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Sauntering With Mat
By Mat Robedee / Up Portland Commentator
Route 93 in Grafton County. In the summertime cars line the streets, as the Franconia Range is known for its rugged peaks and picturesque views. On this specific morning though, we were the only cars parked. I am an avid outdoorsman who does the majority of his hikes from May to November. As long as one plans and prepares accordingly, however, Winter hiking is equally as enjoyable. When I lived out west and was studying outdoor education, my teacher constantly said, “There is no such thing as bad weather; only bad attitudes and bad gear.” His words still echo true today. The secret to any Winter adventure is the gear. Dress warm, have the best footwear and try your best to be comfortable. In doing so, it is easier to meet the moment and appreciate the beauty surrounding you. A nearly mile into the hike, the sun started to rise — and I won’t lie: I was feeling a major desire to retreat back home to the warmth. I questioned whether or not I had the grit to continue, as I was having difficulty waking up. I took off my hat to prevent myself from sweating and filled my lungs full of the brisk morning air. Suddenly, a freezing gust of wind ripped through the forest, slapped me across my exposed face and rattled a branch above me. This released a handful of snow from the bough, which dropped perfectly onto my head and down the back of my jacket. If I was not fully awake before, then that was the moment it happened. I shook my head and laughed out loud – well played Mother Nature, well played… A significant portion of the loop we climbed is in the alpine zone, meaning that hiking is above tree line and fully exposed to the elements. A few hours had passed when we reached this point. We were both absolutely exhausted and decided to take a break. I forgot
I awoke at 3 a.m. on a Saturday and crawled out of bed to pack my car with snowshoes, clothing and crampons. I started my car and listened as it unpleasantly rumbled awake, as if it, too, wanted to remain asleep on such a cold and dark January morning. The neighbourhood was silent as apparently everyone else had warmer plans for their morning. As my vehicle warmed up, I sipped on coffee and stared at the GPS. A 2.5 hour drive from Portland would get me to the town of Franconia, New Hampshire. It was there that I planned to meet a friend for a hike up one of the largest mountains in the state. At this point in time, I truly questioned my own sanity. Standing at a dramatic 5,260 feet, Mount Lafayette is the 6th largest mountain in New Hampshire. We chose a route familiar to us; a nine-mile loop that also encompassed 5,089 foot Mount Lincoln and 4,761 foot Little Haystack Mountain (aka the Franconia Range). The trailhead for making this trek is located in Franconia Notch, right off from
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how physically demanding Winter trekking was, but luckily for me we were on the ridge line and most of the up and up was behind us. As I sat down to relax a smile came over my face. With my eyes closed, I tilted my head up a bit to catch some of the morning sun rays on my face. For all it demands, mountain hiking in the Winter offers a certain silence and solitude experienced nowhere else. It can also be a major refresh button for the soul â€“ as I find it alleviates seasonal funks and releases all the cooped up Winter anxiety, cabin fever and blues. Upon summiting the peak of Lafayette, I was uncertain if my legs could have taken any more inclines. The wind was piercing as it ripped across the mountain range. The sky had also turned a solid grey, so it was obvious a potential storm could soon be on its way. After a very brief stay at the top, we were headed back down again. The reward for the long, tedious and leg crushing hike up is releasing the childlike spirit inside of you during the ride down. Boot skiing down the mountain or sliding on your butt is a tremendous amount of fun. Making sure my pack was securely zipped shut; I sat down on the snow, let out a wild shout and slid down to the lands below. If you are feeling in a funk or beginning to realise that you have bingewatched nearly every new series on Netflix then perhaps itâ€™s time to mix it up some and go on a hike. Do some research, talk to some friends and start small. Often the best way to fight the Winter blues is to get outside and embrace it. And failing that, do keep in mind that April is just a couple months away!
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Beyond The Forecast
surface features (highs to the NW are better than highs to the SE for example) and characteristics of the jet stream way up in the atmosphere but the negatively tilted trough in the mid levels is arguably the most important feature to have for a strong Nor’easter.
By Jack Sillin / Weatherman & Meterology Student Hello everyone!
