Category Archives: October 24

‘We’re calling ourselves the ‘new Herring Gut’

Herring Gut students with educator Georgie Burruss

It may sound a little crazy to call an organization that has been around for more than two decades “new,” but at this point in its history the board, staff and students at Herring Gut Learning Center in Port Clyde do seem to have the sense that their organization has undergone a transformation.

“When I joined the board a little more than two years ago, it was really at a point where people were shaking their heads and saying, ‘What do we want to be when we grow up?,’” says Kathleen Barker, who became Herring Gut’s executive director in August of 2018.

At that particular moment Herring Gut had completed two decades of working hard at developing a successful program of community-based, hands-on marine science education for St. George students. This was an approach to education that Herring Gut’s founder, Phyllis Wyeth, had hoped would equip local youth with the marine science knowledge and practical know-how that would allow them to earn a livelihood from the sea just as their families had been doing for generations—despite the fact that it was clear that the traditional fisheries were being depleted. But during those early years of bringing students to learn aquaculture at what was first known as Marshall Point Sea Farm, this kind of hands-on learning had been labeled “alternative education,” something only fit for students who were acting out in traditional classrooms out of frustration with trying to learn through academics-as-usual.

Still, over its first two decades of operation, Herring Gut had developed the physical infrastructure and curriculum-development experience to be able to offer meaningful instruction and experiences in aquaculture, aquaponics, marine science and even business to an increasingly wider range of middle-school students, middle- and high-school educators, summer campers and community members.

Executive Director Kathy Barker celebrating HGLC’s kelp farming program

The “aha” moment for that head-shaking Herring Gut Board was prompted, in part, by the fact that the relatively new St. George Municipal School District was embracing the very type of hands-on expeditionary learning model of education that Herring Gut had been pioneering for years. Seeing Herring Gut through that lens made it clear that Herring Gut, in fact, was already “grown up”—that what had been considered merely an “alternative” approach to education in general—and to marine science education in particular—was now being actively celebrated as cutting-edge and beneficial for all types of students. The question, then, was not about having something valuable to offer, but about how to significantly “scale out” what Herring Gut was already offering. And the key to scaling out, it seemed clear, was to not only work directly with as many students as possible, but to also work with many more teachers. Last year Herring Gut reached 499 students from over 28 schools. This year, Barker says, the number of students Herring Gut expects to reach is double that number, thanks to a new teacher-training it was able to provide at Messalonskee Middle School in Belgrade Lakes.

“The way we got into the Belgrade Lakes area was that a Herring Gut friend and donor, Don Borman, came to us and said, ‘We are doing so much in our district about the water but our kids need to be the ones involved.’ So with the aid of a two-year grant from his family foundation and additional grants from the Simmons Foundation, the Onion Foundation and the Sewell Foundation, we wrote a curriculum called “Fresh Water Forever” for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students. Then we took all the science teachers from that middle school and did three days of professional training with them. One of the grants also allowed us to go buy all the equipment they each needed in their classroom. So we developed this enthusiastic core of science teachers who are so excited to teach their kids all the different components that lead to healthy watersheds in their community.”

Now, Barker says, the goal is activism, encouraging students to become stewards of their watershed. And promoting healthy inland watersheds, Barker stresses, has everything to do with Herring Gut’s original mission of promoting a sustainable fishing economy in St. George and other coastal communities.

“Our kids here in St. George are hearing about climate change, they’re hearing that the fish are going away, they’re hearing from their families about maybe we should go into kelp farming. So they are living all of this climate change in an economic reality and that can be scary. So we’ve decided let’s embrace that. Phyllis’ focus was always on ocean stewardship and sustainability. And how can we not tag healthy climate onto that? So Herring Gut is really about ocean literacy, which involves inland watersheds as much as coastal communities, and it is about climate literacy. So we’re educating these kids here in the midcoast but also looking at how to educate students in classrooms elsewhere and we can do that by educating teachers.”

