Memorial Day: A true community event of which the school community is an essential part

Caleb Wight on tuba and Hunter Rakhonen on tenor sax

Caleb Wight on tuba and Hunter Rakhonen on tenor sax

When this year’s Memorial Day Parade arrives at the American Legion Hall in Tenants Harbor, a number of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts will dash out of line and join their fellow St. George School middle-level band members who will already be in place ready to be part of the annual Memorial Day program.

“Concert dress is normally black and white,” acknowledges Carolyn Kanicki, the school’s band teacher, “but a lot of these kids are involved with scouting or with the Little League game after the ceremony, so they come dressed for those roles—but they still also fulfill their commitment to play in the band. It’s a non-school day, but last year we had 100 percent participation.” She says there were also some high school students who had previously been St. George School band members who joined in.

The tradition of having the school band perform at the Memorial Day ceremonies in St. George began more than 10 years ago, when the Midcoast Community Band was unable to participate after many years of doing so. “So Dana Smith came to me and asked if the school band could play,” Kanicki recalls.

The community response then was very positive and now the school band’s participation is something that’s expected with anticipation. “It is something that parents are aware of, so they don’t schedule something else,” Kanicki says. “I just love it. To me it’s that true community event and the school community is a part of it. It’s important for the kids to know this is part of Memorial Day.”

While a lot of people might love to have the St. George School middle-level band march in the Memorial Day parade, Kanicki shakes her head. “We’re a sitting band, not a marching band. There is a lot that goes into the marching, like having to get special percussion instruments and special music holders. Marching is really more of a high school thing. Also, at this stage, I’d hate to take time away from our students’ focus on the music.”

Practice is the key to achieving a good musical performance, Kanicki points out. The full middle-level band, consisting of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students, practices three times a week for 45 or 50 minutes each time (when the St. George School was part of RSU 13, the band could practice only two times a week). Then, the different sections of the band—flutes, clarinets, saxophones, drums—have half hour sessions once a week. Kanicki also offers free after-school lessons on a sign-up basis for any band student who would like extra help.

Now that the St. George School again includes 8th grade students, Kanicki notes, there is the added benefit of having kids who are into their fourth year of playing an instrument be part of the mix. “Having the 8th graders makes a big difference,” she stresses. “The younger kids kind of look up to them to understand what’s involved. The 6th graders, especially, have a difficult transition to make from their first year of playing in 5th grade, when everyone plays in unison, to the more complicated music played by the middle-level band.”

Carolyn Kanicki

Carolyn Kanicki

When a 5th grade student decides to give band a try, Kanicki works with them to figure out which instrument feels right for them. This can lead to some imbalances in the various sections, but Kanicki has been pleased by a recent trend of students choosing instruments in the lower registers. “Having a tuba is new this year,” Kanicki says with clear enthusiasm. “I think that instrument sat in a corner for as long as I’ve been here, which is 25 years. But Caleb Wight spotted it and took it home and cleaned it up and started playing it. And we now also have two tenor saxophones and a bass clarinet, so getting that lower voice has been making a big difference in the sound.”

Kanicki handed out the playlist for the Memorial Day performance to the band members at the beginning of April. During the ceremony the band will play the “Star Spangled Banner,” the “Marches of the Armed Forces” (when veterans will be invited to step forward), and “Arrival at Normandy.” After the ceremony the band will play a short concert that will include some marches and perhaps a rendition of “Grand Old Flag” and “Along the Beaches of Normandy.” —JW

(The Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30 begins at 9am.)

PHOTOS: Top, Sonja Schmanska, bottom, Julie Wortman

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“The Moving Wall” Comes to Knox Museum

By Tobin Malone, Executive Director, Knox Museum

Knox Museum Hosts The Wall CKnox Museum in Thomaston has been selected to host the Vietnam Combat Veterans’ “The Moving Wall” for five days over Memorial Day weekend. The memorial wall, which is a half-scale replica of Maya Lin’s original design located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., will be exhibited on the grounds of Montpelier from May 26 to May 30. Visiting hours will be 24 hours per day, except during special ceremonies. As many as 13,000 people are expected to visit the memorial over the 5-day period. Admission is free.

