2 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 FEATURES 36 SHOPPING AROUND FOR HEALTHCARE Don’t let your bank account dictate your wellbeing 40 CURIOUS ABOUT CANNABIS? It’s high time to explore the possible health benefits of edible products 44 BACK TO THE LAND Tips for turning your home into a mini homestead IN
06 MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS Get to know our team 08 WHAT’S HAPPENING Local events and a Pop Quiz 14 MAINE READS, MAINE WRITES Meet Bangor writer Katie Lattari 16 OBSESSIONS What we can’t get enough of this month 48 THE VIEW FROM HERE The truth of the matter 10
ON THE COVER Revealing better health for you and our planet
FINDING FRESCOES IN SOLON
THERAPY DOGS OFFER STRESS RELIEF
CONTENTS SPRING 2023
PHOTOS: (TOP) JODI HERSEY; (BOTTOM) PATRICK WINE, COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE
ARTS & CULTURE
10 FRESCOES FIND HEAVENLY HOME
Visit a historic building in Solon that is home to stunning fresco artwork
12 10 YEARS OF BLOOMING
Bangor’s Adopt-A-Garden project hits milestone this spring
FOOD & DRINK
18 CLASSIC COCKTAILS — WITH A TWIST
Everyone deserves a cheat day. Check out these reimagined classic cocktails from local hot spots
HEALTH & FITNESS
22 ADVENTURE ME
Hike along Maine’s soothing coast
26 PAW-SITIVE IMPACT
Therapy dogs help area college students combat stress
28 AFTER CANCER
New program for cancer survivors addresses the question of “What’s next?”
HOME & FINANCE
30 SPRING CLEANING
Spruce up your home — on a budget
34 PERSONAL FINANCE
Get in the habit of saving
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 3
planet, healthy you
I’M WELCOMING SPRING WITH OPEN ARMS THIS YEAR.
Our family made the, ahem, ill-advised decision to adopt a new puppy in the middle of the winter. Remember that cold snap, when Maine recorded temperatures only previously seen on the surface of Mars? That was the day we brought Archie home. We’ve spent a lot of time outdoors this winter on walks, taking potty breaks, and taste-testing every stick in the Greater Bangor area. I am so ready for warmer weather.
The good news is all that time moving around to keep Archie busy means I’ve hit my step goal more times in the past month than I did all last year. We’re taking longer and longer walks, going on hikes, throwing balls — and I’m healthier for it. Plus, who can resist puppy kisses? The health benefits of owning a pet, or even just visiting with one (check out our story about therapy dog visits on page 26) are well documented.
Getting healthy can mean a lot of different things. Maybe it’s eating better or losing those extra pounds. Maybe it’s working on your mental health to tame your stress and anxiety levels (if you’ve ever been curious about cannabis and its possible health benefits, check out the story on page 40). Maybe it’s doing something good for the planet like growing your own food (flip to page 44 for ideas on turning your home into a homestead).
Getting healthy could mean spending more time with friends (take a pal out for a cocktail or a mocktail — see page 18), enjoying more time outside (try one of the oceanside hikes featured on page 22), or doing some spring cleaning (see page 30).
Being creative always makes me feel better (note the craft-project covers). If you love reading and writing as much as I do, you’ll be excited to learn we’re featuring a new column this year. Maine author Robin Clifford Wood is penning “Maine Reads, Maine Writes” (on page 14), which this season features Bangor’s own Katie Lattari. If another certain Bangor resident is the King of horror, I’d argue Lattari’s sinister new novel makes her the queen. “Dark Things I Adore” was one of my favorite recent reads — I highly recommend it. But maybe don’t take it along on your Moosehead Lake vaca this summer.
Speaking of Bangor, if you flip this issue over you’ll discover a whole section devoted to Bangor’s history. Special thanks to Matt Bishop at the Bangor Historical Society and local historian Richard Shaw, who both shared some great insight and amazing photos from the past. And if you’re interested in digging into your own history, we’ve got tips and local resources (page 8) to get you started on your own genealogical adventure.
WISHING YOU A HAPPY, HEALTHY (AND WARM) SPRING!
AMY ALLEN EDITOR & ART DIRECTOR
4 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 Connect With Us Online bangormetro.com facebook.com/BangorMetro bangormetro email@example.com EDITOR’S NOTE Go Team! FLIP TO THE NEXT PAGE TO MEET JUST A FEW OF OUR BANGOR METRO CONTRIBUTORS FEATURED IN THIS SEASON’S ISSUE. healthy
P.O. Box 1329
Bangor, Maine 04402-1329
PUBLISHER Richard J. Warren
EDITOR & ART DIRECTOR
PHOTOGRAPHERS, & PROOFREADERS
Nancy Battick, Stephanie Bouchard, Emily Burnham, Sarah Cottrell, Stacy Cummings, Marissa Donovan, Anne Gabbianelli, Jodi Hersey, Emily Morrison, Joanna O’Leary, Kaylie Reese, Crystal Sands, Aislinn Sarnacki, Richard Shaw, Katie Smith, Robin Clifford Wood
Bangor Metro Magazine. Spring 2023, Vol. 19, No. 1.
Copyright © Bangor Publishing Company.
Bangor Metro is published 4 times annually by Bangor Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
This magazine may not be reproduced in whole or part in any form without the written permission of the Publisher.
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COVER ART: Amy Allen
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 5
ANNE GABBIANELLI has enjoyed a robust career as a freelance writer, broadcast journalist, and college professor. Her articles about the fascinating people and history of Maine have been published in several magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals. She finds her subjects as she travels throughout the state, discovering hidden towns, visiting museums, and exploring local lore. Anne is also a hospice volunteer who meets amazing people who often share their life stories with her.
JODI HERSEY is a reporter with ABC7 & FOX22 in Bangor. Over the years, she’s had the privilege of writing for all sorts of platforms including television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. When she’s not working, Jodi enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering at a number of nonprofits. Jodi is a proud military wife, mom, and a huge fan of classic cars.
JOANNA SHAWN BRIGID “BRIDEY”
O’LEARY was born in Alexandria, Virginia, grew up in central Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and now calls Sebec, Maine home. She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English and earned a PhD in Victorian literature from Rice University. Bridey has served as a culinary consultant, food historian and travel/food critic for media outlets such as The Nosher, Let’s Go travel guides, Wine Enthusiast, HuffPost, the Onion, Texas Highways, Houstonia, and ColinCowie Weddings. Follow her writing and research projects at www.brideyoleary.com.
SARAH COTTRELL is a writer, editor and online content creator from midcoast Maine. She is currently an editor at Parents Magazine and is working on her first novel. Learn more about her writing on Instagram @housewifeplus and Medium @sarahcottrell, and sign up for her newsletter sarahcottrell. substack.com where she shares freelancing advice.
is an editor and writer based in the Midcoast. She writes about health/wellness, business, pets and Maine life and people. She has been published locally and nationally in publications such as the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Working Waterfront, Island Journal, The Maine Monitor, WSJ.com, Caregiving, Chicago Health and Cosmopolitan magazines, MensHealth.com, and the Washington Post’s The Lily. Find her at stephaniebouchard.net.
STACY CUMMINGS is the customer service manager of the Bangor Daily News and a freelance writer. Although freelancing is new to her, she has been writing nearly her whole life. Outside of writing, she is passionate about photography and the outdoors. You can follow her scenic adventures on Facebook at Stacy’s Scenic Shots.
KATIE BINGHAMSMITH is a full-time freelance writer. She’s a staff writer for websites such as Scary Mommy, Grown and Flown and The Girlfriend. You can also follow her fashion adventures on Instagram @katiebinghamsmith.
CRYSTAL SANDS is writing professor, homesteader and editor of the journal Farmer-ish, a journal dedicated to farming arts and education. When she is not saving seeds or tending chickens, she is writing daily for the Farmer-ish blog. You can follow her adventures in homesteading in rural Maine at www.farmer-ish.net.