The Belgrade Lakes project also involved building new relationships, Barker adds. “This was a collaborative effort with Colby College Environmental Science Department, with the Seven Lakes Alliance as well as with the Borman Family Foundation. We are able now to support the teachers this year with an educator who will travel out there, help in presentations, help with any further development of lessons, build their confidence and knowledge base so they feel really prepared to go forward.”

To Barker, getting the “Fresh Water Forever” curriculum into more Maine schools holds a great deal of promise for having a significant impact on the state’s water quality. “That’s because, as they say, all the water runs down hill. So if we want our water here to be healthy water we need kids inland to know about healthy water. And so as we talk about what does the future hold for Herring Gut, that’s probably a lot of what it is. We’re calling ourselves the ‘new Herring Gut’—we still have a core mission of hands-on, innovative ocean marine science experiences focused on the students and community of St. George, but it is not just for St. George anymore. We’re scaling out our passion for ocean literacy and climate literacy this next decade.”

The only limitation at this point, Barker admits, is staffing. Herring Gut relies on fundraising, grants, and some income from the school districts who benefit from its educational programs. This year a fall fundraising drive in Phyllis Wyeth’s memory hopes to benefit from a Matching Gift Challenge good through October 31. To find out more go to herringgut.org or call 207-372-8677. —JW

PHOTOS: Courtesy Herring Gut Learning Center

Lessons from the grave

Nature bummin’ with Kirk Gentalen

Ring-necked snake (very alive)

Happy and safe Halloween everybody!

Fall is here and the St. George peninsula is knee deep in it. Colors have changed, leaves have left and “crisp” has become the adjective of choice when describing the days. Loads of life and lessons in the out-of-doors right now, and at this time of the year some of those lessons about life come via death. Heavy, I know. There may be no scarier place for animals, and no better place to look for the remains of critters than the streets. Yes, it’s another road-kill update!

I start by mentioning that I am not a fan of road kill in any way, though I can imagine scenarios where one isn’t completely heartbroken when a “nuisance animal” or an overpopulated deer is sprawled out on the side of a road. But I am not one of those people, at least not currently. I do believe, however, if an animal gets nailed by an automobile and is left in a state of minimal grossness, then there is nothing wrong with taking a closer look. For sure, road-kill lessons are usually flavored bittersweet, but they are there nonetheless, ready to be absorbed.

Some folks prefer to look for road kill from cars, especially larger road kill like porcupine and skunk. But ask anyone who walks, however, and they will tell you “if you want to see dead stuff, walking is the way to go,” as pedestrians move at slower speeds and have a lot of road to inspect. In these regards, biking seems similar to walking (especially at the pace I pedal), but with biking you can cover more ground and, in theory, expand your road-kill observation range!

Watts Avenue road kill in Tenants Harbor is usually of the cold-blooded sort (as in cold-blooded animals) and we all know how hard it is to feel sympathy for them (I mean, come on—they can’t even generate their own heat? Have they no hearts?). Anyway, one could play “connect the dots” down the entire avenue of late, with the dots being the carcasses of grasshoppers and woolly bear and tussock-moth caterpillars. Recent lessons have also reflected an increase in ring-necked and garter snake activity—possibly starting to make their way to winter hideouts—as well as amphibian movements after rainy nights. Red-spotted newts (red eft stage), wood frog, and red-backed salamanders have all met their ends on Watts, even with its seemingly low traffic flow. Heck, I went out to take pictures of road kill for this column and as I was turning my bike around to take a photo I crushed a grasshopper with my bike tire! Just adding another “dot” to the local road-kill lesson plan.

