the Australian, United States and Russian pavilions. Between stops they consumed several hundred hamburgers and pizzas. On Thursday night they had a German-Bavarian dinner, topped by entertainment from a three-piece brass ensemble.

  The boys’ opinion of Expo was probably best expressed by 15-year-old Stuart Koegle of Camden who said, “Wow.”


100 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

    BANGOR — Victor Chaison was arraigned in the municipal court Friday on the charge of unlawful deposit of liquor at Chaison’s Hotel, 91 Exchange St.  Upon the presentation of the evidence it was found that the liquor in question was found in a trunk in a room over the Palace Theatre, and therefore not on the premises at 91 Exchange St. as described in the warrant. This made the warrant defective and Judge Blanchard discharged the respondent, as in cases of alleged unlawful deposit it is necessary to accurately designate the premises, differing in that respect from a search and seizure process. However, it is generally necessary only to have the defective warrant taken out with the proper designation of the street number, but in the case of respondent Chaison this was not done.

  BANGOR — Miss Helen L. Newman, who for the past 27 years has conducted the private school in Bangor, has decided to discontinue teaching at the end of this school year. This decision is being received with deep regret by all who have had reason to know of the remarkable service that Miss Newman has rendered in this community.

  The school will be continued by the Somerset School Association, which owns the new building at Somerset and French streets where Miss Newman’s school has been located for the past four years.

  Miss Elizabeth M. Collins, who has had long practical experience in teaching all grades in Massachusetts schools, will be principal and head teacher, commencing next fall. Miss Collins is not unknown in Bangor, as she was born in Maine, has lived several years in Orono, and has visited here at different times.

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