Yesterday for 10/12/17



10 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

  BANGOR — Terri Garner’s time in the Queen City is about to be one for the history books.

  Garner, who has served since 2005 as executive director of the Bangor Museum and Center for History, has accepted the director position at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark. She begins her new job on Nov. 5.

  “The truth of the matter is, it’s the same process — I’ll have the same academic responsibilities and the same scholarly responsibilities, just on a national scale, a larger scale,” Garner said. “I would not have been offered this job without the Bangor Museum.”

  Garner, 52, will be the library’s second director since it opened in 2004. The facility, one of 12 presidential libraries in the country, houses more than 76.8 million pages of paper documents, 1.85 million photographs and 75,000 museum artifacts acquired during Clinton’s presidency. Its holdings are the largest in the 12-library system, which is overseen by the National Archives and Records Administration.

  “When we built this library, we wanted to create a unique place where people could come and learn about America at the turn of the 21st century and where they would feel engaged in that experience,” former President Clinton said. “In less than three years, over 1 million visitors have visited the library and hopefully left with a new understanding of the United States. Terri, with her unique blend of private sector and nonprofit experience, is a great fit to guide the library in the coming years.”

  Garner replaces David Alsobrook, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

  Sharon Fawcett, assistant archivist for the presidential library system, said the search committee for a new director “was very impressed with Terri’s dynamic leadership of the museum in Bangor and her strong interest in the community. Those skills were the skills we wanted to see in the Clinton library director. Presidential libraries are national institutions that serve their local communities. We feel Terri will be a great fit in this job.”

  Garner said she hopes to spread the word about presidential libraries — both locally and nationally — and educate the public on how to use the resources within the collections.

  If her tenure at the Bangor Museum is any indication, Garner is up to the task. Since she joined the staff in 2005, she has raised the museum’s profile in the community and worked with exhibit designers to make the facility’s holdings accessible and interesting to the public.

  “She brought an energy to the director position that we hadn’t seen before,” said Russ Harrington, the president of the Bangor Museum and Center for History’s board of directors. “She also brought not only a vast interest in history, but this business background that you don’t often get with the director of a nonprofit history museum. … That really gave us just what we needed. She was here at just the right time.”

  Shortly after Garner’s arrival, Bill and Sally Arata donated a four-story building on Broad Street to become the museum’s permanent home. Earlier this year, the museum embarked on a major capital campaign to renovate the space.

  “She has done a great job of putting together a process and a system … I think we can deal with it moving forward,” said Ed Clift, co-chairman of the museum’s capital campaign committee. “The thing we’ll lose with her is the vision she’s had right along as to how the museum should be built and what needs to be put in place to make this an interactive museum.”

  Garner made it clear that she intends to stay involved in Bangor even after she has left for Arkansas. However, as a historian and a Clinton fan, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work at the presidential library.

  “This is the dream job,” Garner said.

  After a long career in the business and marketing world, including a stint with Xerox, Garner decided to pursue her master’s degree in history at the University of Colorado. In 2004, she came to Maine to further her studies.

  “It’s a combination of a lifelong interest in history and a midlife crisis gone bad — or good, as the case may be,” Garner said, laughing. “Most people get a Corvette. I decided to get a Ph.D.”

  Garner’s combination of business acumen and historical knowledge appealed to the hiring panel at the National Archives and Records Administration. Like many museums, the presidential library system is trying to become more businesslike, to reach out to a greater segment of the population, “to take history out of the ivory tower and bring it to the people,” Garner said.

  “In our education process, so much is spent on science and math, you’re slowly losing history, music and art — the soft subjects — they’re just being ebbed away,” Garner said. “There’s a responsibility in the museum world, at the local Bangor Museum and at the presidential libraries. There’s a vacuum. We need to help fill that educational piece.”

  To that end, the presidential library system introduced an online, interactive history curriculum now used in schools throughout the United States. Each library interprets the events through its own papers and archival material.