And now for something completely different—we got a cat a little more than a year ago. “Vesspurrs” is the name he came with and the one he purrs to, so that’s his name. We added Vesspurrs to the family knowing he was an indoor cat and he hasn’t shown the slightest interest in going out the front door—and lost interest quickly in our awesome, new back door. He basically searches for the next warm spot to nap, and naps are highly advocated around here. Over time, Vesspurrs has made the basement his own “cat cave”—a feline sanctuary in which to hang, do his business, and escape the human scene when needed. Everyone seems happy and the upstairs smells better.

It wasn’t long before Leif found a tick on the cat. All fingers in the house immediately pointed in my general direction, and honestly, it was a story that made sense. Man gives cat a tick—instant classic. But soon Vesspurrs was turning up with gifts I clearly didn’t give him. Gifts for us, like partially autopsy-ized shrews and mice, dead salamanders, and a slightly alive ring-necked snake (that was the best!). All brought up from the basement. And then a second tick. Fingers were still pointed at me again, but with less passion this time.

Vesspurrs and a basement kill

October has been an active month for our indoor hunter. Cricket pieces have piled up—what a year it’s been for them and grasshoppers—and their increased numbers in the wild have been reflected in the amount of “basement-kills.” Among Vesspurrs’ recent catches have also been red-backed salamanders and spring peepers—“rainy night specialties.” He seemed most proud of the spring peeper he caught though, and even woke me up in the middle of the night to show me. The frog was long dead by the time I caught wind of it, one of many hoppers undoubtedly on the move that night. I was able to release one red-backed salamander outside (mostly alive) but found the remains of another a few inches away from its recently removed tail. It’s the cat in him and it was kind of gross to have dead amphibians on the kitchen floor, but he’s protecting us from the threatening critters invading our basement while giving us a hint about local animal behavior! Thank you Vesspurrs!

We’ve always had a “crossing the line when you cross into my house” policy when it comes to local critters, but I’m not sure if we were thinking of amphibians when developing that policy. It’s funny that getting an indoor cat, doesn’t mean zero animal kills by any means. Or how riding a bike doesn’t necessarily mean no road kill. In fact, if I put my mind to it I could probably come up with a somewhat impressive list of animals I have nailed on my bike. But that’s a column for another time—maybe next Halloween! Have a safe one this year by the way!

As far as Vesspurrs is concerned, I’m happy for him. An indoor cat that gets to hunt. And the prey comes to him, he just goes into his cave and waits. I just wish I would stop giving him ticks, for his sake!

PHOTOS: Kirk Gentalen

Apples to applesauce

Rose Reynolds

by Trinity Delaney & Violet Ward

Mrs. Albright’s kindergarten has been learning all about apples, intertwined with science, math and literacy.

They learned about the cycle of an apple tree, from seed to tree. They enjoyed apple poems and apple books.

They looked for rhymes in stories—Apples Up on Top, by Theo LeSieg was the favorite. Then they made their own Apples Up On Top book for the class.

They counted apples, working on1:1 counting skills and made applesauce—and EVERYONE loved it!

Jackson Schwab

They also had a taste test. Will red, green, or yellow apples win? Bayleigh’s and Mila’s favorite apple is red. Alphonse likes yellow, and Ivan’s favorite is green! They made a bar graph to record the outcome. They all agree, apples are the best!

Here is their Apple Song:

I’m a little apple
Short and round
I make a munchy, crunchy sound
If you bite into me
You will see
I am as delicious as can be.

(Delaney and Ward are in the 6th grade at the St. George School.)

PHOTOS: Courtesy St. George School

80th St. George Alumni Association banquet

Earlier this year, on May 25, the 80th annual St. George Alumni Banquet was held at the Tenants Harbor Odd Fellows Hall. The mission of the St. George Alumni Association (SGAA) is to foster fellowship of the alumni, assist the St. George School, and help current alumni with post-secondary school scholarships.

If you attended school while living in St. George you qualify for membership in the SGAA. This includes everyone that went to an out-of-town high school and people that only attended for a short while. Current and former teachers and staff are also welcome.

