Friday, July 17, 2015

July 17, 2105--Fridays at the Bristol Diner: No Real News

“You get the Lincoln County News, don’t you?”

“Yes, every Thursday when it comes out,” I said, “We look forward to it. It’s where we find out about tag sales and of course the local news.”

“Exactly,” Char said. She’s a graphic artist who also works part time at the Bristol Diner.

“I was reading there last week,” Rona said, “about how lightening struck the Cheney Insurance company chimney. Right on Main Street. They’re our agents and we were glad to read that they took their own advice and were adequately insured!”

“It’s right down the street from the church which has been raising money for the last two years to replace the steeple that toppled in a big storm,” I said. “Lucky it didn’t get hit again ‘cause they’d have to start all over. That guy who has been camped out in front of the bookstore all summer trying to raise money would have to get back to work.”

“I’m glad to see you guys are getting into the spirit of this place,” Char said, “ Paying attention to lightening strikes and local causes.”

“We’re trying,” Rona said.

“One thing I like about being here,” Char said, “is that though through TV and the Internet it’s easy to keep up with news of the world, the paper that everyone reads, The Lincoln County News, doesn’t include any ‘real news.’”

Char made a gesture in the air to indicate quotation marks around “real news.” She is actually very well read and up-to-speed about all things national as well as local, but we have been here long enough to get her full meaning—people have a different perspective on what’s important.

They pay attention to and care as much as New Yorkers about the state of the economy (and feel it more directly than most of the people we know in the city) and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (actually they are more likely than we to know soldiers fighting and dying there), but they also pay a great deal attention to local issues—the big, the small, and the amusing.

And since the LCN is the paper of choice here, I thought to share some of the stories from last week’s paper:

The lead story was about the state of the lobster fishing business. In a word, not good.

Though the lobstermen of North End Lobster Co-Op on Westport Island noted improvements in catch volumes this season, according to Stott Carlton, captain of the Edna Mae, “Our expenses have gone up [for fuel and bait], but what we get paid for our lobsters hasn’t changed significantly in 10 years. In fact, if anything, it’s gone down.”

Then there’s the big flap about the guy in our town who has a large piece of land on which he wants to create a wolf refuge. Yes, a place where wolves can thrive and partake of the natural environment of which they were once a part before they were thinned out and ultimately driven entirely away as the result of more and more settlement.

He doesn’t have a spread big enough to assure his neighbors that their property too will not become an unintended part of that refuge and thus threaten their pets and their livestock, not to mention their children. It turns out that the Town of Bristol does not have zoning laws about this and it is not clear if they now want to institute them. This is after all a small-government kind of place.

So on this goes. I am sure the paper will have more to report about the wolves next week. Between now and then there will be no Breaking News about this to interrupt our lives.

It was good to learn, also on the front page, about Chloe Maxmin, a Nobleboro teenager who was one of ten national winners of the Barron Prize which honors youths between 8 and 18 years of age “who have made a significant positive difference in people and our planet.” Winners receive $2,500 for their higher education or to help fund a service project. Chloe’s will focus on global warming and she plans to use the money in part to pay for her upcoming three-month conservation project in South America.

On the other hand, also in Nobleboro, local folks were sad to learn that the more than 100-year-old grange hall is up for sale. In rural America grange halls were centers of community life, hosting countless lunches, suppers, and social events. In the not-too-distant past many a young man met his future bride at a grange hall Box Social.

But in recent years, these sorts of things have gone out of style and attendance at grange hall events has declined to the point where the Nobleboro folks do not any longer turn out in sufficient numbers to meet the legal quorum requirements to retain their grange hall charter. Meetings must be held regularly and at least seven members have to be present. This minimum requirement has turned out to be difficult to attain. And so, if you’re in the market for a grange hall to convert into a whatever, there’s one unhappily for sale right nearby.