  The system started in 1939, when President Franklin Roosevelt donated his personal and official papers to the government. Every president since has had a library built in his honor by a separate nonprofit foundation. Once the library and museum are completed, the foundation then turns over the keys and the management duties to the federal government.

   Before her hiring, she met with President Clinton, an experience she described as “awe-inspiring.” They discussed ideas for future exhibits, including a traveling exploration of the lives of past presidents once they’ve become private citizens again.

  “What does a retired president do?” Garner asked. “It would be fun to do comparisons with George Washington and Jefferson.”

   By all accounts, Garner will be busy once November rolls around. But she plans to stay involved in Bangor, both as a member of the capital campaign committee and a supporter of the museum. She fully expects to be there when the museum opens its doors on Broad Street in late 2008. In the interim, her friends here know that even if she’s not around in person, she’s here in spirit.

  “Her legacy will be guiding us to a more prominent stage in Bangor,” Harrington said. “Terri would not want us to falter one bit here, and we won’t. No one should wonder if we can move forward and still succeed. We will do that.”


  In a letter to the editor, Bangor residents Susan Palmer, Gerry Palmer and Richard Shaw wrote: We wanted to express our heartfelt thanks to the community for supporting our recent event depicting the end of the Al Brady Gang’s criminal activities. We appreciate people understanding the spirit and goals of this event to mark history and to bring events to downtown Bangor to support our business community there, as well as supporting Northeast CONTACT, a nonprofit consumer advocacy agency.

  We found a wonderful community spirit in the people supporting us with donations of materials and time, information and kind words. A great group of about 50 dedicated people was the heart of the re-enactment.

  But we also found so many people in our crowd that day who were patient with our “learning curve” of doing a presentation that is new to us and the community. Large crowds, the physicality of the re-enactment space, and technical challenges are all things to work out. Most people were wonderful and joined in the spirit of it all.

  People shared their precious vintage cars, materials, props and business facilities to help with the realism, and two fantastic bands were real troupers sharing the stage, adding much to the event.

  The highlight for us was meeting and getting to know Col. Walter R. Walsh and his family — a fascinating man and wonderful role model — diverse in his acts of heroism. His son, Walter R. Walsh Jr., discussed his father with us later concerning his creed of honesty, work ethic, humility, family and loyalty.

  Unfortunately there are too many people and businesses to thank in this forum, but we hope that all know just how appreciative we are for helping us in joining in and making this event memorable for so many.


  CASTINE — Maine Maritime Academy has cleared an initial hurdle in its effort to develop a tidal power test center on the Bagaduce River.

  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week approved a preliminary, three-year permit that will allow the college to study the feasibility of the project and to identify and evaluate potential sites for the center along the river.

  The preliminary permit will give MMA the priority of application for a license during the three-year period which prevents another entity from applying to FERC for a license for a similar project in that area. The permit, however, does not authorize the college to begin development of the project or to construct anything in the river.

  “We’re pleased to have the permit,” said Eleanor Courtemanche, MMA’s chief advancement officer. “This will allow us to continue with the planning for the project.”

  The focus of the project is to provide a testing and evaluation center for tidal energy generators and to provide education and research opportunities for students and faculty at MMA. It will include a number of test platforms in the river that the college would make available to vendors who design and manufacture tidal generators to test and evaluate their new devices.

  The college, which is working as part of a consortium that also includes Maine-based Cianbro Corp., initially identified two sites on the river for study: one near the MMA dock in Castine Harbor, the other at The Narrows, north of Castine where the river flows into Northern Bay and South Bay.

  The preliminary permit starts the clock for the project planning, according to Mark Cote, chairman of MMA’s engineering department and newly elected president of Tidal Energy Development Center Inc., the nonprofit corporation established to oversee the project. The college must develop a plan to study the river and to file it with FERC within six months.