“The Moving Wall”  has been touring the country for over 30 years, offering thousands the opportunity to witness this important American monument. This will be its first appearance in midcoast Maine.

As an organization named after one of America’s first soldiers and veterans, Henry Knox, we at the Knox Museum know the military are some of our main people and we want to do whatever we can to honor them.

“The Moving Wall” stands 252 feet long and 6 feet tall, and displays the names of 58,228 Americans who lost their lives in Vietnam, including 13 from Knox County, 8 from Lincoln County, 6 from Waldo County, and 4 from Sagadahoc County. In total, there are 343 Maine names inscribed on the memorial. Their names will be read in sunset ceremonies each evening.

Bringing “The Moving Wall” to Montpelier has been a massive undertaking, requiring the regrading of Montpelier’s property, construction of a 252’ long platform on which to mount the wall, installation of two stages with special lighting and sound equipment, multiple tents, handicapped walkways and access, remote parking, shuttle service, 24-hour security, grief counselors, sanitary facilities, meals for volunteers, name-rubbing and other educational materials for schoolchildren and major publicity.

Importantly, there will also be a series of 5pm workshops for vets on VA medical enrollment, Agent Orange, PTSD, and state benefits; and a mobile 38-foot motor coach Community Outreach Vehicle from the Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Center’s outreach program will be parked at Montpelier around the clock all week, providing outreach, and information and counseling to veterans.

An opening night ceremony on Thursday, May 26 at 6pm will feature brief remarks by visiting dignitaries along with a musical performance by the 35-member Medomak Valley High School Chorus.

Blind Albert SMOn Saturday, May 28, at the Museum’s fifth annual “Boots on the Ground” event, Vincent Gabriel, well-known local Vietnam vet and front man for the band Blind Albert, will cover some of the better-known anthems from what has been called “the rock and roll” war, as well as perform some of his own moving first-person original songs about Vietnam like Draft Card, 11 Bravo Vietnam, and Back to the World.

Right alongside Vince Gabriel’s rock band, conductor Janna Hymes and her 43-piece classical orchestra, Maine Pro Musica, will perform orchestral renditions of Jim Morrison and The Doors’ “The Unknown Soldier” and “Light My Fire,” as well as Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.”

All Vietnam combat veterans are invited to sit on stage for the “Boots on the Ground” ceremony and be recognized for their service.

A special ceremony for Gold Star families will be hosted by Adria Horn, Director of Maine’s Bureau of Veteran Services on Sunday, May 29, at 2 pm.

Also in the mix is a planned exhibit at Montpelier featuring U.S. Army Captain Beth Parks’ photographs from her deployment serving as a nurse in Vietnam entitled “Blood, Dust & Mud.” Knox Museum Collections Manager and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, Matthew J. Hansbury, hopes to re-create a sense of Captain Parks’ “hooch,” or living quarters, in the exhibition space, with the Corea, Maine resident providing some of her belongings from that time.

Finally, on Memorial Day proper–Monday, May 30–a ceremony is planned for 5pm, which will open up the focus to veterans of all of America’s wars, honoring everyone from Henry Knox in the American Revolution, to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

For more information visit Knox Museum’s Facebook page, “‘The Moving Wall’ comes to Mid-Coast Maine,” call Knox Museum at 354-8062, or e-mail

PHOTOS: Knox Museum

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When practicing medicine is also about (Maine) history


A long-term project that is occupying a great deal of Martinsville resident Richard Kahn’s time these days is the annotation of an unpublished manuscript titled Diseases of the District of Maine written by Jeremiah Barker. “In 1797, in the first U.S. medical journal, Barker announced that he was working on the topic of the diseases of Maine for publication,” says Kahn. “Most of it was completed by 1820 and definitely it was all done by 1830.”