6 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS
MARCH 4, 18 / APRIL 1, 15, 29
PIZZA AND WHOOPIE PIE TRAIN RIDE
Let the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad take you and your family on a fun-filled train ride with pizza, a whoopie pie dessert, and beverage. Trains depart Unity Station at 11 a.m. BELFASTANDMOOSEHEADLAKERAIL.ORG
PBR: PENDLETON WHISKY VELOCITY TOUR
The Professional Bull Riders’ Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour is bucking into Maine. You’ve got three days to catch the action at Cross Insurance Center. CROSSINSURANCECENTER.COM
15TH ANNUAL SYMPHONY SOIRÉE
Save the date! The Symphony Soirée returns to the Collins Center for the Arts on Saturday, March 11 at 6 p.m. Enjoy the unique auction items, delicious food, and special musical guests that make this the best reason to get dressed up for a night out with friends! All proceeds benefit the Bangor Symphony Orchestra and its education programs. BANGORSYMPHONY.ORG
2023 MAINE SCIENCE FESTIVAL
Celebrate Maine science and the people who do it! Enjoy a variety of programs, presentations, hands-on learning experiences, and more — all for free! Presented by the Maine Science Festival and Maine Discovery Museum. MAINESCIENCEFESTIVAL.ORG
MAINE MAPLE SUNDAY WEEKEND
On this special weekend, many sugarhouses around Maine open their doors to visitors, offering maple syrup samples and demonstrations on how pure Maine maple syrup is made. Many farms offer games, activities, treats, sugarbush tours, music, and so much more. Visit MAINEMAPLEPRODUCERS.COM to find a list of participating sugarhouses and their individual hours and offerings.
MARCH 30-APRIL 16
“QUEEN” BY MADHURI SHEKAR AT THE PENOBSCOT THEATRE
To bee or not to bee? That is the question. Enjoy this dramatic comedy about friendship, love, truth, and data. Sanam and Ariel are best friends and fellow researchers. They’re on a mission to save the bees and the world. Just days before the team’s groundbreaking scientific presentation, a discovery suddenly threatens years of their work. Should they let a little thing like the truth get in their way? PENOBSCOTTHEATRE.ORG
HELLO SUNSHINE! Spring is in the air — or at least it better be soon! Here’s a Pop Quiz to greet the season... Answers to this month’s Pop Quiz: Question 1: A; Q2: C (Persephone was the Greek goddess of spring); Q3: A; Q4: A; Q5: B.
8 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 WHAT’S HAPPENING
Find answers below!
PHOTO: BDN FILE
BANGOR ON TAP
The 9th Annual Bangor on Tap is coming to the Cross Insurance Center. Enjoy a wide selection of beer samples, souvenir sampling glass, and more. BANGORONTAP.COM
ONE NIGHT OF QUEEN PERFORMED BY GARY MULLEN AND THE WORKS
Gary Mullen and The Works will perform One Night of Queen, a spectacular live concert, recreating the look, sound, pomp and showmanship of one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Prepared to be rocked at the Collins Center for the Arts.
BRIDGE THE GAP RACE
Held since 2012, Bridge the Gap has quickly gained popularity as one of Eastern Maine's rites of spring! There are two opportunities to participate. Both races start at Fort Knox in Prospect and cross the stunning Penobscot Narrows Bridge. The 10 miler tours Verona Island from west to east, while the 3 miler follows the scenic river walk. Both races finish on Main Street in the heart of downtown Bucksport! BRIDGETHEGAPRACE.COM
CHELSEA HANDLER: THE LBB TOUR
Join comedian, actress, writer, television host, and producer Chelsea Handler for a night of laughs at the Cross Insurance Center. Tickets start at $45.75.
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM FOR MORE EVENT UPDATES!
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 9
10 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 ARTS & CULTURE
ARTS & CULTURE IS SPONSORED BY COLLINSCENTER FORTHEARTS.COM University of Maine (207) 581-1755
VINTAGE BUILDING IN SOLON HOUSES FLOOR-TO-CEILING FRESCOES FOR ALL TO ENJOY
STORY & PHOTOS BY JODI HERSEY
Not everyone is proud of their past, but that cannot be said for the South Solon Meeting House. From the outside, this 1842 whitesided building, nestled among open fields and rural back roads in Somerset County, resembles that of an old-fashioned church. However, it is the floor-to-ceiling frescoes bursting with all sorts of colors inside the structure on the South Solon Road that truly make this place divine.
“If you want to see something totally unique in an unexpected place, this is it for sure,” said professional photographer David Franzen. “I can’t imagine what it took to do it and the inspiration to do it. It’s beyond comprehension.”
Franzen’s uncle was just one of the artists from the nearby Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture that helped create the frescoes in the South Solon Meeting House back in the 1950s. Fresco is a technique of mural painting done on fresh plaster that was developed in Italy. Those who use this technique must apply a fresh plaster mixture on the wall and then paint on that mixture while it is still wet.
“I can see my uncle’s artwork here and the rest of his artistic friends,” Franzen said during a recent visit. “My two aunts and mom were all married in this building, so it’s definitely part of the family fabric.”
The South Solon Meeting House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally created as a place for religious and community activities to take place. Church services have not been held in the building for decades, but the structure itself has most recently been used for weddings, concerts, and poetry readings, according to Andrew Davis, a member of the South Solon Meeting House board of directors.
“I will come in here sometimes, and there will just be a guy up on the podium playing guitar and singing. It’s really nice,” Davis said. “The acoustics in here are beautiful.”
Davis, who is also the groundskeeper for the building, still gets mesmerized by the frescoes.
“I always see something different when I look at the frescoes. I noticed over in that corner, there is a hand,” Davis said as he looked around from the pew where he was sitting. “I am just amazed at the new things I see.”
Colby College art professor and fresco scholar Veronique Plesch said the South Solon Meeting House is like no other place on earth.
“It’s one of a kind,” Plesch said. “The interesting thing about these frescoes, which were done by contemporary artists, is they were given free rein about the topic they wanted to cover. It had to be religious. The secular topics are in the lobby, but within the building itself, it is all religious.”
From angels and shepherds to rolling hills and beautiful skies, all are depicted in great detail in these frescoes in Solon. It’s a heavenly sight people of all ages, walks of life, and faiths are invited to experience whenever they are in the area.
“This is very important to the South Solon community,” Davis said. “We have a lot of return visitors who bring guests up to the meeting house, and we have individuals who have lived in Solon all their life and have never stepped foot in the building. People [just] never expect to open the door and see this artwork in the middle of nowhere.”
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 11
10 YEARS OF Blooming
DOWNTOWN BANGOR PARTNERSHIP’S ADOPT-A-GARDEN PROJECT HITS MILESTONE
If you’re looking for a sign of spring, you’ll find it rooted in downtown Bangor. Downtown Bangor Partnership's Beautification Committee started the Adopt-A-Garden project 10 years ago, shaping the landscape with 150 plots of flowers and greenery supported by local businesses and residents in Greater Bangor.
What started as a small, grassroot program has inspired people to become invested in the community. Each plot, flower box, and planter includes a small placard listing the local business, organization, or individuals who adopted the space, including downtown staples such as the Bangor Farmers’ Market and The Rock & Art Shop. The City of Bangor has provided mulch and allows the program to use municipal property to cultivate each garden. Other businesses — including J.B. Brown & Sons, and Edwards, Faust & Smith, CPAs — have contributed by sponsoring events, and Sprague’s Nursery & Garden Center offers discounts to those who have adopted a garden.
BY MARISSA DONOVAN
“It’s a public space that belongs to everyone,” said Betsy Lundy, executive director of the Downtown Bangor Partnership.
In 2022, Adopt-A-Garden launched the Invasive Plants Management Project.
Imke Jandreau, a member of the Downtown Bangor Partnership Board of Directors and chair of the Beautification Committee, shared that each garden site is surveyed for invasive plants that could spread and take over the downtown landscape. In an effort to preserve and encourage native plant growth, invasive plants, such as Bishop’s Weed and Ribbon Grass, are removed. The Invasive Plants Management Project will continue its approach this year, again encouraging others to be mindful of unwanted plants that could be growing.
Lundy and Jandreau have been busy planning for the upcoming year. For those who wish to adopt, returning gardeners get the first pick when selecting their plot. After April 1, new gardeners have the opportunity to adopt by viewing
what’s available on the Garden Map at tinyurl.com/adoptagardenmap, then by filling out an adopt form at tinyurl.com/ adoptagardenform.