  “We’re going to have to assess how we are going to evaluate the state of the river, how we evaluate which sites are good,” Cote said. “And if we’re going to be testing these devices, we have to determine what data do we want to get.”

  By next month, the college will begin to bring together a lot of people from different disciplines to begin working on the planning process. In addition to MMA faculty and students, the process likely will draw on faculty from the University of Maine, along with some graduate students, as well as state agencies and local environmental groups.

  The college already has met with several local environmental and conservation groups to discuss the initial phases of this project and will continue to include those groups in the planning process, Courtemanche said.

  “We need to develop an understanding of the unique aspects of the whole Bagaduce estuary and the potential impacts that tidal energy might have,” she said. “In this arena, there are no standards for testing the impacts of these devices. This technology is in its infancy, so we want to work with people to form a number of perspectives to understand what the areas of concern are.”

  By identifying the environmental concerns early in the process, the center may be able to provide assistance to the people who are developing the new devices, so they can be designed around those concerns.

  “That way we may be able to develop an energy source that is truly renewable, clean and usable,” Courtemanche said.

  It is unlikely that the permit will generate much initial activity on the river, Cote said. If they do anything on the river in that time, it will probably be limited to placing sensors in the river to study its characteristics.

  “We need to get a good idea of what the river’s status is now before we put anything in the water,” Cote said. “One of the advantages of this process is that there has never been a systematic study of the whole estuary. Our students have done studies up and down the river, but this will be a more systematic look at the whole watershed. We really need to understand what’s going on there before we do anything.”


25 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

  A small part in the recently completed Mel Gibson film “Man Without A Face” has become a highlight of a veteran Maine actor’s career. Camden resident William Meisle, who has acted since age 14, said he thoroughly enjoyed working with the international superstar.

  “I can count on a hand, or a hand and a half, some moments that really work,” said the 50ish Meisle. “We had one of those magic moments on the second day of filming.”

  “Man Without A Face” is a drama about the friendship that develops between Chuck (Nick Stahl), a young boy struggling with the loss of his father, and Justin McLeod (Gibson), the town recluse, whose scarred face and mysterious history make him the object of rumor and scorn among the townspeople.

  The distinguished-looking Meisle, with three of his four children and a son-in-law in show business, heard about the film and auditioned for Warner Brothers in early July in New York City.

  He received the news that he had gotten the role while working with Alan Arkin at a workshop on directing.

  “I left to take the call,” Meisle said. “When I came back, Alan said, `You just booked a job.’ He could tell by the look on my face.”

  Meisle plays Judge Sinclair, who, along with a representative of the district attorney’s office and a psychiatrist, interrogate McLeod about his activities.

  “It’s a pivotal point in the film,” Meisle said. “It culminates in a major change in Mel’s character, and leads to the end of the film.”

  Everything clicked for Meisle on that second day of filming.

  “It was one of those moments when the acting transcends the mere craft,” he said. “It is when two actors begin giving and receiving freely of the reality within their characters. It’s a sense of trust between actors. It really worked wonderfully.”

  Shooting of the scene Oct. 1 and 2 in Bath took 1 1/2 days.

  “We had done that scene so many different ways from so many angles,” Meisle said. “Finally Mel said, `I think we have this one covered. I’m getting tired.'”

  Meisle praised Gibson the actor, pointing to his work in “The Year of Living Dangerously,” “Gallipoli” and “Hamlet.”

  “Everyone thinks of him as the `babe,’ but I think he’s one of the great film actors today,” he said. “He is completely giving as an actor. When you give back to him, he takes the ball and goes with it. He’s an actor’s actor, who is willing to take chances.”

  Meisle enjoyed Gibson off camera as well.

  “He’s a nut,” he said. “He’s always coming out with sound effects and impressions. He would start doodling and come up with these wonderful caricatures. Yet there was a sense of discipline that this man engenders that overrides all this fun that was happening.”

  Gibson found working 18-hour days as actor/director to be tiring, Meisle added.