The next banquet will be held on May 23, 2020. Please attend! Bring your spouse, significant other, and children! Contact Sandra Hall (sahcdm@gmail.com) for more information. The SGAA has an active Facebook page.

Hunting that is all about eating well

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor Jonathan Bailey, deer hunting is all about the venison. “As my father would always say,” Bailey, who lives on Route 131 near Long Cove Road, notes with a laugh, “you can’t eat the antlers.”

“A lot of people are indifferent about venison,” he continues, “but that is because it usually isn’t butchered properly or cooked properly.” That is one reason why Bailey doesn’t just kill his legally allotted deer, but he also butchers it himself.

Another reason is philosophical. “I found it was an important step I was missing in the hunting experience,” he explains. “Rather than kill, drop off the carcass to a butcher and then pick up the packaged meat as if it came from a grocery store, I believe it is important to take full responsibility for the animal out of respect for it. It is a time-consuming process, but very rewarding because you can also taste the difference.”

Bailey painstakingly dry-ages quarters of venison in a refrigerator dedicated to the purpose for roughly two weeks before finally breaking it down into steaks and sausage or stew meat. He estimates that he can get about 40 pounds of meat out of a 100-pound deer.

Bailey first began hunting with his father at about age 14, in Vermont, where he grew up.

“It was deep woods hunting, right next to the Green Mountain National Forest. I loved being in the woods, the camping, eating huge glorious meals, and hanging out with the men.”

But hunting fell by the wayside for him in college, mainly due to schedule. He moved to Maine in 1977, working during prime hunting hours in high-end restaurants as both waiter and wine steward—while maintaining a fine art photography studio in Rockland. Since then he has also pursued other avenues to earning a living—from lobstering and carpentry to, most recently, as he says, “buying junk and selling antiques.”

It was through one of his wife’s (Jane Matthews), accounting clients that in 2005 he got interested in hunting again.

“This client would give Jane a gift of venison every year—the meat was delicious! So I decided to take the state’s hunter safety course, get a license and try hunting again, first using a rifle and then in 2007 using a bow.”

The 2013 statewide bow-hunting season runs October 3 to November 1 (although archery hunters can actually hunt for an expanded three-month season if they observe the restrictions that apply). Hunting with firearms is permitted for licensed hunters in November.

Baileyingear SM“Hunting using a bow is much, much harder than with a gun,” Bailey admits. “Within 15 minutes of getting settled in a tree on my first day of bow hunting this year, a spike-horn buck and a doe walked in. Both leisurely munched on browse around my tree stand for over half an hour. They never knew I was there, 16 feet up in a tree. But they remained on the outside limit of my comfort zone for distance, remaining approximately 30 yards away with brush and small branches further causing me pause. Bow hunting is very particular. Everything has to be just right. If they were, say, 20 yards away, or, perhaps even 25 yards, I would’ve likely taken a shot. But not 30 yards and partially obscured. So, I simply enjoyed the adrenaline rush and watched as they slowly walked away.”

Bailey hunts deer primarily in St. George, on land owned by friends who have given him permission to build tree blinds, a number of which he has outfitted with webcams. Knox County, Bailey notes, has more deer per square mile than anywhere in Maine. The reason, he says, is that the county’s climate is less harsh than in more isolated parts of the state where winter storms can decimate the deer population. But in this more populated part of the state the deer are also more cautious and therefore more challenging to hunt.

While the venison is the chief reason Bailey hunts—afterall, he says, ”Dinner is the reason to get out of bed in the morning”—spending time in the woods hunting also boosts and enriches his spirit.

“But I’m not just enjoying the woods,” he stresses. “I’m connecting the dots with the deer all the time, tracking their habits and patterns of migration. It is a large, fluid system  of natural life. To understand how best to hunt, you have to look at the whole picture.”