A downtown spring cleanup will be held in the month of April. Anyone who would like to participate is welcome. This includes picking up litter, removing graffiti, painting benches, and overall refreshing the growing spaces. In May, the community can start planting flowers, spreading mulch, and watering sites. In the month of June, the Summer Solstice Garden Party will be returning after four years. This party will be a social event with refreshments, outdoor games, and a chance to celebrate the hard work of adoptees and volunteers, while also being an opportunity to meet people who have contributed to Adopt-A-Garden.
Lundy has enjoyed not only seeing local businesses participate but seeing children engage in the program and how it has become a family affair. For additional information and updates, follow Downtown Bangor on Facebook.
12 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 ARTS & CULTURE
In this photo from 2016, Maggie and Elena Pritchard of Bangor help with their family's garden plot in West Market Square .
PHOTO: BDN FILE PHOTO
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 13
Writing the DARK SIDE OF MAINE
MAINE READS, MAINE WRITES
MAINE’S BEAUTY AND MAINE’S MENACE INSPIRE DEBUT NOVEL
BY ROBIN CLIFFORD WOOD
When Katie Lattari’s debut thriller was released in September 2021, the book world took notice. The New York Times Book Review called “Dark Things I Adore” “stunning,” and it was Barnes and Noble’s Mystery and Thriller Pick of the Month in July of 2022. This creepy revenge tale found its path to success in the state of Maine, just like its author. Over slices of pie at Dysarts, Lattari shared the story of how she came to call Maine home for herself and for her novel.
Lattari was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved with her family to Maine at the age of 8, when the power of Maine’s quiet, remote spaces set her imagination wild. She attended the University of Maine at Orono, where she enjoyed helping out with the English department’s visiting writer series, then left Maine for graduate work in the midwest. She considered a return to New York, she said, but the allure of Maine’s landscapes and the self-sufficiency inherent in Maine’s people always drew her back.
“Dark Things I Adore” tells the story of a predatory professor who accompanies his student on a weekend away in the woods. Like Lattari herself, the book was first set in New York City, with its action taking place in the Catskills. Lattari then realized the setting wasn’t remote enough for the atmosphere she sought, so she moved everything north. The city setting for her book became Boston, and the isolated region where the story gets hot takes place in the Maine woods. Maine’s raw beauty, she observed, sits side by side with an undercurrent of menace in isolation.
“You go so quickly from populated areas to dropping off the cliff,” she said, which is exactly what happens to the characters in her novel.
The book’s parallel story involves a summer art colony, many years earlier, set in the same part of Maine.
“What happens if you put a group of eclectic creatives together in this landscape?” she asked.
The book explores that question, with that air of menace a constant, hovering presence. How the two stories intertwine is an elaborate feat of writing and a thrill to read.
“I like ecosystems as an organizing principle,” Lattari said.“Every part of Maine can shape a story differently.”
Right now Lattari said she is working on revisions for her next novel, set on Maine’s coast, and she has aspirations to write a multibook series one day. Which ecosystems might be featured next?
Lest you imagine Lattari’s success came easily, be assured that she has shown the kind of hardworking stick-to-it-iveness she admires in other Mainers.
Long before “Dark Things,” she published an experimental novel called “American Vaudeville” and worked extensively on other writing, without finding her stride.
Lattari hit some difficult times, considered teaching or entering a PhD program, and experienced a plague of self doubt. Then, in 2017, she had an epiphany in the form of a question: “Why am I not writing what I love to read?”
From her youthful days of reading “Goosebumps” to her current interest in works by Gillian Flynn, Tana French, and Stephen King, Lattari has always loved suspense and thrillers. So she tried her hand at the genre she loved and found her niche. What a thrill it was for her, she said, to return to the University of Maine as a “visiting writer” in the very same program she had helped run as an undergrad.
“That was a real full-circle moment,” she said.
Lattari describes herself as a “tea kettle writer.” Sometimes she goes weeks or even months without writing, though ideas are perpetually percolating.
“I burble, burble, burble for a long time, then suddenly the steam shoots out, and I can get a lot done,” Lattari said.
The steam shot out with a vengeance for “Dark Things I Adore,” and all that percolating finally paid off.
To learn more about Lattari’s journey to getting published, visit katielattari.com.
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 15
ROBIN CLIFFORD WOOD is the award-winning author of “The Field House,” a biography-memoir hybrid about Maine author Rachel Field. For the last 20 years she has immersed herself in Maine’s writing world — as columnist, poet, blogger, essayist, teacher, student, and colleague. To learn more, visit her website: robincliffordwood.com.
WHAT WE CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THIS MONTH.
“HALF-BAKED HARVEST: EVERY DAY” COOKBOOK
BY TIEGHAN GERARD
WHY DO WE LOVE IT? My husband and I have worked out a pretty good division of meal time labor over the years: I cook, he cleans up. It works great, but I hate deciding what to make for dinner. I try to make a plan and shop for at least a handful of meals at a time, but when I ask for suggestions from the family, I get nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. My son always replies with “fettuccine alfredo,” and my daughter says “Kraft Mac & Cheese.” Not helpful.
So I went on a mission to find some new dinner ideas and recipes. My soon-to-be sister-in-law is a great cook and suggested checking out the Food Network app, which is fantastic. I particularly love that you can search based on what you’ve got in the fridge, and it will make recipe suggestions from your random assortment of food.
LAVENDER CHAI LATTE FROM NEST
WHY DO WE LOVE IT? Walking around downtown Bangor with the flowers in bloom and a beverage in hand is one of my favorite parts of spring. My go-to morning or afternoon drink is a Lavender Chai Latte from Nest. I’ve ordered this even when winter slush was covering the sidewalk, because this latte makes me think of warmer weather and gets me excited for the new season. Whether you order it hot or iced, it’s a cozy, creamy, pick-me-up — that I like best with almond milk.
— MARISSA DONOVAN
FOR MORE OBSESSIONS BETWEEN ISSUES, FOLLOW OUR BANGOR METRO FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM PAGES!
My absolute new favorite, however, is a cookbook I picked up called “Half-Baked Harvest: Every Day” by Tieghan Gerard. I just got it, and it’s already dog-earred and covered in post-it notes. Every recipe I’ve tried has been a hit. My son asked me to make the Spicy Pretzel Chicken Fingers again before he was even done eating. My husband raved about the Chipotle Cheddar Corn Chowder. And I’ve already made the Oatmeal Lace Cookies three times per my daughter’s request. Tonight, I’m going to try making perogies for the first time.
The photos are stunning, and the recipes are easy to follow and adjust based on your family’s tastes and preferences. There’s also a website at halfbakedharvest.com with tons of recipes and meal planning ideas. Exactly what I needed to get out of a meal-time slump!
— AMY ALLEN
PUB PRETZELS FROM BLACK BEAR BREWING
WHY DO WE LOVE IT? It’s de rigueur for breweries to have things like beer cheese and pretzels on their menus, and Black Bear Brewing on Exchange Street in Bangor is no exception. The difference with their pretzel is that it is almost comically enormous. Seriously, that thing is bigger than the width of your head. It’s also lightly crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and the best bar pretzel you’re going to get in Greater Bangor. Their beer cheese is also delightful — almost more of a queso dip rather than a spread. Black Bear’s in-house barbecue ain’t too shabby either. Don’t sleep on the small but tasty menu at Black Bear. Get a Gearhead to go with it, an amber ale they have been making for the better part of two decades, that’s as easy drinking a beer as you could ask for.
SUBSCRIBE to The B-Side newsletter for more from Emily, plus local happenings, news and fun. Visit bangordailynews.com/bdn-newsletters.
CELEBRITY BOOK CLUB PODCAST WITH CHELSEA DEVANTEZ
WHY DO WE LOVE IT? If you were ever curious about that one tellall by the actress you loved from the ’90s, and if their memoir was worth reading or not, chances are writer and comedian Chelsea Devantez has covered it on her podcast, Celebrity Book Club. Devantez and her weekly guest co-host select a celebrity memoir (Matthew Perry, Shania Twain, Cher, and more), then quickly highlight the key points of the book, the writing style, and parts of the narrative that captured their attention for better or for worse. Even if you haven’t read one of the many memoirs they’ve discussed on the podcast, you will still enjoy their commentary and connection to the book.