  “Mel has admitted that he’s bit off more than he can chew,” he said. “He’s honest enough to say `I’m tired. It’s not an easy job for me.’ Fortunately they’ve hired some of the finest talent in the business today to help him.”

  Meisle said Mainers weren’t understanding of Gibson’s time constraints.

  “People would stand there from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., trying to catch a glimpse of Mel or to get his autographs,” he said. “Then they would be upset because he wouldn’t take time to sign 300 autographs. But he’s working his butt off. How many other people work from 4 a.m. to midnight six days a week?”

  Meisle has acted, directed, and done set design in theater for many years. To pay the bills, he also has done voice-overs for ads and documentaries. He hosted the TV series “Vantage Point” several years ago on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

  Meisle would love to stay year-round in his Camden apartment, where he and his wife have lived since 1981, but business dictates they keep an apartment in Manhattan’s Little Italy section as well.

  “My goal is to live in Maine, and still get work,” said Meisle. “But I realize that I can’t be a film actor, living and working in Maine.”

  Meisle has had two film roles in the past year. He also has a small role as the opposition headmaster in the drama “School Ties.”

 Next up is “Broken Dreams,” a small independent film to be shot in February and March in Rangeley.

  The actor hopes that filmmaking in Maine will continue to grow, not just for those in the business like himself, but for the state as well.


50 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

  HAMPDEN — The decisive defeat of a million-dollar junior high school building here last June may force School Administrative District 22 to send approximately 250 students, one-fourth its total enrollment, to Bangor schools.

  District Superintendent Richard Sevey confirmed Thursday that SAD 22 officials have submitted the proposal to Bangor school officials.

  The idea is one of several choices being considered by the SAD 22 board of directors in the wake of last June’s referendum defeat. It is based on the assumption that Bangor’s school system will lose from 1,200 to 1,400 pupils when Dow Air Force Base closes next summer, and that the city of Bangor would welcome 250 tuition-paying pupils.

  Sevey said the proposal is a relatively expensive one, but is receiving serious consideration by the district. He termed it a temporary solution to overcrowded conditions in the district schools.

  The proposal involves only junior high school level students, who now are housed in the Weatherbee Elementary School.

  Dr. George Wood, chairman of the Bangor School Board, indicated SAD 22’s plan has not been included in the city’s Dow Reuse school planning yet, but Assistant Bangor Superintendent Alvah McIntosh stated, “In my opinion it’s feasible.”

  “The Bangor School Board presently is in the midst of making decisions about what to do about our schools after Dow closes.”

  Based on last year’s tuition, it would cost SAD 22 $95,000 to send its junior high students to Bangor.

  “We feel this would be just a temporary solution until we can get a building program off the ground,” Sevey said.

  Two other possibilities, the addition of one or two classrooms to the Weatherbee Elementary School — something district directors are reluctant to do because they feel the building is already too big — and the purchase of portable trailer classrooms, are also being considered, Sevey pointed out.

  He described the board’s position as a painful one in the wake of the referendum defeat.

  “The board knows what the district voters don’t want, but we don’t know what they do want,” he remarked.


100 years ago

As reported in the Bangor Daily News

   Over 30 of the younger business and professional men of Bangor met at dinner, given by the Bangor banks to the soliciting committee at the Bangor House, Thursday night to complete plans for a concerted drive for subscriptions to the Second Liberty Loan among the businessmen of the city. The drive starts early Friday morning and will continue until every man in the downtown section has been approached and given a chance to loan his government his part of the money that the government must have.

  Each solicitor will be equipped with all the information about the loan that can possibly be required and is ready and willing to explain each question that may arise in the mind of the subscriber, but it is urged that the subscriber make up his mind early and be ready to complete the transaction when the solicitor calls on him.

  Bangor is behind a good many of the other Maine cities and following the splendid record that this city made in the first loan it is believed that the citizens will rise to the occasion as they have always done in the past.



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