That Maine’s early medical climate was recognized to have distinctive qualities, Kahn says, is borne out by a passage found in James Sullivan’s History of the District of Maine published in 1795: “The people of the District of Maine, may, in a tedious winter, long for the soft breezes of Virginia and the Carolinas; but they would be very unwilling to take the fever and ague, and the other disorders incident to those States with the gentle weather, in exchange for our northern snow banks.”

The Barker manuscript, which is owned by the Maine Historical Society, is two volumes long. Kahn’s wife, Patty, helped him transcribe it into computer files. “It tells what Barker saw, what he did, the outcome, the philosophy of what he was doing. And he cited over 100 patients, many of them by name,” Kahn says. “If I thought the names of diseases, the names of medicines, were not absolutely obvious to everybody, I’ve made endnotes to explain what they are so a lay person would be able to read it without a bunch of reference books to help them.”

The Maine Historical Society is interested in publishing the manuscript, complete with Kahn’s annotations, the biographical information he has gathered about Barker and Kahn’s estimation of the manuscript’s place in the genre of books about state diseases. “There are only a few books like this,” Kahn notes, so assessing the manuscript’s importance is a challenging task.

Kahn, a physician who has practiced internal medicine in midcoast Maine for more than 40 years, is now semi-retired, though still serving as an attending physician for patients at Quarry Hill in Camden and Knox Center for Long Term Care in Rockland. But researching and writing about medical history is not a new retirement pursuit for him. His interest in the field, in fact, began in medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston (from which he graduated in 1966).

“Benjamin Spector, my professor of anatomy, introduced me to the history of medicine. He was active with the American Association of the History of Medicine, which I joined in 1972. And then in 1981 I joined the American Osler Society, which was founded to honor Sir William Osler and his interest in medicine and the humanities.” Osler is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Medicine.”

The Osler Society’s emphasis on bringing the humanities into medical education particularly resonated with Kahn. Even as a high school student contemplating college, he knew that while he wanted to pursue a career in either teaching biology and physiology or in practicing medicine, he also wanted a liberal arts education. “I love medicine, but the history of medicine also gets you into history, literature, art and other things. It makes medicine more interesting.”

Kahn managed to maintain an active pursuit of research into the history of medicine throughout his full time career as a clinician. “I was always working on one or two papers at the same time. I used to do it at night. I would get home late and then would work until 2am or 3am.”

As with the Barker manuscript—and the many presentations and papers he has prepared based on it over the years—Kahn is particularly, though not exclusively, interested in the history of medicine as it pertains to Maine. In 2006, for example, he presented a paper to the American Osler Society titled, “The Widow’s Island Yellow Fever Quarantine Hospital in Penobscot Bay Maine, 1885-1904: A medical, political and social history.” He has also made presentations on such topics as 18th and 19th century medical education in Maine, “Medicine in Longfellow’s Portland,” and a history of hospitals in Rockland. In 1990 he organized a two-day symposium on the “History of the Ambulance and the First 20 Years of EMS” in conjunction with the Owls Head Transportation Museum.

But what especially delights Kahn is uncovering unexpected connections between Maine and seemingly unrelated topics. One such example is his discovery of how a literary society in early 20th century Bangor has a surprising connection to the 1345 manuscript known as The Philobiblon which is about the love of books and how to collect and care for them.
Kahn is fond of saying that his pursuit of the history of medicine all these years has been an enthusiasm he can indulge “without guilt.” Every physician, he explains, has a massive amount of reading to do to keep up with their ever evolving profession. “There is just so much to know in medicine, but when I’m researching the history of medicine I don’t feel guilty because I’m still doing medicine.”

And, more importantly, Kahn believes his work as a clinician has benefitted from looking at medicine from a humanities perspective. “The history of medicine has been an important part of my medical life. It brings humility, and humility in medicine is frequently wanting. Those physicians like Barker were doing the best they could with the information they had at the time. And that is what we’re doing today. But that doesn’t mean that everything we’re doing today is going to be right. We have islands of knowledge in a great sea of unknown.” —JW

PHOTO: Julie Wortman

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Report from Herring Gut

Dustin Dean, Jaden Petersdorf, Christopher Mathieson, and Maisie Mathiau were on the pound clean-up crew.