— MARISSA DONOVAN
I love to read and have picked up some particularly good books recently. Here are a few I recommend.
“CARRIE SOTO IS BACK” BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID — If you love tennis, you’re guaranteed to love this book. It’s the story of an aging female tennis star who is breaking out of her retirement to defend her Grand Slam title record. There’s a mild love story and a very Williams-sisters-esque father/coach element that add to the drama, but at its core, it’s really all about tennis. Soto isn’t the most likable character out there, but she feels very real in her sacrifices and the attitude it takes to be a star athlete. I’m a huge fan of everything Taylor Jenkins Reid writes, and I appreciate the little crossover moments in her novels. (Carrie Soto also makes an appearance in “Malibu Rising.”) The writer’s ability to write in such different subject areas and times (“Daisy Jones & the Six” reads like a rock-and-roll documentary, while “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is all about Old Hollywood glam) with equal skill is mind-blowing. (FICTION)
“THE ROSE CODE” BY KATE QUINN — I loved Kate Quinn’s “The Alice Network,” but I think I loved “The Rose Code” even more. Three very different women get thrown together to break Nazi codes during World War II at England’s Bletchley Park, which is a very real place where Alan Turing cracked the German Enigma code machine to help end WWII. (If you haven’t watched “The Imitation Game” check it out. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Turing, and it’s all about Bletchley Park.) I rarely seek out historical fiction, but I always enjoy it and learn something new. I love falling down the Google rabbit hole to discover just how real the places and people and situations actually are, and Quinn is a master in layering fictional characters with real-life history. (HISTORICAL FICTION)
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 17
CLASSIC COCKTAILS with a Twist
18 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 FOOD & DRINK
LOCAL BARS REIMAGINE VINTAGE HAPPY HOUR CLASSICS
BY JOANNA O’LEARY
lassic cocktails are a great way to add a little spring in your step this season. Or, better yet, how about a fresh take on your favorite tipple? The cocktail renaissance of the 1990s, which centered on fresh ingredients and interesting infusions, has evolved in recent years to focus on a fondness for classic drinks of the 1950s onward, with just a wee bit of added whimsy. Evidence of this trend can be seen across Greater Bangor, where bartenders are revamping vintage cocktails with upgraded ingredients and new preparation, giving rise to perfectly quaffable adult beverages.
A REIMAGINED OLD-FASHION
Downtown Bangor hotspot Happy Endings prides itself on its lineup of playful martinis and mixed drinks. Many sport storybook-inspired monikers, such as the Rumplestiltskin and Big Bad Wolf, and this selection includes some retro refreshments with novel (get it?) twists. Their take on the Miami Vice, which, as its TV show namesake suggests, was highly popular during early 1990s, swaps the standard combination of pina colada and strawberry daiquiri in favor of a more elegant composition of Malibu rum, strawberry and coconut purees, strawberry vodka, and pineapple juice. And try the Black Walnut OldFashion, which acquires additional nutty dimensions by way of the inclusion of black walnut bitters alongside Maker’s Mark, sugar, orange, and cherry.
A TOM COLLINS TUNE-UP
At Timber Kitchen and Bar, patrons are offered an autumnally inflected Cranberry Thyme G&T, constructed with Hendrick’s gin, freshly pressed cranberries, agave nectar, orange juice, tonic, and garnished with a fragrant spring of fresh thyme. And move over, Tom Collins. Timber has taken the traditional combination of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and club soda to the next level with two stellar innovations. Their Rhubarb Collins utilizes rhubarb shrub (a maceration of rhubarb, sugar, and vinegar) to impart a tart, earthy depth to the traditional recipe. Their Cucumber Rosemary Collins adds Persian lime juice for a unique botanical twang.
TRANSFORMED TIKI TRADITIONS
Beverage director and bartender Cody Osborne of Mason’s Brewing Company in Brewer has found putting a new spin on vintage drinks a rewarding challenge.
“In recent years, we have seen many of our customers order old-school cocktails like cosmopolitans and Long Island iced teas,” Osborne said.
And while he is more than happy to cater to these requests, Osborne often plays around a bit with the formulas for these concoctions, which result in drinks that are simultaneously exciting and familiar.
Osborne’s creations can be seen in the Brewery’s latest menu, which includes the Fungi Between The Sheets (mushroom and miso-infused Hennessy, Bacardi Silver, Pierre Ferrand, and lemon juice) and a transformed tiki tradition in the form of the Kinky Zombie (Plantation pineapple rum, Plantation Barbados five-year rum, Paul Masson mango brandy, Kinky liqueur, lime, and pineapple).
And if the new year has you abstaining for any reason, and there are so many good ones, mixologists in Greater Bangor aren’t about to let teetotalers go thirsty. Osborne has tapped into the zero-proof spirit trend via his playful Na Na Na Na Na Whiskey Sour, a buzzworthy collaboration of Ritual zero-proof whiskey, lemon, and simple syrup. And his aptly titled Squirrely Tonic (Ritual zero-proof gin, lime, tonic, and pomegranate) is fruity and flirty enough to satisfy even the most ardent of booze hounds.
This “old made new” trend enables libation enthusiasts to get the best of both worlds: a healthy dose of comforting nostalgia and the opportunity to try something different, and maybe even discover a version of their favorite drink they like even better than the original.
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SETTING THE BAR
STOCK YOUR HOME BAR WITH CLASSIC COCKTAIL INVENTORY
COURTESY OF METRO CREATIVE
BECOME A MASTER MIXOLOGIST in your own home or backyard with these essential tools, ingredients, and recipes. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned amateur barkeep, here’s a rundown of all the elements necessary to create cocktails from the comforts of home.
PREPARE YOUR INVENTORY
A good collection of glassware is essential for pouring tasty cocktails.
• COLLINS OR HIGHBALL GLASSES: The tall, chimney-shaped glasses are good for vodka and club soda or gin and tonic.
COUPE OR MARTINI GLASSES: These stemmed glasses are ideal for cocktails served shaken or stirred with ice and served chilled.
SINGLE ROCKS GLASSES: Stemless glasses for any spirit served neat or on the rocks, they hold between 8 and 10 ounces.
These small glasses
In addition to glassware, make sure you have stirrers, shakers, and strainers available for
Once your glassware ready, it’s time to stock the bar with liquor and other essentials.
• TRIPLE SEC
• WHISKEYS, INCLUDING BOURBONS AND SCOTCHES
MIXERS AND GARNISHES
• SOUR MIX
• SIMPLE SYRUP GREEN OLIVES
• MARASCHINO CHERRIES
• GRENADINE SYRUP
Makes 1 drink
1 lime wedge, plus two lime wheels for
1 tablespoon coarse salt, for glass rims
4 ounces high-quality blanco tequila
2 ounces Cointreau or other triple sec
1.5 ounces fresh juice from two limes
1. Run lime wedge around the outer rims of two rocks glasses. Dip rims in salt.
2. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Fill with ice and shake until thoroughly chilled.
3. Fill glasses with fresh ice and strain margarita into both glasses. Garnish with
• CITRUS RINDS CITRUS JUICES
• TONIC WATER CLUB SODA AND OTHER SODAS
(Courtesy of The Spruce: Eats)
1.5 ounces gin
1 ounce lemon juice
0.5 ounce simple syrup
3 ounces club soda (or enough to fill)
Lemon or orange slice
1. In a Collins glass filled with ice cubes, pour the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup.
2. Stir thoroughly and top with club soda.
3. Garnish with a cherry and an orange or lemon slice.
FOOD & DRINK
HIKE ALONG THE Ocean’s Edge
TRAILS THAT EXPLORE THE DRAMATIC BEAUTY OF THE MAINE COAST
STORY & PHOTOS BY AISLINN SARNACKI
THE SCENT OF SALT, seaweed, and mud reaches your nose, carried by a cool breeze. The trail must be getting close to shore. Through tree trunks, you catch a glimmer of the ocean, the sparkle of sunlight bouncing off water. The sight beckons you forward and puts a pep in your step.