In this month’s installment of Beyond the Forecast, I’ll be taking a look at a time honoured cold season tradition in Maine: Nor’easters, The beautiful behemoths that roll up from the Carolinas and rumble by just off our shores. They bring heavy snow, high winds, and sometimes (as we found out on the 24th of January — photo below) rain, sleet, or ice depending on the situation. There is no formal meteorological definition of a Nor’easter though it is generally regarded to be a system that develops off the East Coast and tracks NE while bringing NE winds to the New England coastline. The most famous impact of Nor’easters is, of course, the heavy snow. Nor’easters are such good snowfall producers mainly because they can simultaneously tap into Arctic cold and tropical moisture. The collision of the two, often right overhead, results in the heavy snow Nor’easters are known for. There are a plethora of cool dynamics that occur in these collisions but those are a topic for a future column in slightly more advanced atmospheric dynamics. With northeast winds often come heavy seas and a pile up of water along the coast. While this is certainly more of an issue in an E/SE wind situation, residents of Portland can probably remember a few cases where parts of Marginal Way or Commercial Street were impacted by Nor’easter driven coastal flooding. The other iconic Nor’easter impact is, of course, the northeast winds which whip snow into mighty drifts and drive sheets of rain or sleet into windows near the coast. These winds are caused by differences in pressure between intense low pressure offshore and high pressure to the NW. Air from the high pressure rushes to fill the void left by air rising in the low pressure system. While most Nor’easter winds are too mellow to cause significant damage, they are occasionally responsible for downed trees and power outages, especially when the winds are accompanied by freezing rain. What do you need for a Nor’easter to form? There are two basic ingredients: a baroclinic zone or old frontal system draped across the mid-Atlantic coastline and upper level energy racing across the plains. If the energy hits the front at just the right angle/speed, it will form a storm that intensifies and tracks NE towards Nantucket. If you are a regular reader of my day-to-day blog forecasterjack.com you’ll know that we want the energy to be oriented along a NW-SE axis (negatively sloped). There are other factors to consider, too, like orientation of
There are two basic types of Nor’easters: Miller A and Miller B. Miller A storms form deep in the Gulf of Mexico and travel NE as they rapidly intensify until they’re right off Cape Cod at which point they turn ENE and begin to weaken. Miller A storms are “pure” or “classic” Nor’easters and happen fairly rarely. Most of our Winter storms are Miller B events where a storm will travel across the plains states before transferring its energy across the Appalachian mountains to a new system forming over the Outer Banks. These systems usually move NE towards Cape Cod while developing but usually don’t bring wintry
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impacts as far down the mid-Atlantic coastline as Miller A storms do. How do Miller A/B storms impact Maine? the answer is that for some areas, they’re more or less the same and for others they can be quite different. Along the southern coastline, Miller A storms are more likely to feature mixes of rain/ snow/sleet rather than just all snow. They’re often better for the ski areas as more moisture can make it up into the mountains due to the typical track being more towards the NNE compared to Miller B storms which typically track more ENE. If you’re looking for snow here in the Portland area, root for the Miller B’s as they often tend to keep the colder air in place farther south. In the foothills, especially the southern and western ones, impacts from both types of systems are fairly similar. Rarely does a real life storm fit perfectly into either of these theoretical molds but they can provide a rough classification of many big snow events here in Maine. In case you were wondering, the ‘Miller’ in Miller A/B is credit being given to James E. Miller who was a prominent researcher in the area of meteorology in the years following WWII. Miller’s research focused on mid/upper level dynamics associated with mid latitude storms (Nor’easters) and pioneered areas of study such as frontogenesis and vertical velocities which, if you’ve read some of my Winter storm forecasts, you’ll know are crucial to pinpointing the type and intensity of precipitation. I wasn’t able to find a ton of information on Miller’s background, but if you know of any, send me a note and let me know! Hopefully now you know a little bit more about Nor’easters, how they form, and how they impact Maine. I’ll have more weather next month and if you have any suggestions for weather phenomenon you’d like explained, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Jack’s February Weather Terms: Positively tilted trough: A positively tilted trough is one that is oriented from NE to SW. It gets it’s name from its slope as related to an x,y coordinate plane (throwback to Algebra!). Imagine constructing a coordinate plane over an upper air map with the trough axis marked. Set the y axis to be oriented N-S and the x axis W-E. If the resulting slope of the trough axis is positive (y values increase as x values do) than you have a positively tilted trough. Positively tilted troughs are not conducive to big snows here in Portland because the winds out ahead of them (over the location of the surface storm) blow from WSW to ENE. This pushes the storm ENE and out to sea. Negatively tilted troughs are the opposite. They are oriented NW to SE and have a negative slope when overlaid onto a coordinate plane. The winds ahead of the trough blow either S-N or SE-NW which pulls the surface storm in closer to the coast resulting often in big snow storms for Portland. For a trough to “go negative”, disturbances in the upper levels must collide and interact at exactly the right time and in exactly the right way. That’s why big snows only happen so often! Lots needs to go right! Dendritic Growth Zone: The area in the atmosphere where dendrites (snowflakes) form. What happens in this zone (temperature, wind, humidity, etc.) will determine if we have light fluffy snow that piles up quickly or if we’re stuck with that sludge that sticks to everything and weighs a ton. The DGZ is usually located wherever temps are between -12 and -18 celsius though sometimes snowflakes can form at warmer or colder temps. For maximum snowflake production, the DGZ must be deep (lots of air that’s between -12 and -18 C), it must contain air that’s rising, preferably rising quite quickly, and also must be saturated with a relative humidity of over 85%.