Dustin Dean, Jaden Petersdorf, Christopher Mathieson, and Maisie Mathiau were on the pound clean-up crew.

Did you know that seaweed can be as nutritious and delicious as other vegetables? Seaweed is so full of minerals and protein that many are calling it the new superfood. In fact, there is so much goodness in seaweed that farming and selling seaweed is becoming a new thriving business in the United States. As students at the Herring Gut Program, we believe seaweed is the new food of the sea.

At Herring Gut we have been learning how to grow seaweed as a crop and are now exploring its many uses. What we have discovered is that seaweed has many healing properties and is already used in bath and cosmetics products and it is good for you. Many businesses and restaurants have begun to sell and use seaweed as an ingredient in meals, snacks and seasonings.

We started growing seaweed in October 2015. First we extracted the spores from the seaweed and grew them on string in an aquarium. When they were big enough, these lines were wrapped around long rope lines that we designed, built and suspended on buoys in the Herring Gut Pound. We have named our business Long Line Kelp Growers. The kelp is growing slowly but it has come a long way from microscopic cells to long three foot blades. Recently we have started to design a system to dry the seaweed when it is ready to harvest. We still have to decide how we will use it. We are in the middle of deciding how to market our kelp.

We are also fixing the pound wall to keep rockweed and trash from coming in. The rockweed floating on the surface keeps sunlight from reaching our kelp so we have to get it out of the pound. We take it out and we are using it as fertilizer on the Herring Gut gardens.

Zach Daniello feeds brine shrimp to “superman” lobsters.

Zach Daniello feeds brine shrimp to “superman” lobsters.

While we wait for the kelp to grow, we are helping to raise lobsters. Herring Gut is the home of two female lobsters. One is blue and the other is brownish red colored. The babies from the blue lobster are blue and white. The babies from the brownish red lobster are brownish color. After hatching, the lobsters are put in beakers where they grow until they reach “superman” stage. This stage is call superman because the lobsters look like superman flying with his hands stretched out. We have to feed them brine shrimp to eat. Then the lobsters are put in trays in separate compartments so they don’t eat one another. So far there are over 100 babies.

Herring Gut is a fun place to be and learn.

—This report was prepared by St. George School/Herring Gut students Sadie Davis, Zach Daniello, Maisie Mathiau, Dustin Dean, Chris Mathieson and Jaden Petersdorf.

PHOTOS: Leslie Ferguson

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St. George VANITZ

May19VANITZ CWhose license plate is the call letters of a Santa Monica morning radio program from the 80’s – Everythings Gonna Be OK.—Susan Bates

Who’s behind the wheel? Email your answer. The first reader to respond correctly wins a free business-size ad in the print edition of The Dragon.

Donna Dearborn knew Carey and Barbara Haupt’s plates GNDGS and HUP in the May 5 issue.

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Pursuing a career path that involves solving ‘quickest, cheapest’ logistical challenges

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor Martinsville resident Olivia Hupper, it is not out of the question to think that she might one day have a professional relationship with pencils—or something like them. A second semester sophomore at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Hupper is working on a degree in International Business and Logistics with the hope of becoming a professional logistician. Thinking about how pencils find their way into stores like Staples, she says, pretty much sums up what the field of logistics is all about.

“You would probably think that every part of a pencil comes from China—the wood, the lead, the eraser, the metal that attaches the eraser to the wood. But some parts come from China, some come from the U.S., some from Mexico, some from Thailand. So you have to find the quickest, cheapest way to get all those products to Mexico to produce the pencil and then the fastest and cheapest way to send it to the U.S. and then ship it out all over the world.”

While price is the biggest factor in guiding the decisions a logistician makes, Hupper explains, quality concerns are also important. So to make sure a pencil eraser meets a company’s quality standard, it might be necessary to send an agent who knows about erasers to, say, Thailand to determine the best source. “That expense might seem ridiculous for an eraser,” Hupper admits, “but considering how big a company Ticonderoga is, it makes sense. The company’s reputation depends on quality. You may have to pay more for the pencil, but it’s a good pencil.”