Something about the ocean soothes the soul. Or perhaps it’s everything about the ocean: Its fresh yet briny aroma. Its waves lapping against the shore, tumbling stones, and shifting sand. The way it offers you space to breathe as it stretches to the horizon.
Tossing up seashells and sea glass, the ocean seems to call to you. You walk to its very edge, where you watch seagulls bob in the dancing water. Every once in a while, you spy the shiny, dark head of a seal. But it only stays at the surface for a few seconds before disappearing under the waves.
After consulting a trail map, you decide to walk along the water’s edge for a while. Up the shore, there’s a spot where the trail re-enters the forest. The tide is low, allowing you plenty of room to navigate the rocky beach and granite
Hiking trails of Boot Head Preserve lead to views of dramatic cliffs along Maine’s Bold Coast.
ledges. Perhaps you’ll find a patch of sand along the way or a mudflat filled with clams or a cove filled with unbelievably smooth cobblestones.
This experience can be had at many of Maine’s coastal parks and preserves. With numerous coves and peninsulas, the state has nearly 3,500 miles of coastline. And thanks to conservation efforts, much of that beautiful coast is open to the public in many places. Here are just a few places where you can hike on established trails and walk along the ocean’s edge.
BOOT HEAD PRESERVE IN LUBEC
EASY TO MODERATELY CHALLENGING
Featuring dramatic ocean cliffs, mossy forestland, and a peat bog filled with interesting plants, this 700-acre preserve is a spectacular place to bask in the beauty of nature. The Maine Coast Heritage Trust owns the property, as well as several other beautiful preserves that are scattered along the Maine coast.
The property features about 2 miles of hiking trails, which start out easy and become more challenging and hilly along the cliffs. Expect short, steep slopes and scenic staircases built of wood and stone. Exercise caution near the cliffs.
Dogs are permitted. Access is free. For information, visit mcht. org or call the land trust’s Down East office at (207) 259-5043.
GREAT WASS PRESERVE IN BEALS
EASY TO MODERATELY CHALLENGING
This 1,576-acre preserve features a 4.5-mile loop trail that travels right by the water, over exposed granite bedrock and patches of sand, for about half of the loop. If you want to spend some time walking by the ocean, this is the place.
Owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy, the property is home to a number of rare plants, including the beach head iris, marsh felwort and bird’s-eye primrose. It also supports one of the state’s largest stands of coastal jack pine trees.
Dogs are not permitted. Access is free. For information, visit nature.org or call (207) 729-5182.
LA VERNA PRESERVE IN BRISTOL
EASY TO MODERATE
A popular place to visit the ocean, this 120-acre preserve is owned and managed by the Coastal Rivers Land Trust. It features 2.7 miles of intersecting trails, plus a shoreline that’s walkable, even during high tide.
The preserve is forested aside from the sedge meadows and shrub swamps along Meadow Brook. A vernal pool, full of life in the spring, can be seen from the Tibbetts Trail. And the shoreline provides panoramic views of outer Muscongus Bay and nearby islands.
Access is free. Dogs are permitted but must be leashed. For information, visit www.coastalrivers.org or call (207) 563-1393.
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Little Cape Point on Great Wass Island.
The sweeping ocean view from Boot Head Preserve in Lubec.
GREAT HEAD ON MOUNT DESERT ISLAND
One of the many trails in Acadia National Park, Great Head Trail forms a 1.5-mile loop that traces the rocky coast and leads to the highest point of Great Head at 145 feet above sea level. The spot, marked with a cedar post sign, also features the ruins of a 1900s tea house. The trail is located right by the park’s famous Sand Beach, which is a large, heavily visited beach of sand formed by waves breaking down shells.
Dogs are permitted on the Great Head Trail if they are kept on leash, and that leash cannot exceed 6 feet in length. Dogs are only permitted on Sand Beach during the off-season, from Sept. 9 to June 14.
All park visitors are required to pay an entrance fee, which can be purchased online or at fee stations and visitor centers. For information, visit nps.gov/acad or call (207) 288-3338.
SEARS ISLAND IN SEARSPORT
EASY TO CHALLENGING
At 936 acres, Sears Island is one of the largest undeveloped islands on the Eastern Seaboard. Accessible by causeway, it features about 6 miles of hiking trails, plus a gravel and paved road. At low tide, visitors often walk along the shore of the island, traversing about 5 miles of beaches made up of a mixture of sand, mudflats, rock, and shells.
Friends of Sears Island serves as stewards of the property, in partnership with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and help from the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition.
Access is free. Dogs are permitted. For information, visit friendsofsearsisland.org or call (855) 430-2882.
HEALTH & FITNESS ADVENTURE ME
AISLINN SARNACKI is a columnist for the Bangor Metro and a registered Maine Guide. An expert on the Maine outdoors, she’s the author of the guidebooks “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine,” “Maine Hikes Off the Beaten Path” and “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Follow her adventures at bangordailynews.com/outdoors. You can also find her @mainenaturehikes on Instagram and @1minhikegirl on Facebook and Twitter.
The Great Head Trail in Acadia National Park leads to stunning views along the rocky shore.
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The beach at Sears Island.
THERAPY DOGS HELP LOCAL COLLEGE STUDENTS COMBAT STRESS AND ANXIETY
BY STEPHANIE BOUCHARD
Reports of college students struggling with anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health issues have been on the rise. A survey released in 2021 by the American College Health Association found that 48 percent of students reported moderate or severe psychological stress.
In response to such reports, college and university administrators are putting in place various resources and support for students. The University of Maine, Maine Maritime Academy, and other local higher education institutions have enlisted some furry, four-legged help. Therapy dogs are now a common sight on campuses, particularly during stressful times of the year, like final exam week.
Various studies on the use of animalassisted therapy in college settings have indicated students experience a decrease in feelings of stress and anxiety, and that regular, targeted interaction with animals may even improve executive functioning — the ability to self-manage things such as staying on task, planning ahead, and meeting goals.
Maine Maritime Academy has been bringing therapy dogs to its Castine campus consistently for at least two years, assistant director of student activities Jessica Shively said. Students love having the dogs on campus, she added.
“Dogs make just about everyone happy. When students are away at school, they miss their pets. Having a dog or dogs on campus gives them a similar connection and helps them cope with all the stresses that come with being a college student,” Shively said.
A good many people may scoff when they hear that therapy dogs are going to colleges to help relieve student stress, but the stress students feel and the respite the dogs offer is real.
Just before Christmas this past year, the Maine Maritime community learned the crushing news that four of its students were killed and three others were injured in a car crash.
Julie Ireland of Hampden and her therapy dog, Ellie, a 9-year-old black Labrador retriever, were already scheduled to be on campus the Tuesday after the accident.
One student walked into the library and told Ireland having Ellie there “was the most valuable thing.”
HEALTH & FITNESS
Heidi Sharpe’s therapy dog Oliver, a 2-year-old Springer spaniel, mugs for the camera while visiting with students.
PHOTOS: PATRICK WINE, COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE
Ellie snuggled into the grieving student and let the student run her hands through her fur.
“I could just visibly see [the student] kind of decompress and feel better,” Ireland said.
Having the opportunity to interact with a therapy dog can be more impactful than people think, Heidi Sharpe said.
Sharpe, a friend of Ireland’s, became a volunteer therapy dog handler after seeing the effect Ireland and Ellie had at various events. Sharpe, Ireland, and their dogs are certified by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
“When I first observed Julie doing it, I was shocked at just how it is really moving,” Sharpe said.
Sometimes students will open up to the human handlers, too, Sharpe said.
Sharpe said she thinks that when students focus on the dog instead of looking another human in the eyes it helps them relax and drop their burdens for a little while.
“They’re focusing on the dog, which brings them happiness, joy, and releases serotonin, and it causes their walls [to come] down,” she said.
One such experience happened to her recently, when she and her therapy dog, Oliver, a 2-year-old Springer spaniel, were surrounded by students on a visit to a college campus. Sharpe watched as one student hung back. The student didn’t make a move to pat Oliver; she just sat on the floor and watched all the other students stroke him.
But Oliver made a beeline for the student.