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More weather terms next month, if you have any jargon you want explained, send it to me! email@example.com
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Plowing Thru: The Guys Who Are The Calm Within The Storm By Jack Gentempo For Up Portland The snowflakes begin falling. They’re not much on their own, just little specks of frozen water that dissolve when you touch them. But get a few when million of them together, falling simultaneously to the earth below, and they’re disastrous. As I lay in bed, unaware of the silent accumulation outside my apartment window, I’m awakened by the primal fear of being trapped. What if it never stops? What if the buses shut down? What if the unique and beautiful downtown I know and love becomes an unrecognisable city, lost beneath a vast sheet of white powder?
more likely to cause an accident like this.
As I stare through the icy mist that fills the light of every street lamp, I notice something in the distance. Two great beams of light, moving effortlessly as the snow before them parts ways, as if giving the creature permission to proceed. I got a chance to ride along with a driver of one of this majestic beasts of machinery and learned just what it takes to keep a city from being buried. In short, I got to ride with the City of Portland snowplow crew during a decent storm. My driver is Chris, he’s worked for the City of Portland for seven years, and a private plowing contractor for ten years before that. Mark introduced me to Chris. Mark coordinates all the plow drivers and ensures everything remains timely. Chris works 16-hour shifts, with eight hours off in between throughout the Winter, but you wouldn’t know those long hours by his upbeat and friendly demeanor. Sitting in the passenger seat of a truck that makes most cars look like ants on wheels, I am surprised to learn that this particular vehicle is referred to around the office as one of the smaller plows. The firefighter and the police officer are familiar heroes, but plow drivers are lesser-known. They are the silent workers, who set out in the dead of night to clear the streets of snow and ensure things run smoothly by the morning commute. If they do their job well enough, no one ever notices. The only time they get a great deal of attention is when they make a mistake. Though Chris is a veteran of the plow, even he makes mistakes. “I’ve hit a couple cars,” Chris says. “It’s easy to get those out of the way right in the beginning of the year... that way you don’t have to worry about hitting any more later on in the season.” Slippery storms that start out as freezing rain and then turn to snow are
In some southern parts of the Boston metro area, parking on the street is banned for the winter months. But in a place like Portland where parking on the street is mostly (save for rare snow ban nights) a year-round event, plow drivers like Chris have difficult choices to make. It’s a dangerous game, plowing snow in between, around, and sometimes right up to cars that fill the streets. Navigating between vehicles, and consistently adjusting the angle of the plow is a multitaskers’ frontier that requires strategic use of space. This might explain why one of Chris’s biggest pet peeves is cars that park directly across from each other, therefore turning a small snowy street into a one-lane slippery road. As we chat, we’re coasting along at a comfortable speed. As I look into the blank white sky above us, I can’t help but feel a rush of that human desire to know when the storm will end. What if this storm is to continue forever, to the point where all of Portland is buried like some disastrous reverse Pompeii? Luckily, Chris and the crew have a plan for that. Any storm that accumulates over six inches in the Old Port requires special snow removal. Most of the complaints that Chris and his colleagues receive are due to the fact that the snow has to go somewhere once they scrape it out of the driving lanes, and often, that somewhere is in front of someone’s property. Disputes over the fairness of the snow placement can be a common source of tension among residents. But if there’s simply too much snow to pile in town, snow is hauled out to a storage facility — a literal snow bank. It used to go into the ocean, but the threat of manmade icebergs, or congestion caused by the snow and it’s content quickly dissolved this particular practice. We coast along, Chris parting the snow like the Red Sea before us, leaving nothing but clear asphalt in our wake. Suddenly, the ground begins to rumble beneath our feet. Our once smooth course has turned rocky and unstable. I look to my guide, expecting to see some reaction of panic on his face, but he remains unfazed. It turns out the jarring rumble of plowing over a cobblestone street is a familiar sensation for Chris. “You’ve gotta go a little slower,” he says. I ask if the plow is in any danger of being damaged by the cobblestones beneath. Chris assures me that he’s never hurt a plow and that it takes a bit more than a few rocks to do so. Chris
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stares ahead through the windshield, his demeanor steady, upbeat and a refrain from the storm raging outside. And so we continue into the next block and the next, making streets safe for commuters, school buses and frustrating folks who might come out to find their cars “snowed in” after being parked during the blizzard. But it all teaches me that as I drift off to sleep tonight, I can rest assured. While the whipping winds of Winter deliver an icy siege unto our peninsula, there are unheralded men like Chris and Mark at work. They are only human, and though their best methods may yield displeasure at times, they still spend their evenings predicting, preparing and plowing. Digging us out from the current Nor’easter... and the one after that... and the one after that.
