Yesterday for 8/31/17



10 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

HAMPDEN — After 22 years, Greg Nash is tired of being the boss.

Nash, the town’s public works director, retired on Friday after more than two decades of professional, dedicated work, said Town Manager Susan Lessard.

“At my age I want to be less busy [rather] than more busy, and in the town of Hampden it’s just going to get more busy,” Nash, 59, said recently.

At 26, Nash moved into an old farmhouse in Newburgh that did not have running water or electricity. He held several positions, including at James W. Sewall Co. in Old Town, before applying to become Hampden’s first public works director.

“I got a letter for an interview at 9 a.m. Saturday morning,” Nash said. “Back then the councilors were old, stern politicians and I was scared to death, and I was 37. When I got back in my car afterwards I thought, ‘There is no way I’m going to get this job,’ but I did.”

Lessard said the town has been fortunate to have Nash’s expertise all these years.

“Although we have hired a very capable person to succeed him, he’s going to be greatly missed,” Lessard said. “He’s been a true professional, I can’t find enough good words to say about his professionalism, work ethic, attention to detail and commitment to the town of Hampden.”

Nash said that in some ways Hampden has greatly changed since he started in 1985, with the numerous subdivisions and large homes, but his job remains constant, “I’m still doing what the people pay me to do.”

Some of the largest projects Nash oversaw during his time were the construction of the municipal building in 1991 and the 2001 addition to the town structure for the Public Safety Department. The town’s Recreation Department has grown a lot in 22 years, he said, and the Lura E. Hoit Memorial Pool is a large addition to Hampden.

Galen “Chip” Swan Jr. was hired as the new director, and after working with Nash for two months, he officially will take over the department on Tuesday.

A coalition has received $450,000 from the federal government in support of the group’s work to restore historic fish passage routes in the Penobscot River.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded the money to the Penobscot River Restoration Trust’s ambitious plan to reopen nearly 1,000 miles of habitat in the Penobscot watershed to sea-run fish.

The money will help the coalition conduct environmental and engineering studies needed to obtain permits to remove the Veazie and Great Works dams and build a state-of-the-art fish bypass around the Howland dam.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, NOAA administrator and undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, said in a statement released Friday that the money will support crucial design and assessment studies for the project.

“If congress appropriates the president’s request for an additional $10 million for this project in FY 2008, we will be on our way to restoring self-sustaining populations of Atlantic salmon, shortnose sturgeon, alewife, and other sea-run fish to the Penobscot River and beyond,” Lautenbacher said.

Signed in June 2004, the river restoration agreement was an unprecedented pact among conservation groups, government agencies and a dam owner to revive the Penobscot’s decimated stocks of sea-run fish.

Under the agreement, PPL Corp. agreed to sell the three dams to the trust for $25 million. In exchange, PPL was permitted to increase power generation at several dams. The coalition members also agreed not to fight relicensing for PPL’s dams.

The nonprofit Penobscot River Restoration Trust is composed of the following organizations: the Penobscot Nation, American Rivers, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Audubon, The Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited.

Laura Rose Day, executive director of the trust, praised the bipartisan support for the project and Maine’s congressional delegation for their work to secure additional funding.

“With this grant, NOAA confirms the tremendous value of restoring the river’s natural functions and reconnecting the Penobscot River to the sea,” Day said in a statement,

To date, the trust has garnered about $9 million from private sources and $5.4 million in federal funds with the help of Maine’s congressional delegation. Both the House and the Senate have included President Bush’s $10 million budget item in their respective appropriations bills, but they have not been finalized.

Removing the Veazie and Great Works dams and bypassing the Howland dam are expected to cost an additional $25 million.

ORONO — The University of Maine Campus was bustling Friday with students, parents, relatives, and UM staff and volunteers helping to move the largest first-year class in the history of the Orono campus into the dorms they will now call home.

In a new trend that’s catching on nationwide, nearly the entire 2,105-member Class of 2011 are living in one area of campus in a program referred to as the First Year Residence Experience.