“He went to her and kind of sat on her,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe said she told the student she’d get Oliver to move if she didn’t want the dog sitting on her. The student wrapped her arms around Oliver and said, “This is exactly what I need,” and started to cry.
“It’s those experiences that just mean so much to me,” Sharpe said.
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University of Maine students visit with Julie Ireland’s therapy dog, Ellie, a 9-year-old black Labrador retriever.
Oliver enjoys a snuggle from a student.
WHAT COMES After Cancer
NEW PROGRAM FOR CANCER SURVIVORS ADDRESSES THE QUESTION
BY STEPHANIE BOUCHARD
In January, the American Cancer Society announced that since 1991, cancer mortality has dropped 33 percent. Because of advances in cancer treatment, more people are surviving their diagnoses, living cancer-free, and in some cases even living with cancer as a chronic condition.
Along with more effective treatments has come the realization that those who survive cancer have different care needs than those in acute treatment, which is why cancer survivorship programs are now being incorporated into cancer care in hospitals across the U.S., including here in Maine.
The cancer survivorship program at Northern Light Cancer Care in Brewer was launched in 2019. Its purpose is to complement acute cancer treatment, said Elizabeth Dennis, MD, director of the cancer survivorship program. “The role of the cancer doctor is to be the expert [in treating cancer],” she explained. “My job is really to help people have a decent quality of life or to improve their quality of life after a cancer diagnosis and treatment for cancer.”
Cancer survivorship programs like Northern Light’s aim to address the physical, psychological, and sociological needs of cancer survivors.
“If you look at national surveys, and certainly my anecdotal experience has been patients are telling us, and they continue to tell us, that the current way that we deliver care to them is not comprehensive enough,” she said. “Many people express
that it’s great to be done with treatment, but holy cow, now what?”
Aspects of care that Dennis and her team work on with the patients in the survivorship program include summarizing all the acute care treatment they received, creating a road map of what’s next, discussing possible late- and long-term physical, emotional, and financial effects of their treatment, reviewing with them wellness and lifestyle strategies to support their post-cancer treatment health in the immediate and long term, and connecting them to appropriate resources.
Northern Light’s cancer survivorship program is in its early stages, explains Dennis, but is growing. Currently, the survivorship program is focused primarily on adults with breast cancer, she says, with a small percentage of people with other types of cancers, such as adults who survived childhood cancer. There were 63 patient visits during the program’s first year; 331 in its third.
The program is in the process of expanding to include lung cancer patients. Each expansion is dependent on the health system’s buildup of staff resources, particularly nurse navigators, Dennis says, and the expertise particular to specific cancers.
In addition to being able to eventually open up the survivorship program to more cancer types, Dennis hopes that in the future the program will also be able to support
patients living with chronic cancer. Right now, the program is only for those whose cancer has been treated with curative intent.
The patients Dennis and her team see in the survivorship program are identified from the cancer patients within Northern Light’s system. However, she says, they will see patients on a case-by-case basis who are not current cancer patients within the health system; for example, adults who were treated for cancer elsewhere but have moved to the area or were treated for cancer as children.
The care provided through the cancer survivorship program at Northern Light Cancer Care is medical care and is billed through a patient’s insurance as an office visit, although some of the services patients can access at the cancer center, such as head covering options or mastectomy fittings, are complimentary.
If you are interested in learning more about the cancer survivorship program at Northern Light, or participating in it, call (207) 973-7478.
28 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 HEALTH & FITNESS
OF “WHAT’S NEXT?”
www.bangormetro.com BANGOR METRO / 29
BY KATIE SMITH
HOME & FAMILY HOME & FAMILY IS SPONSORED BY FRANKWEBB.COM 9 Buttermilk Road, Ellsworth (207) 667-7841
Hammond St., Bangor (207) 947-6333
UP YOUR HOME FOR SPRING — ON A BUDGET
The warmer weather is here, and while many of us are spending more time outdoors, we still long to have our homes reflect the seasons. A lot of focus goes into making our homes cozy and homey during the cooler months. However, during the warmer months, it can boost our moods to have our habitat match what’s happening outside or mimic a favorite vacation spot.
Here are easy and inexpensive tweaks we can do as the days get longer and warmer to transform our home, making it feel lighter and brighter to reflect this refreshing time of year.
CLEAR THE CLUTTER
One thing that can make a huge difference in our living space, allow more light to come in, and reduce anxiety, is to get rid of clutter. Maybe you’ve realized you don’t need as much furniture in your living room or you’ve gotten into the habit of building little piles on your countertops. Getting some great organization containers, big totes, or selling things you no longer use, can make your living quarters feel larger, cleaner, and more open. Start by organizing your closet and donating the clothing you don’t wear. You will notice immediately you feel lighter and are able to find what you are looking for faster. The same thing happens when we eliminate things from frequently used areas in our homes.
Getting rid of some stuff also allows you to envision other things in the space and give you a fresh outlook each time you walk in. Spring and summer is the perfect time to do that, not to mention it hardly costs a thing to get rid of stuff you aren’t attached to.
BRING NATURE INSIDE
Maybe you love beachcombing and always find beautiful pieces of sea glass, shells, or rocks. Displaying them in a large glass vase or bowl is the perfect way to show them off and give your home a warmweather vibe.
Buy some fresh flowers or take a walk in your yard and see if you have anything that makes you feel happy. Cutting fresh ferns or wildflowers is a wonderful way to brighten up your home.
Planting fresh herbs and placing them on the window sill will make your surroundings feel healthy and lush. Not only will you have some new planting for this time of year, but you can also use all the fresh herbs in your summer recipes.
CHANGE OUT PILLOWS AND THROWS
Swapping out your accessories is a quick and easy task, and it can give your home an entirely new look. Consider cotton or linen throws instead of the heavier, chunkier ones we love in the winter. Changing your sheets to a lighter color or fabric can also give your space a quick makeover. You can also purchase pillow covers in different fabrics and colors to cover your existing pillows if you don’t want to invest in new ones. If you love to sew, take a trip to the fabric store and pick out some fresh, bright fabric.
Accent pieces such as wicker or rattan baskets and lamps are another simple way to bring in some springy accessories.
Many of us want to get outside as much as possible after hibernating all winter. That means we don’t want to spend hours on a big home project, so repainting a room is usually reserved for colder months. However, if
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you feel your home needs a quick perk-up, consider painting the trim. It’s a lot faster and cheaper than painting your entire home and will make it look cleaner.
REPAINT YOUR FRONT DOOR
If you are craving more color outside of your home, this is the perfect time to give your house some spice by painting your outside doors. It’s a quick project that can be done in an hour or two and can transform the outside of your home.
Right before the long days of summer, give your home a cleanse by washing all the windows. You will notice how much brighter and cleaner your house will look simply by giving your windows a good cleaning. If this is a dreaded chore, recruit family members to help or commit to washing two windows a day until they are done.
Giving your home a little facelift doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little time and elbow grease, you can give your home a completely new look.
32 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 HOME & FAMILY REALTORS 207-949-3060 458 Main St., Bangor Looking to sell your home? Having experience on your side matters. CALL TRICIA LARGAY
AWAY Tuck It
Saving money is a vital component of financial planning. However, many Americans are saving too little and do not have an accurate grasp of their spending habits.
A recent survey from Intuit Mint Life found that 59 percent of Americans in 2019 were living paycheck to paycheck, and 65 percent didn't know how much they were spending on a monthly basis.
There’s no magic formula to save money, and the amount of money one should save each month depends on how he or she wants to live now and in the future, but a handful of strategies can help people save more money each year.
FOLLOW THE 50/30/20 RULE. The popular 50/30/20 rule advocates for allocating 50 percent of your budget to essentials like rent, food, and housing, 30 percent for discretionary spending, and 20 percent for savings. Many people cannot save 20 percent of their income. In such instances, people can make a concerted effort to save 10 percent of their take-home pay.
BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND. The credit reporting agency Experian recommends consumers keep between
three and six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund. The fund should cover expenses on the absolute necessities paid each month, such as utilities, rent or mortgage, and groceries.