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Processed Media By Randy Dankievitch — TV Critic / TVOvermind It’s Not Time To Make the Switch (At Least, Not Yet) This month, Nintendo finally unveiled their new gaming console, the Nintendo Switch, after months of rumours, hype and fan-made wish lists. Part traditional home console and part mobile tablet, Nintendo’s new Switch is the next evolution of the Wii platform, iterating on the hardware of the Wii U, but adding back in many of the peripherals Nintendo made stacks of cash on with the original Wii. As such, the Switch feels like a console torn in many different directions... a video game system that definitively has a stated identity, but has a hard time finding a coherent vision within that framework. It’s hard to tell what Nintendo wants Switch to be; the populist console that sells a bajillion units and pumps out nothing but first-party games and Just Dance games, or a more seriousminded device, aimed at bringing back some of the core gamers it lost somewhere between the Gamecube launch and the slow, dying breaths of the original Wii. Admittedly, the concept behind the Switch is kind of fascinating: a game console, essentially with all its hardware stored in a tablet, that can operate as a mobile device and a home console, complete with two detachable controllers that lock and unlock on both sides of the main tablet. But at its core, this means Nintendo is once again sacrificing power for gimmick: the Switch runs on a heavily modified Tegra 1 mobile processor, a powerful, but limited and somewhat power inefficient processor found in any number of Android devices over the past couple years. This means Mario Kart can finally be played at 1080p resolution - at least, on a television, since the gamepad only outputs at 720p resolution.
Already, a system hamstrung by its need to be mobile, costs more than the modestly powerful home gaming consoles Sony and Microsoft released three years ago. This is not good. Also not a good sign? There are only five games announced for launch day release — a list that includes exactly one first-party game: the much anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild…. which is actually a Wii U game, going through a bit of a technical upgrade to make its way to the Switch, and hopefully sell consoles where Super Bomberman R, 1,2 Switch (which is a game that encourages players to not look at the TV) and Just Dance 2017 won’t be able to push. Even with what looks to be a grand adventure for Zelda (at only 900p on the Switch, of course!), this is a terrible launch lineup for the Switch, which looks to rely on gamers buying virtual console games for the 4th or 5th time, since you can’t migrate accounts again. Now you can overpay for Super Mario Bros. 3 again, to bring in revenue throughout most of 2017, until Super Mario Odyssey and games like Skyrim (a six-year old RPG) make their way to the system, to give it some clout in the software department. So, what we are about to have is goofy, overpriced peripherals, a terrible launch lineup developed to run on a system that’s only marginally more powerful than the Wii U. Then, throw in the fact Nintendo won’t even have a fully-featured, operational online service at launch (it will be in ‘beta’ until the Fall), and there’s really no discernable reason to pre-order a Nintendo Switch, unless you plan on buying the farm sometime between now and the holiday season. Breath of the Wild might be a great game, but without anything else to play between March and the holiday season, there’s good reason to think the Nintendo Switch is going to follow suit with the Wii U, and end up a dust collection device for 9/10ths of the year. This is unfortunate, because the Nintendo Switch offered Nintendo an opportunity to move slightly away from the “innovative” hardware iterations which keep holding them back, and deliver something with power and style, engineered to take advantage of Nintendo’s great software offerings of the past five to ten years. At their first press conference, Nintendo offered none of those things, instead opting to show off a couple ports, some really questionable “features” of its new console, all with the underwhelming thud of Mario banging his head against an empty question block. C’mon Nintendo; you can do so much better.