“One of the chief intentions here is to give a strong sense of connection to the university,” UM Dean of Students Robert Dana said Friday. “It’s really a much tighter-knit community than it has been.”

The new class is approximately nine percent larger than the cohort that enrolled at UM last fall and nearly 82 percent are Maine residents.

The Class of 2011 is the largest group ever to enroll at the state’s flagship university at the start of an academic year. The number reflects an adjustment to comparative figures that discount those students who enrolled at University College of Bangor when it was affiliated with UM prior to 1995.

Although traffic was congested through Orono to get to the campus, once at the university, officials and volunteers had coordinated parking for unloading vehicles.

“I thought the process was actually pretty good,” Dianne Barrette, mother to first-year student Chelsea Suranie of North Smithfield, Rhode Island, said.

“They emptied the car and before we had the car parked they were moving her into her room.”

Although Suranie said it didn’t really matter to her whether she was living with all first-year students or had been mixed in with upperclassmen, her mother and father liked the idea.

A highlight of the Hilltop Complex and Stewart Quad section of campus where the first-year Black Bears are housed is the new recreation center, which had its opening day Friday.

The 187,000-square-foot facility features a variety of workout and recreation options, including three basketball-conversion courts, a multipurpose pool area, locker rooms and office space.

The Hilltop Dining Commons also was renovated over the summer and offers a more inviting space for first-year students to eat.

But the first-year experience involves more than just state-of-the-art facilities.

“We’ve increased staffing, and we are providing sort of a fully comprehensive, enriched program here,” Dana said. “Every student has a takeoff place for greatness.”

25 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

Balloonists spent Monday taking care of last-minute details — testing equipment one more time or calling home — in anticipation of the start Wednesday morning of the trans-Atlantic balloon race.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, race officials said there was a 60 percent chance that the balloons would launch Wednesday morning. “It’s a big increase from the 30 percent likelihood we had Monday morning,” race director Alan Noble said between phone calls Monday evening.

The one troubling piece of weather data is a low-pressure system in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The trick will be to gather enough speed to fly over the storm, enough speed to beat it across to Europe, Don Cameron said Monday night.

“It looks feasible, but it depends on the low being more benign than they tend to be,” said Cameron, a member of the British team who holds the weather briefings and whose company made the identical balloons that will be used in the race.

“We’re hoping for a good landing and that the bad weather will follow us in,” he said during a media briefing in the command center.

The meteorologists for the race say that the projected trajectory will carry the balloons into France during a flight of slightly less than three days.

The winner of the Louwman Trophy will be the first to cross a hard-surfaced road in Europe, excluding Ireland.

With the storm likely to follow the racers onto the continent, those teams that were planning to go for distance or duration records could find it tough flying, Cameron said.

The command center from which Noble has been monitoring myriad details is a converted hotel suite. Weather maps cover one wall. On the end table by the sofa sits a fax machine. A telephone rests on the arm of the sofa. A laser printer takes up space on the bureau. Boxes clutter the floor.

Only a couple of teams were at the hangar Monday afternoon. The Dutch were testing a handmade, lightweight spark-plug wrench. If the spark plug on the generator fails, the batteries cannot be charged. Without the batteries none of the sophisticated electronics can function.

If the wrench is not needed, it will be tossed overboard at some point. Helium is depleted during the race. A little is released each time pressure in the balloon envelope builds with solar heating. As the gas is used up, weight becomes critical. Much of the equipment the balloonists start with will be heaved out to lighten the load.

The Americans were toying with a camera and microwave transmitter which will be used in a chase plane to film the takeoff and part of the flight.

Rob Bayly, the second British pilot, spent the afternoon searching for whales on a cruise out of Bar Harbor.

“We couldn’t do much more except polish the gondolas,” he said. “We kept to our schedule, and I’ll try to get a good night’s sleep.”