In the process, he says, he sees all kinds of “collateral” wildlife. “One time I was sitting in a blind and suddenly an owl swooped in to sit on a branch just over my shoulder. It was amazing! And this time of year, with the low angle of the sun on the foliage, the landscape is gorgeous.” —JW

Jonathan Bailey’s tips for preparing venison:

The vast majority of the venison Jane and I  eat here at home are 1-inch to 1.5-inch steaks cooked hot and fast in a cast iron skillet. I like to have a nice brown crust on each side and the inside rare to medium rare. Much more than that and the meat gets very tough and dry and the flavor gets stronger and stronger (perhaps this is the reason some people have been turned off by venison).

I save the four leg shanks specifically to cook in a slow cooker with onions, carrots, etc.—lots of red wine, vegetable stock and some sprigs of fresh thyme. We cook the potatoes separately. If you have the time and inclination, at the end of cooking (7-8 hours on slow) ladle cooking juices into a sauté pan and reduce to a nice velvety smooth sauce. And any sauce left after everything is eaten I freeze and add to the next shank I cook.

As for all the “trim,” the Italian sausage I make is the best!

 

Remembering St. George history

In 1999 Kathleen Fox, then an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work, received a grant from the Maine Humanities Council and from the University of Southern Maine for a local oral history project. She focused on the St. George High School class of 1938. Josephine Thompson (later married to Raymond Harper) was a member of that class. She had a twin sister, Pauline, along with a brother and another sister. The following is excerpted from Fox’s interview with her. Historic photos are from The St. George Peninsula by Tammy Willey.

When my twin sister and I were very young, say from back to where your memory breaks in up until we were 10 years old, we lived over [by Drift Inn Beach] and we were right on the shore.  We had our own little pool you might say, and we had a wonderful time.  And we were poor, I mean we were really poor. We had the chamber mugs and the outhouse out in the barn and all those things, but we were happy, truly happy.

Josephine Harper

Josephine Harper

When we came to live in the village [of Port Clyde], that was a big deal. We had really arrived. We were about 10 years old. And of course all the men in the village, including my Dad, were either fishermen or lobstermen and everybody owned a small punt, we called them, or a dory, and we kids could always borrow them and go for a ride up the river a ways. We weren’t allowed to go very far, of course. When we were older, I’ll say by the time we were 12 or 13 we’d take my father’s dory and go out and tie up at the can buoy out in the harbor, the black buoy, and catch flounders. We always had plenty to eat. Never went without food, and fish was the mainstay of our diet. Well, the salted fish—we always had those. Fod Davis’ wife and my mother were cousins and they had big flakes up on the hill and they dried a lot of fish. They called it slack-salted. Hake mostly, I think.  Cod and hake they would dry.

In the winter our roads didn’t get plowed like they do today. We could go way up on the hill, up towards the Harpoon restaurant (we called it something different), and we could slide all the way down to my house. Of course they didn’t sand the roads and in the winter a lot of people that had automobiles put them up for the winter so we had a great time sliding. That was one of the big things in the winter. Had a lot more snow than we have now, but we enjoyed it.

My Dad was [also] a jitney driver. He worked for a garage in Rockland. He drove their cars down to get people to the Monhegan Boat. And when the Wawenock Hotel was up on the Horse Point Road a lot of the movie stars used to come there in the summertime and he would bring them down with his jitney. That’s how my mother got to Port Clyde.  She lived in Vermont and she had relatives here and she came down and worked at the Wawenock as a waitress. That’s where she met my father.  All the Rockland fellas used to call the boys in Port Clyde ‘Clam Town Romeos.’ So that’s where my mother met her Clam Town Romeo, working down there.

The Wyeths [were] way up at the end [of Horse Point Road]. Of course everybody in the village thought the world of Mr. Wyeth, N. C. He was a great guy.  And I knew the whole family at that time.

Josephine and her sister Pauline are in there somewhere!

Josephine and her sister Pauline are in there somewhere!