Letting The Cat Out Of The Bag
One might say, “Well, it’s not as powerful as the PS4 Pro - so what?” Forget how this is going to play this holiday season, when gamers have the choice between the 4K-ready PS4 Pro and Microsoft’s Project Scorpio, or Nintendo’s technologically hamstrung console: the Switch looks to be a system lagging behind on technology from day one, both in terms of computing power, and how limited its capabilities are as a mobile device (the battery is stated to last between 2.5 and 6 hours, though I highly doubt it will reach that upper plateau). More so than the device itself, however, it’s everything surrounding the console and its weird controllers (which are cool, but way too small to be effectively used individually) that gives me great pause, and led me to cancel the initial preorder I made in January. Nintendo is marketing the Switch as a $300 console. Sure, it’s $300 for a system with one controller, no charging dock and a paltry 32gb of internal storage. This means before anyone is ready to play a game of Smash Bros. or Mario Party (neither of which have been announced for the Switch, of course), they’re going to have to purchase a $70 Joy-Con controller, a $30 external charger for the controller, and spend anywhere from $20 to $200 on memory cards.
By Stacy Begin / Owner, Two Fat Cats Bakery
...Is off this month, but will return in March
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The Gossip Column By Britain & Sydney / The Office Gossip Cats It’s an all-photographic gossip column this time as the photos are each worth at least the proverbial thousand words. First, there’s the one to the left, which is the salt bin that stands at India & Congress streets. While the thought’s there and helpful on icy days, too, whoever used the stencil had a bit of an issue when it came to the “N”, which is made even funnier because in one spot it’s right and the other it’s backwards. There’s also a 2nd bin behind the building with the exact same issue. FAIL! Also a fail is the detour sign, right, which was at Free Street and Center Street. The problem is that the arrow is pointing to the wrong street, but we’d be willing to bet someone thought they were helping out by saving a buck so after months with it pointing down Free Street as Center was shut, when a detour sign was needed for the day on Free Street it got pulled out and stuck pointing the wrong way. In truth on the day we cats grabbed this photo Free was closed and Center Street was open... got it? And ﬁnally, what can we cats say except cummon, folks, look at where you are parking! Not only did this black SUV block a crosswalk, causing our owner to cross on ice, but some yahoo also ran over the drainage pipe under the temporary crosswalk at Middle & Hancock streets, causing water to back up. Common sense and manners, folks!
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Food For Thought... In a city like ours where quirky, unusual, awesome and unique restaurants seem to occupy almost every corner and each block in between, it might come as no shock to readers that this reviewer finally made it to Sip of Europe — a coffee and truly unique crepe shop at 229 Congress Street, across the road from the Eastern Cemetery. But there’s nothing dead about this tiny bistro tucked away in a row of stores between India Street and Washington Avenue amidst used book shops, a beauty salon, Otto Pizza and the Maine Jewish Museum. Not only is the menu a lively mix of coffees, crepes (sweet and savoury), shakes and sangria, but Yulia, the young Russian ex-pat gives off enough bright light to keep the place glowing on even the coldest, gloomiest Maine day. What’s so immediately obviously special (aside from the owner) about Sip of Europe is that everything is fresh, is made to order and is unique. Probably the only draw-back to that is there can be a wait, but in the eatery’s cool space, with a constant parade of passing traffic and pedestrians to watch and more there will always be plenty to amuse. Besides, the postage stamp sized kitchen occupies a corner of the place and watching things being made is not only an option, but it’s a requirement. A neighbour and I visited on a recent cloudy weekday and while we were past the lunch hour (about 1.45 p.m.) Yulia practically bounded over to our table with her sunny disposition to answer questions, take orders and deliver what has to be some of, if not the, freshest food in town. Crepes are one of those things that some of our “heavy eater” friends are not fond of because they are lighter fare, but if that describes you, order two and we guarantee you will depart satisfied. That pair could be a savoury, followed by a dessert crepe or two savouries or two sweet ones or... Add an espresso (there are options with whipped cream or foamy milk) or one of the Euro chocolates which Yulia offers (menu says, Unreal Hot Chocolate — European styled chocolate drink — dessert that is served with a spoon. Choose regular or spicy) or a latte or a cold drink. There are also offerings of mulled wine and sangria, and menus note that both Maine Seacoast Coffee and Lavazza from Europe are featured and the meal is complete. But again, what’s so special is the freshness. Everything is made when ordered and to order, so my request that my smoked salmon (lox) crepe have some added capers was accomplished without difficulty, as was use of Yulia’s butter infused with onion. It was the same with my companion’s veggie crepe, filled to bursting with tomato, spinach, arugula and olives. There are all sorts of other choices on the menu, ranging from a “chocolate dream” with cocoa batter and chocolate between the layers, to a Nutella crepe (menu says “a looooot of Nutella”) and the best seller which is a lemon crepe with freshly squeezed lemon juice and powdered sugar. Looking