HOULTON — More than 100 Indians representing nine tribes from the Northeastern United States, and some from New Brunswick, will be in Houlton this week for a three-day conservation conference.

The fifth annual Northeast Regional Conference of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society will begin Tuesday. Its host will be the Houlton Band of Maliseets.

“It’s the first time the Houlton Band has hosted something of this magnitude,” said James Burton, forestry coordinator for the Houlton Band of Maliseets. “It’s important for a small band to take on such a large task. It will be a milestone for the tribe to host a prestigious regional meeting such as this.”

The three-day conference will include presentations on opportunities for tribal environmental protection programs, fish farming, and conservation training programs for Indians.

The conference also will include a traditional feast featuring foods from Maine Indian tribes, and a tour of soil and water conservation projects of the Maliseets.

Key Poynter, regional director for the NAFWS, said the conference would provide a way for Native Americans to discuss common problems they face in dealing with conservation issues.

“It brings together tribal natural resources planners to share ideas and focus on key issues,” he said Monday. “They’ll help each other deal with common problems.”

BDN outdoors writer Tom Hennessey reports: Representatives of the Dennys River Sportsman’s Club made no false casts last Thursday evening at a public hearing held in Machias by the Maine Atlantic Sea-Run Salmon Commission. In a prepared paper read at the hearing, the Dennys River Sportsman’s Club opposed the “Prelisting Recovery Plan For Maine Wild Atlantic Salmon Populations.”

The Prelisting Recovery Plan is part of the initiative linking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Atlantic Sea-Run Salmon Commission in the recovery of stocks in the Dennys, Machias, East Machias, Narraguagus, and Pleasant rivers. Last November, the Atlantic salmon populations in the Down East rivers were designated as Category 2 species. The designation is an indication of concern about the salmon stocks and a request for data to determine whether salmon populations in the Down East rivers should be placed on the Endangered Species list.

Obviously, gathering such data will require great expense and long-term effort. The DRSC wants no part of more studies; what they want is salmon in the river. The biggest snag at the hearing was the term, “wild salmon,” and its definition. Considering the interchange of river stocks used in the Atlantic salmon restoration programs, is it possible that truly wild strains of salmon still exist in the Down East rivers? The DRSC doesn’t think so:

“There is no support whatsoever (in the DRSC) in the belief there are any salmon left in the river that are of the old Dennys River strain,” the club’s paper stated. “Since the late 1800s, there has been stocking from various sources on the Dennys that would lead reasonable men to conclude there are no fish left of the original strain. We have talked with experts in the field who have reached the same conclusion.

“Richard Buck, head of Restoration of Atlantic Salmon in America and a former commissioner of the president’s task force to help improve the salmon’s lot, does not  believe there are any Dennys River strain salmon left.”

The ASRSC, however, claims that preliminary DNA “fingerprinting” of Dennys River salmon shows the wild strain still exists. The DRSC paper continued: “In the plan, there are proposals for gathering a lot of data concerning salmon. The ASRSC has been in existence for about 45 years, and they have made studies that cover practically all this material. … It seems to us that enough studies have been conducted. Most of the data needed has already been furnished, and it is our feeling more studies will not do much toward solving the real problems. … The real problem, as we see it, is to get more salmon in the river in a reasonable time period. This plan, as presented, will not meet our needs.

“We believe the best idea would be to forget about nonexistent Dennys River strain fish, forget about this absurd $10 million project with its $3  million counting and sampling weirs, and forget about more habitat studies.”

The DRSC advocates fry stocking, but not necessarily river-specific fry: “We also believe the Dennys, and the Down East rivers if they desire, should be heavily stocked with fry from early run broodstock from the Craig Brook Hatchery. … We believe this is our best hope and we intend to fight to see it happens.”

The “early run” fry reference is to Penobscot River fry. In the late 1950s and early ’60s, the Penobscot was stocked with fish taken from Down East rivers.