Everybody went to Sunday school. We went to the Port Clyde Baptist. And, of course, the Advents also had theirs. And we had a nice Christian endeavor. All the young people went. Never thought of doing anything different. But, see, the teenagers didn’t have transportation then and so there wasn’t anything to take them away and that was the way we spent Sunday, but it was good.

None of the Thompsons in this area are related. My grandfather came from over around Owls Head somewhere. My grandmother was a Marshall and I’m related to all those Marshalls [connected to Marshall Point]. And in my mother’s background there’s an American Indian.

At Town Meeting, between the Port Clyders and Tenants Harbor people, there was always some friction there. And course my father never missed a Town Meeting.  Then he’d come home and rave about it. Town Meeting used to be all day long. You’d go in  the morning and then one of the lodges would serve at noon. Of course, you had to pay for it. But people from Wiley’s Corner and Tenants Harbor and Port Clyde had different ideas and they would argue. My father, any time there was a chance for an argument, he was there. He was in on it. My mother was just the opposite.

Down at Port Clyde, there was a little ballfield. Every kid in the village had access so that didn’t cost anybody anything. I always played. I wasn’t too bad, but we didn’t have any organized sports for the girls in high school. We had a teacher that came here when I was a sophomore and she was right out of college. She organized a girl’s softball, but it was just like an intramural sport, you know.  And volleyball also.  And that was the only organized sport and it was all done right within our own school. Otherwise, baseball was the sport in town.

When we went to the grange they used to have these five-cent socials every Friday night. They were dances and local people played and they always were well chaperoned. The kids were all friends. They came from all over town.

Port Clyde School

Port Clyde School

There was a school in Port Clyde, a two-story school. If you were down, say, by the Advent Church and looked straight up the road coming out, it was right where they put that road through. Right in the middle of where the road is now. I must have been 13, eighth grade, when I went to Tenants Harbor for high school. And Wiley’s Corner had a school and, see, years before that there was a school practically everywhere.

When we got to high school age we studied all four years with lamps. We didn’t have any electricity. But we liked school and we’d study and Verena would come over.  She lived right next door and we’d do our studies together and have a little fun.  And my mother was very nice about having the young folks come in.  She’d make cookies and donuts and cake and everything and so we always had a group hanging around during the school years. Had a good time.

And I’d say everybody was in the same boat when I was growing up. There were some who had a little more than others, but there was no big distinction between the haves and have-nots. We were happy. We had plenty to eat and we were comfortable and the kids mostly wore hand-me-downs and what the parents made for them and nobody cared. I like that attitude.

Harper now lives near her son in Belmont, Massachusetts.

All Souls Day

They are all dead:  Our brothers and sisters—Marion, Joe, Renald, Ginny, Jimsey;  Our friends—Henry, Dave, Dan;  My friend, Susan . . . Our contemporaries are  dropping like flies.

You are eighty-five, I seventy-eight.  And even though we have fleeting bouts of energy, I imagine us, these days, to be living in an celestial slit—our recent residence, now that we have down-sized from the roominess of many choices to the narrower dwelling place of memory and daily gratitude.

In Ordinary Time you and I are still here. And I so much wish we could all be together again. I so much wish the ancient stories were true. Even if . . . would that our faithful departed family and friends return from the dead—in ghostly garb or not—to sit with us, once a year, at the harvest table of abundance.

— Janet Shea (Janet Shea holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She has published essays and poetry in newspapers and magazines (including The Christian Science Monitor, The Witness, and most recently, Liguorian Magazine) and has read several of her personal essays on MPBN and WERU. She lives in Martinsville and is currently at work on a non-fiction book White Lies, Honest-to-God Truths and other Illusions: One Woman’s Pilgrimage to Ireland.)

The tipping time on autumn cut-backs

The assistance of a cat during the garden cut-back is optional.

The assistance of a cat in the garden cut-back is optional.