Page Two includes a story from Jefferson. If you’ve had your quota of bad news for the day, skip on down past this one since it’s about an old oak tree that was cut down on Carol Kirchdorfer’s property without her permission. Seems the outgoing road commissioner decided to remove it. He was defeated in the recent local election and was not not be found and so no explanation was forthcoming. This did not satisfy Ms. Kirchdorfer, though she admitted that, “He did leave us a big pile of woodchips.” With cold weather approaching, there’s a lot to be said for putting in lots of woodchips.

Meanwhile, over in South Bristol there is concern about the status of the pump on one of their fire trucks. To repair it would cost $60,000 to $80,000. The truck could also use a new water tank and the breaks need rebuilding. But money is real tight here as everywhere and the Board of Selectmen is hesitant to authorize the repairs. They do have two other pumpers in excellent condition and it was decided to wait until the town can again build up its reserve fund while keeping an eye out for a used one. Selectman Chester Rice said, “Some towns are getting some pretty good fire trucks for little or near nothing.” Sounds like a plan to me.

Tucked near the bottom of the page is an announcement—
Rick Genthner of Nobleboro and Beth Estes of Damariscotta, big sisters Kathryn Estes and Gabby Genthner, and grandparents Anne Gabel and Dave Ellis of Nobleboro and Rick and Debbie Genthner of Bremen are pleased to announce the arrival of a baby boy, Nicholas Creighton Genthner, born on Sept 20 at 12:42 p.m. at Miles Memorial Hospital weighing 6 lbs., 9 oz.
Deeper in the first section where sports news is to be found there's nary a mention of the Red Sox not making it to the postseason and of course even less (actually nothing) about the hated Yankees, but there are a full two pages devoted to how local junior high and high school teams are faring.

In boys’ soccer Medomak Junior High picked up their third win of the young season, defeating Rockland 2-1. In girls’ soccer, however, Camden handed Medomak its first defeat, shutting them out 1-0.

Over on the Sheepscot Links, I read about how the local golf teams are doing. In the Senior Scramble (don’t ask me to explain), the winning team included Mark Petela, Bob Bell, Janet Ray, and Al Gifford.  Dan Walenta had the longest drive for men and for the women, Janet Ray. Closest to the pin was Kathy Sproul, who landed her chip shot on the 2nd hole only 10 feet, two inches from the pin; while on number 8, Tom Simmons came within 7 feet, 3 inches of holing out.

If the weather stays good, we can expect more of the same next week.

And, yes, the paper also typically contains news about car accidents, injuries, aggravated assaults, and the inevitable obituaries; but not a word about Afghanistan (unless a local soldier returns from a tour of duty) or Christine O’Donnell’s latest electoral aberration in the Delaware Senate race or don’t ask, don’t tell.

That’s waiting out there and can be gathered from other sources, as Char the other morning pointed out.  You can always find ways to get “real news.” In the meantime, I read that Lincoln Academy’s boy’s soccer team will be taking on their traditional rival Medomak in Saturday’s Homecoming game; and since the forecast is calling for it to be sunny with temperatures in the high 60s, maybe we’ll drive over to catch the first half.

We can’t stay for the whole match since at the Pumpkinfest in Nobleboro they’ll be having their annual Pumpkin Chunking contest to see who can chunk a pumpkin the furthest and later in the afternoon they’ll be turning some of the biggest pumpkins from last weekend’s weigh-off into boats that they will then race in the Pumpkin Boat regatta in the Damariscotta Harbor on Sunday. If you’re wondering about pumpkins serving as boats, the winner at the weigh-off came in at an astonishing 1,414 pound and was more than 15 feet in circumference.

And if that isn’t enough for us to do we still have the Pumpkin Catapult to look forward to and the Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest, also in the Damariscotta River.

So if any of our friends back in New York or down in Florida are concerned that we don’t have enough going on or are insufficiently stimulated I suggest you look at the Lincoln County News’ website and think about driving up here for Saturday’s Pumpkin Dessert Contest.

This first appeared October 6, 2010.

Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Thursday, July 16, 2015Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century.Volume 140 Issue 29

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