In conclusion, the DRSC paper stated: “We have no faith in this plan. By the ASRSC’s own admission, the other plans have not worked and our rivers are as close to being dead as is possible without being totally devoid of salmon. This is the end product of 45 years of their management. There are too many ‘speculations’ about this program to give anybody much hope of success.”

It’s obvious that the Dennys River fishermen are up to the tops of their waders with the frustration of a decade or so of watching the river’s salmon population decline. Frankly, I don’t blame them. Also, the feedback from fishermen at other salmon clubs indicates that few believe in the existence of native “wild salmon” in Maine rivers. They do believe, however, that self-sustaining runs of salmon can be restored to the rivers with naturally reproduced offspring of hatchery fish returning to spawn in rivers where they were stocked and imprinted.

To accomplish that, the management plan now is to develop, through fry stockings, river-specific stocks that will be referred to as wild salmon. As Ed Baum, program coordinator of the ASRSC said at the Machias hearing: “It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick, and it will be expensive.”

Each river will require millions upon millions of fry to establish those stocks and acquiring the fry is no easy matter.

At the same time, the questions nag: How much government money is available for the Prelisting Recovery Plan?  What happens to the salmon-restoration program if DNA codings determine that wild stocks no longer exist in Maine rivers?

In the meantime, all the negative factors — river contamination, dams, clear cutting, erosion, commercial fisheries, acid rain, etc. — contributing to the overall decline of Atlantic salmon stocks will continue to compound and complicate with the burgeoning human population. That’s not to mention the recent realization — admission — that a serious problem exists in the ocean. There are theories, but the problem hasn’t been identified.

Consequently, two things became clear to me during the foggy drive home from the Machias meeting: 1. It is truly amazing that any Atlantic salmon stocks remain nowadays — truly wild or otherwise. 2. Somehow we must restore those remaining stocks to healthy populations — truly wild or otherwise.

50 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

ORONO — Betty Morway, 21, became the 1967 Maine Women’s Amateur Champion on Thursday when she beat Evelyn Grant of Bangor 2 and 1 at the Penobscot Valley Country Club.

Morway, leading 5-up at one time in the 36-hole championship, saw her lead melt to even and then rallied to take the 34th and 35th holes with pars to deny Grant her third Maine title.

The Bangor woman, a two-time winner in 1952 and 1953, staged a furious rally after going five down 22 holes into the match.

The victory was the Waterville youngster’s first outright Maine golfing championship.

It was a good day for Betty in several ways. She’d been promised a sports car early in the season, if she were to win the title. Now her admiring father, Bernard “Bucky” Morway, has got to provide the youngster with new wheels before she departs next week for her fourth year at college in Keene, New Hampshire.

“I’ll buy, I’ll buy,” declared a happy, cigar smoking Bucky. “The kid gave me five heart attacks during those 34 holes, but she’s a gem. Guess I’ve got to get her some new wheels.”

100 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

The Bangor Daily News Popularity Contest, conducted to secure local talent for the made in Bangor photoplay “A Romance of Bangor,” opened yesterday with a bang. Not long after the voting coupons were printed the balloting commenced, and votes have been pouring in by the score ever since.

There is every indication that the contest will prove an extraordinary success, and all the contestants and their friends who are supporting them are urged to get their votes into the Contest Editor as early as possible. Some think that if they hold their votes until the last minute, they will have gained an edge on the competitors, when as a matter of fact they are really doing themselves harm. Who knows what might happen during the last minutes. Perhaps the votes being held out might be lost, mislaid or stolen. Vote early and often.

Miss Ruth Gray is the leader on the first day of the race with a vote of 257. Miss Margaret Mullen is second with a vote of 116. Miss Sarah Billings is third with a vote of 83.

For the part of leading man in “A Romance of Bangor,” Mr. James D. Maxwell is in the lead with 69 votes. Mr. Benjamin J. George is second with 42 votes and Mr. George Jarvis is third with 40 votes.

Coupons will be published every day until Sept. 8, when the competition will come to a close.


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