When Hupper was a junior at Oceanside East High School in Rockland, she thought she wanted to become an engineer, but after visiting a number of engineering programs she realized that field was not for her. “So then we started looking at business schools. But my mom had to drag me to Maine Maritime! I didn’t think I would like the business program at Maine Maritime because I perceived it to be an engineering school. I went to the presentation about the business program and I was so blown away by how personable the professors were and by how well spoken the students in the program were. It was really impressive.”

So while many of the students at Maine Maritime Academy are focused on how to operate big ships—working in the engine room or learning to captain a vessel—business students like Hupper, she says, are “providing the people on the ships with the cargo they need.”

Hupper’s freshman year was consumed with classes on economics, accounting and business. “They really throw you right into the business part of it. We just start focusing on what it is like to run a business or be part of a business or about the economy from the very beginning.”

The first semester of Hupper’s sophomore year included a business logistics class that introduced every aspect of the subject. “That was my favorite and most difficult class,” she says with clear enthusiasm. Now every additional class she takes, such as the transportation class she is completing as her second sophomore semester draws to a close, will intensively focus on selected elements of business logistics.

A program requirement, too, is that students take a foreign language. Hupper has chosen French—partly because she took four years of French in high school, but also because, she says, “If I could, I’d love to get a logistics job in France. That’s a hard goal, I know.”

What makes it a hard goal is that Maine Maritime’s business students are required to spend 12 weeks interning with a company between their junior and senior years. Most commonly, Hupper says, that internship leads to getting a position with that company—in fact that high job placement rate, she says, is something that makes the cost of tuition at Maine Maritime well worth the expense of taking out student loans (Hupper says the scholarships she’s received, especially the Worthington Scholarship she was awarded when she graduated Oceanside East, were a big help in reducing that expense). But lining up an internship in France will probably be difficult. Hupper smiles and gives a little shrug. “I’m still going to try. Getting an internship is a lot of work no matter what—you really have to put yourself out there.”

Although working for a company in France is her dream, Hupper says she would also be happy to stay in New England—in Maine, if possible.

“There are so many job opportunities in New England and in Maine,” she points out, referencing such companies as FMC in Rockland (which processes seaweed to make carrageenan), Fisher Engineering and Bath Iron Works. “I love Maine. It is a beautiful state. And my family is here—my grandfather owned Art’s Lobsters in Tenants Harbor and all my uncles and cousins lobster and my parents met when my mother was on summer vacation at her parents’ cottage in Martinsville—so I feel really connected to the community.”

Hupper is planning on staying on an extra year at Maine Maritime Academy to get her master’s degree as well as the bachelor’s degree. By her senior year, she says, she hopes to have a job placement lined up. “Companies really want you to get your master’s degree and they will pay for it.”

There is a lot of hard work ahead of her to get her degree, Hupper acknowledges, but she says she feels confident that she has chosen the right career path for herself. Focusing on finding “the quickest, least expensive way to move a product from point A to point B,” will provide her with constant and interesting challenges—moving pencils around the globe being only one of many possibilities. —JW

PHOTO: Julie Wortman

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Crafting heirloom boards for the game he loves

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARidge Road resident Pat Conrad has been a cribbage player since about the age of 15, when his grandparents first taught him how to play. Now in his late 40s, he says he’s become a pretty good player, although the few times he’s participated in Cribbage Night at The Black Harpoon in Port Clyde, he’s flamed out in the first round. He gives a small shrug at this, noting that he really doesn’t like to play for money. But what he does like to do is make cribbage boards.

“I don’t know what I like about making them, to be honest,” he says. “Maybe it is just making a cribbage board because I love cribbage. I just really enjoy making them.”

Conrad grew up in Belfast, spent some time working in Pennsylvania and then moved to St. George about a dozen years ago, when Mike Cushman offered him a job sterning. During his time in Pennsylvania he was surprised to find very few people who were familiar with cribbage. By contrast, he notes, cribbage is popular in Maine, especially in winter. Maybe that is because the modern game, which had its origins in 17th century England, was brought to this country by English colonists who began populating this part of the country. Historians note that cribbage became a favorite pastime for sailors and fishermen, especially.