We have had a lovely mild autumn without a killing frost through the middle of October, so herbaceous plants that die back and wither with frost have valiantly plowed on. As a result, perennial borders haven’t begun to look too bad, especially where Autumn Joy sedums (aptly named) and other late-season flowering plants continue to add some color.
It’s a tricky time, I find, in garden care. On the one hand, if I leave the cutting back, final weeding and rake-though too late, it’s too cold for me to want to grub around in the soil. On the other hand, I love the late-season colors of some of the plants—the Amsonia with its golden orange, peonies with their peachy brown, the Heuchera which continue to shine—so I tend to want to leave things as long as I can.

If I leave things too long and never get them cut back I know it’s not the end of the world. It is true the old foliage is a place where different diseases and bugs can hide for the winter, but when I’ve left it I haven’t had too much of a problem with this issue the next year. No, the real problem with not performing the cutbacks and clean-ups is that you have to deal with the soft, slimy, old leaves in the spring. And you have to be careful you don’t injure tender shoots that are starting up through the old leaves. Every time I don’t clean up the gardens in the fall, I curse this decision the following spring.

The tipping time is coming soon, when I will just have to let go of late-season beauty and opt for the order of a tidy garden, put to bed for the season. And if I have time I will also put a nice top dressing of compost on the beds so when the plants wake up in the spring they will have a nicely enriched soil ready for them to push through. (Spring, by the way, is also a perfect time to top dress the beds with a mulch of compost; I just tend to have more time in the fall so I do it then.)

There’s also the question of how to cut things back. There is no one right way. In my traditional mixed borders with a few shrubs, some annuals as fillers, and perennials, I tend to use my trusty Felco clippers so I can work around everything and pause to weed along the way. I like to leave two to four inches of the stems of the plants so I can tell what was where in the spring and so I don’t risk cutting into the crowns of some perennials. In some gardens, particularly those with ornamental grasses and large stands of similar plants, I find a little hand scythe works well: you can grab a bunch of stalks and leaves with one hand and cut with the other. And then there are those glorious big beds with daylilies that lend themselves to the quick work of a string trimmer, followed by a rake through.

— Anne Cox (Cox is co-owner of Hedgerow in Martinsville.)

Rock the Dock for Dylan

Tom Judge

Tom Judge

The October 19 Rock the Dock fundraising event held to honor the life of Dylan Gold, the nine-year-old boy killed at the Monhegan Boat Line dock this past August—and  to benefit Life Flight and the St. George Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Association—was a poignant mix of painful memories and celebration. Recognizing the holes ripped into the fabric of a community when such tragic events occur, Life Flight’s Tom Judge spoke to the hundreds of people crowded into the tent covering the dock about the need to mend them by coming together to remember, but also to witness to what holds the community together. “Memory has to be active,” Judge said, “or those we have lost will be forgotten.” Worth celebrating, he stressed, is that the town’s volunteer firefighters and medical technicians have been faithfully responding to emergencies for 60 years as of November 15. Raising funds for that work is important, he added. “Life Flight is raising money for a third helicopter. We needed three helicopters [to respond to the crash in Port Clyde last August], but we only had two.”

Other speakers included Randall Thistle of the Port Clyde Advent Christian Church, who led the crowd in a long moment of silence and offered a prayer for healing for the Gold family; Candy Davis, Paramedic and Community Health Coordinator, who thanked community members for their support; and Bill Hickey of Tenants Harbor Baptist Church, who remembered those fisherman lost at sea and blessed the fleet.

Randall Thistle, Candy Davis and Bill Hickey

Randall Thistle, Candy Davis and Bill Hickey

Numerous local businesses and artists offered goods and services for a raffle and there was an abundance of donated food on hand, from lobster, oysters, roasted pork, salads and casseroles to a tempting array of desserts. Music was supplied by the Country Choir and the Maine Rockits. The next day, Monhegan Boat Line’s Amy Barstow estimated that about $24,000 was raised for the two organizations.
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