SET GOALS. Savings goals can help a person stay on track and provide motivation to put money away. Establish separate savings accounts for each goal to reduce the temptation to spend. For example, if the goal is to save more for vacations, then consider opening an account where funds are used exclusively for vacations.
AUTOMATE. Certain employers allow workers to allocate their direct deposit paycheck to more than one bank account. It’s easy to request the payroll manager put 10 percent or 20 percent or a specific amount from a paycheck into a savings account while the remainder is deposited into a checking or savings account. Or set up an automatic transfer on your banking app to move a certain amount of money each pay day into a savings account. Automated deposits can help individuals get accustomed to living on less.
Saving money isn’t always easy, but with goals and certain strategies in mind, it’s possible for individuals to grow their savings and secure their financial futures.
34 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 PERSONAL FINANCE
COURTESY OF METRO CREATIVE
GET IN THE HEALTHY HABIT OF SAVING MORE EACH MONTH
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SHOPPING AROUND for Health Care
STOP LETTING YOUR BANK ACCOUNT DICTATE YOUR WELLBEING
BY STACY CUMMINGS
As budgets narrow, many people are struggling to find the means to make ends meet and keep food on the table. The thought of becoming ill, the cost of daily prescription medications, or needing a life-saving operation has become more defeating than ever before.
According to a recent poll released by CBS News, roughly 40 percent of Americans chose to forgo medical care in 2022 because of concerns about cost. Not only is this number alarming, it is also heartbreaking to think of people putting off potentially life-saving treatments, transplants, routine procedures, and annual appointments because of the price tag. While there aren’t necessarily “cheap” health care options available, there are definitely ways to make health care more affordable.
After your provider determines whether you need a certain procedure or treatment, if time allows, take the opportunity to shop around. Collect price estimates from different hospitals and facilities in your area. Many hospitals around the state actually allow you to get quotes online right through their websites for various procedures. Websites like comparemaine.org
are available specifically for this purpose. Keep in mind that prices will vary depending on the circumstances, medications provided during and after the procedure, the length of stay, etc., but this link still does a great job showing you just how much the cost can fluctuate from facility to facility statewide.
To put this into perspective, I became curious and did some navigating myself. I found that the cost of a preventive-care colonoscopy in the state of Maine can range from less than $1,300 to more than $4,800. (It is also worth noting that, depending on your age, screening tests like this may be fully covered by your insurance.) Keep in mind, every situation and facility is different, but checking around online can give you a good place to start your comparison shopping.
DEDUCTIBLES & NETWORKS
Every plan is different, but thankfully having health care insurance can significantly cut out-of-pocket expenses for most medical care and procedures. According to healthcare.gov, most health plans must cover many preventive services, like immunizations and screening tests, at no cost to you. Depending on your age, colorectal cancer screenings, breast cancer mammography exams, cervical
36 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023 FEATURE
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VISIT COMPAREMAINE.ORG AND TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
CHECK OUT YOUR PREFERRED HOSPITAL'S WEBSITE FOR AN ONLINE PRICING LIST
LOOK CAREFULLY AT YOUR INSURANCE PLAN
cancer screenings, diabetes screenings, and many more preventative care tests are likely covered when delivered by a doctor or other provider in your plan’s network.
It is important to note that not every health care facility will accept every insurance. It is important to make sure you are choosing a location within your provider’s network. Often you can find this information right on your insurance provider’s website, with a quick facility search. When in doubt, call to ensure the provider and location are included in your insurance company’s coverage plan.
One important number to keep track of throughout the year is your deductible, which is the amount you are responsible to pay before your insurance plan kicks in. Once your annual deductible has been met, you’re often able to move forward with appointments and procedures with little to no out-of-pocket expense. Knowing what that number is and how close you are to it may allow you to better plan for procedures.
Once you have completed your homework and selected the most cost-effective
38 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023
option for you, let your referring physician know where you would like them to send the pre-authorization information. This is typically a very easy conversation that most medical professionals are very familiar with, and you will not be denied because it is within your rights as a consumer.
One more note to keep in mind if potential medical costs are making you hesitant to get the care you need: Know that most hospitals and medical care offices will allow you to set up a payment plan or use a sliding-fee scale, if your income qualifies. Make your concerns known, and a patient representative should be able to help you sort through options.
Knowing your rights and understanding your health insurance plan can make a big difference in both your physical and financial wellbeing. Be your own advocate and ask questions, request information, and call when something doesn’t seem right. The cost of getting treatment may be a temporary financial burden, but the consequences of not getting treatment can be longer lasting.
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CURIOUS ABOUT Cannabis?
40 / BANGOR
Spring 2023 FEATURE
IT’S HIGH TIME TO TRY EDIBLE CANNABIS PRODUCTS THAT COULD HELP WITH EVERYTHING FROM SLEEP PROBLEMS TO CHRONIC PAIN
BY SARAH COTTRELL
In 2016, Maine voters decided it was high time to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, a thriving cottage industry of edible marijuana products has bloomed.
For many fans of edibles, the health benefits of cannabis are so great that they’ve added various forms of it, from beauty products to candies, to their regular health routines. Studies have shown that the therapeutic effects of cannabis edibles are so significant that cancer patients have experienced relief from pain and chemo-induced nausea. Edibles have also helped those living with chronic pain and multiple sclerosis find relief from symptoms.
“Often new customers come in with questions,” said Angela Kirk, who with her husband Derek owns and operates AK Edibles Craft Cannabis in Hampden. Kirk said they enjoy educating people about their products and the variety of options available. “We like to be a knowledgeable source for those looking for anything from pain management to better sleep,” she said.
The Kirks opened their medical marijuana storefront in June 2022. They were inspired to launch their company after hearing stories from Angela’s parents, who own their own store, about the incredible benefits of medical marijuana and how this natural, organic alternative has helped so many people heal and recover from health problems.
The Kirk family is unique in the edibles industry because they source their own products by growing the cannabis themselves, right here in Maine. The family farm has more than 300 acres, where they have the space to do everything onsite, from growing and harvesting the marijuana plants to producing a full line of products, including tinctures, gummies, candy bars, and capsule pills.
“We grow right from the seed,” Angela said. “We then prepare the marijuana buds we’ve harvested and grind specific flower strains into kief, which is the pure and clean collection of loose cannabis trichomes.”
By growing their own cannabis, the Kirks have become experts in developing unique strains and creating edible products to help their clients with specific ailments such as sleep problems, struggles with appetite, and pain management.
Using a mesh screen, they collect the kief by sifting the cannabis flower. The process they use is hands-on, allowing them to ensure that they collect the highest quality parts of their harvest.
“Kief is the most highly concentrated portion of the marijuana plant, which is what we strictly use in our edibles,” she said. From there, they create blends of tinctures, lotions, and edibles like chocolate bars, which come in a variety of craft flavors, and lots of fun candies. Cannabis can be eaten raw, but there would be no real effect. For example, some people swear by drinking fresh, loose-leaf cannabis tea to help with asthma symptoms, but there
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is no THC or CBD present in loose leaf tea. But to benefit from THC and CBD, the compounds tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) must first be heated, which is why cannabis is most often smoked or baked into foods.
“When people think marijuana, they think of smoking,” Angela said. “And, yes, you can consume by inhaling, but our storefront serves as an alternative for individuals who do not wish to smoke.”
While smoking cannabis has always been a popular choice, it goes against the grain for those seeking to use cannabis in a more health-conscious manner. According to a 15-year study published in “Radiology,” chest CT scans of cannabis smokers showed increased rates of lung diseases, including emphysema.
Eating cannabis may be a safer alternative to smoking, and still offer benefits like reducing symptoms for people with chronic pain and anxiety. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America reports that 40 million American adults (19.1% of the U.S. adult population) are affected by anxiety. A study from the University of Washington showed that for those with anxiety disorders, consuming cannabis had short-term positive effects on reducing anxiety, stress, and depression.
Edibles have grown in popularity over the past decade. According to U.S. market analysts, legal cannabis, including edibles, will rake in more than $70 billion by 2027. As the recreational and medical use of marijuana becomes more accepted in the mainstream, many people are turning to edibles because they are more discreet (there is no
odor from smoking), and the effects are often longer lasting than by inhaling. But the edibles market has exploded so much in recent years that it can be confusing for new customers to know where to start or how to choose a product.