Although using a cribbage board is not essential to the game—one could keep score using pencil and paper—a board does make it possible to immediately see who is ahead and close to winning. There are also many possible board designs, both in shape and detailing.

Conrad got started making his particular style of cribbage board about five years ago. “It got into my head that I wanted to make a cribbage board, so I decided to see if I could do it. I thought it was cool and I liked it. And then they started piling up so I began giving them away—I’ve made boards for most of my family, my nieces and nephews. And now I’ve been taking commissions and selling them.”

Conrad uses the most beautiful hardwoods he can find for his boards. He’s fortunate in having a friend in fine furniture maker David Talley of Dharma Design on the Turkey Cove Road. “Dave lets me pick through his pile of discarded wood—he uses a lot of exotic wood in his furniture. In return I help him out loading or unloading furniture into and out of his van if he needs it.”

Conrad also favors detailing his boards with wire inlays of copper and silver rather than painting them. The painstaking process of drilling the peg holes, making grooves for the wire inlays (which are secured with epoxy), sanding the wood with high-grit sandpaper and applying a tongue oil finish can take as many as four eight-hour days. “You kind of get lost in it,” Conrad reflects. “You just get the music going and go with it.”

A man with a lifetime interest in history, Conrad admits that he also enjoys the possibility that his boards might someday become heirlooms. “Mostly it’s just making a cribbage board that’s going to go out into the world and, who knows, maybe someone will find it in their parents’ attic 50 years from now.”

For more information about Conrad’s cribbage boards call 207-390-0849. —JW
PHOTO: Julie Wortman

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March historic photoA seiner built at Russell Tibbitt’s yard in Thomaston for Claude Widby of Tenants Harbor. This photo, from the Atlantic Fisherman Collection of the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine, was first published in the Atlantic Fisherman in April, 1951.

PMM’s photography collection consists of more than 140,000 photographic images from all over Maine, New England and beyond. More than 60,000 photos are available in PMM’s online database with more being added each week. Fine art prints are available. Visit

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Creative play in the forest adds joy to learning

bridge WEvery Friday, Ms. Albright’s kindergarten class goes outside, “rain or shine,” on the nature trail for about 40 minutes and learns cool things about nature. This fun activity is called “Forest Friday.” Ms. Albright says they are learning how to play creatively.  One fun game they played was “Billy Goats Gruff” on a little bridge they found on the trail. Everyone got a turn to be the troll. They also pick up trash, find habitats, meet bugs, snakes and other local creatures. Ms. Albright got the idea for Forest Friday from a school in Quechee, Vermont where, a teacher named Eliza Minnucci says, “I wanted to expose my students to a complex environment in which a huge spectrum of thought, wonder, and learning were all available at once.”

Maxwell MacCaffray, left, and Miles Bartke

Maxwell MacCaffray, left, and Miles Bartke

“Thinking creatively outside of the classroom adds joy to learning,” says Ms. Albright. “The freedom of the woods allows for exploration and creativity.”  The students agree. Playing on a new “jungle gym” (which is really logs from a fallen down tree), Miles Bartke says is his favorite thing to do on Forest Friday. Molly Gill likes best the “secret path” that she found.  Parents are also excited about the program. Miles’ s mom, Ms. Bartke, says, “My little person always talks about the coolest things they do.” Ms. Gill, Molly’s mom, says, “I am so excited about Ms. Albright’s Forest Friday program. Molly comes home with wonderful stories each week. We are so fortunate to have a nature trail right at the school!”

A page from Maxwell MacCaffray’s journal

A page from Maxwell MacCaffray’s journal

When the kids are done outside, they come in and sip hot chocolate, read stories about nature, and write in their journals.

(Story written in collaboration with Ms. Albright, Allison Gill and Sophie Vigue. Gill and Vigue are 6th grade students at the St. George School.)

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