In-person consultations are the best way for customers to find what they are looking for when it comes to edibles, Angela recommended. Experts can guide new customers toward the correct dosage and cannabis strain to match their health concerns.
“We are always happy to help new patients that come to our place,” Angela said. “AK Edibles is a safe space, where we encourage everyone to share their story and needs. That way, we can best help them find the right organic products that won't leave them feeling the side effects of the inhale, which is becoming less popular in our industry every day.”
Researchers are still learning all the ways cannabis can aid in different health concerns, from physical to mental and emotional, but there are myriad anecdotal stories from those who swear by edibles to relieve their health complaints.
It is important to note that while edible cannabis may be legal in many parts of the U.S., including Maine, it is not reg-
ulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and researchers are still learning how cannabis products affect your organs. Since cannabis is not regulated, it can be difficult to find a reliable source for how to dose edibles properly. This may be why cannabis experts advise people to start at a very low dose and work their way up slowly.
AK Edibles’ website suggests that firsttime cannabis users start with a low dose of 2.5 mg THC edibles for mild relief of pain and anxiety symptoms. On the other end of the dose scale, AK Edibles lists 50 mg of THC as their highest dose that would cause “seriously impaired coordination and perception.”
Asking experts in the field can help you get started and discover the right products specific to your needs.
42 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023
A STUDY FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON SHOWED THAT FOR THOSE WITH ANXIETY DISORDERS, CONSUMING CANNABIS HAD SHORT-TERM POSITIVE EFFECTS ON REDUCING ANXIETY, STRESS, AND DEPRESSION.
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SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN TURN YOUR HOME INTO A MINI HOMESTEAD
BY CRYSTAL SANDS
44 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023
It wasn’t that long ago that urban gardening was the norm. People gardened in their front yards and on their balconies, and a little chicken coop could often be found in the backyard. While these practices fell out of fashion for a time, trends are often cyclical. As food prices continue to rise and more people have a desire to eat delicious food that is both healthy and affordable, more people are revisiting traditional homesteading practices.
If you have been thinking about how you might turn your home into a mini homestead, there are a few easy ways to get started. Small steps can make a big difference in the short term and long term. It doesn’t take much to become a homesteader, even in small spaces, which means you can be eating fresh, delicious food in no time.
GARDEN IN CONTAINERS: You don’t have to till your soil to have a garden. Raised beds can be placed in your yard, and you can use small containers, such as food-grade buckets and gardening bags, to grow food on your porch, deck, or balcony. If you are new to gardening, start by planting food items that are sturdy and easy to grow. Green beans, tomatoes, and leafy greens are easy to grow and quickly provide you with food.
CREATE AN EDIBLE LANDSCAPE: If you have a flower garden or shrubs around your house, you already have a great place to grow food. Making the shift to an edible landscape can be easy. When you plant your flowers, look for edible flowers. And among your flowers, you can plant a wide variety of foods that are beautiful, will blend in with your flowers, and will also put food on
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your plate. Beautiful, edible side gardens could include mixes of edible flowers, such as hibiscus or sunflowers, right alongside purple cabbages, green lettuces, and herbs. Additionally, if you have decorative shrubs, you can replace them with edible shrubs. Here in Maine, blueberry bushes grow well, are easy to care for, and will provide you with fresh blueberries in the summer. You can also create hedges with raspberry or blackberry brambles. The stalks spread quickly and also grow well here.
PLANT FRUIT TREES: Fruit trees will take a few years before they bear fruit, but planting fruit trees sooner than later means you will have fresh fruit before you know it. Depending upon the age of the fruit trees you plant, you could be eating apples, pears, or peaches within two to three years. Just be sure to purchase your fruit trees from a local vendor who specializes in fruit trees that do well in Maine. Doing so will increase the chances your trees thrive and are hardy enough to survive in our growing zone.
GET BACKYARD CHICKENS: Chickens are not allowed inside the city limits in Bangor, but hens and even roosters are allowed in surrounding areas. Just a few hens can make a big difference in your homesteading efforts. Chickens are excellent for converting food waste (your food scraps) into eggs, and their poop can easily be composted to become the fertilizer for your gardening. The initial setup for chickens can be expensive, but because chickens provide both food and fertilizer, they are an important part of the homesteading cycle in the long run.
46 / BANGOR METRO Spring 2023
START A COMPOST PILE OR BIN:
If you have chickens, you will want a compost pile, because composted chicken poop is a perfect garden fertilizer. But even if you don’t have chickens, a compost pile or bin is a great idea for any homesteader, no matter the scale. The secret to good compost is creating a good combination of carbon-rich items, such as leaves, branches, and coffee grounds, and nitrogen-rich items, such as manure, food scraps, or green grass clippings.
There are so many wonderful resources available for free to help you get started. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension website provides instructions for everything from compositing to choosing the right fruit trees. The important thing is to start small and grow as you are ready, because the benefits of fresh food to your health and food budget will be noticeable relatively quickly, and the benefits to your overall happiness from growing your own food and becoming more self-sufficient are immeasurable.
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THE Truth IS…
BY EMILY MORRISON
I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HER. I saw her on Facebook and read her story. Late 30s, early 40s, mother, stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. They were trying to raise money for treatment, and I donated. My heart went out to her.
So, when I saw this morning at the beginning of a new year that her life had been cut short, I don’t know why, but I deleted my Facebook app. Then I deleted my trashy romance app and wondered, “What other devices are distracting me from the truth?”
The truth is this: I’m dying, and so are you.
I grabbed my new sneakers, my two dogs, and a red hat (in case today was the day some hapless neighbor shot me in my backyard), and we headed out to the blueberry fields to shake off the feeling of impending death together.
Boiling it down, I think my childhood is the reason I fear death.
As a cradle Catholic, educated on the flames of hell and the rooms in the holy father‘s mansion, I’ve always known death is not the end of life. It’s what happens after death that terrifies me. If you’re good, you go to heaven, see your family, and claim one of those spacious rooms in the mansion in the sky.
What you do there, what you look like, or whether the streets are golden or cloudlike — none of this ever took shape in my mind. I only knew the afterlife was there, somewhere, waiting for me the moment I ceased to be.
I also knew the other place was there, flames licking at my feet, open crosses waiting to be stretched across, should I end up turning my back on God.
Maybe that’s why, throughout the entirety of my life, I’ve instantly recoiled at the thought of death, because, honestly, I haven’t gone to church enough, prayed enough, said the rosary enough, or kept all 10 commandments. Sure, by the world’s standards I might look like a decent human. But inside I’ve
always known the moment my life ceases to be, it probably won’t end well for me.
So, what do I do in the face of such stark reality? What does everyone do?
I worry about my cholesterol, but rarely get it checked. I inject my face with neurotoxins every four to six months and pray for perennial youth. I give up meat, eat salad, drink protein shakes, and pretend that age is just a mosquito buzzing around my head while saying “Yes!” to every illusion of endless life.
I read the books, watch the movies, buy the infrared facemasks, and keep telling myself that the cancer, heart disease, and illness that plagues others will never find their way to my door. And I lie.
I lie to myself that time, that invisible commodity we all assume we have more than enough of, isn’t ticking away but expanding on the horizon like a sparkling mirage just over the next hill.
But today, thinking about her sweet face standing beside her family, I can’t pretend the same ending doesn’t await me.
I cannot pretend that my life is timeless.
As I run, I tell myself, “It’s time to write a book, time to stop reveling in my own pleasure or misery, and start thinking about what matters, who matters, and what I absolutely need to do with the time I have left.”
I decide to call my parents more, spend more time with them, make love with my husband, hug my children, cuddle my dogs, run with my sister, laugh with my friends, and love my people harder.
It’s always love, isn’t it? Spreading it, making it, sharing it, it always comes back to love.
Because the truth is, I’m living, and so are you.
So love on.
z THE VIEW FROM HERE
EMILY MORRISON is a high school English teacher, freelance writer and editor from coastal Maine. She is living happily-ever-after with her handsome husband, three beautiful children and two beloved dogs. And a cat.
PHOTO: RIDO/ADOBE STOCK