further one discovers several best sellers on the menu so the lemon one is accompanied by a cinnamon & sugar crepe and a Baklava crepe with walnuts and honey as top ordered items. Over on the savoury side, from the smoked salmon and cream cheese (the one I loved) to Peggy’s veggie (which gets great reviews) to one with melted mozzarella cheese and one with parmesean, dill and onion, the choices are wide and varied. There are also “add ons” for both the savoury and sweet crepes... extras which range from capers and walnuts to strawberries and bacon pieces. What did we say about wide choice and customising? We will confess we did not order any of the drinks, but that Unreal Hot Chocolate is on my list for the next visit, and I probably would not turn down one of Yulia’s iced tea or iced coffee lattes, either. The other bit of good news at Sip of Europe is that pricing is so much more than fair, you can afford to try several crepes, or order four or five if you have three or four people and share bits and bites so everybody gets a taste of each. The bill for the two of us with two crepes and an add-on or two came out to just a hair over $20, and considering the portion size, the quality and (did we mention?) freshness of what was served that bill was more than fair. To read more about Yulia, who is Russian and from St. Petersburg, but got her U.S. start in Old Orchard Beach
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and had a coffee cart before going to the more permanent location on Congress Street, as well as see a lot of photos of her delicious treats, visit www. sipofeurope.com, but do be warned the menu info (at least when we went there at presstime) was incomplete. Our suggestion? Go by and grab a menu or check it out in the window on Congress Street for the full range of choices. Or just show up and be prepared to be thrilled. Hours at Sip Of Europe are Tuesdays thru Fridays from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. and weekends, 8 to 8. We plan to return early and often for further sips, as well as more of Yulia’s great crepes. Bits & Bites...more restaurant notes... We had an interesting time recently at one of our fave restaurants on the peninsula, and it left us scratching our heads over how much prima donna chefs should be put in charge and how much real business knowledge should lead. The reason for the comment? We were used to a wonderful lunch “deal” here, where for $12 one could get soup and a smaller portion of a sandwich or entree. It’s been a few weeks since our last visit here and when we walked in in late January found that the French Onion Soup (arguably the best in town) had been removed from the choose one soup or salad list, so we asked why. The manager seemed a bit put out that we’d dare ask about the change and got even more aggravated when she said it was likely made due to food cost. We responded that we’d pay an up-charge for the onion soup and half portion of the entree, but she looked aggravated and declined. Pressing, we were finally told it was the chef’s choice “and that’s the way the menu is written” meaning to get that wonderful soup, as well as an entree we had to go with a whole portion of the entree
and the soup, totalling not $12 but $17, which is, in this reviewer’s thinking a bit pricy for a regular weekday lunch — even here in foodie city. We bring this up as this and other places we like to go show a lot of demanding chef signs — from a lack of salt and pepper on tables (“it comes out as the chef intends and nothing need be added” we’ve been told elsewhere) to refusals to alter anything from the menus, even if one shows a willingness to cover any extra food cost. We, as reviewers, find this sad because it is, afterall, we customers who come back and back and back and who ultimately keep the doors open. Besides, aside from ego, what’s the harm in us asking a sauce go on the side or be left off? Or, heaven forbid, a salt shaker being out for those maybe wanting just a bit more? The begged question here is will we be back? The answer is yes, but less often and maybe just for soup, skipping the entree altogether, which would indeed be a shame, but $17 is not in our regular lunch budget. We are, as we promised friends we were dining with, not saying the name of said eatery, plus, sadly, the attitude issue could apply, we know from experience, to several (dozen?) others, but to those in the kitchens and those looking at the balance sheets, we say add a buck or two but let the diner decide what she or he wants — and that includes a salt shaker without having to ask for one! OK, so enough of my rant. A couple odds and ends and you can turn the page... This reviewer is following with interest the addition of “service charges” to bills at several Peninsula restaurants since the last we have read, heard and seen is that Maine law prohibits same. We’d way rather be allowed to just tip and not have a “service charge” added to our bill so it will be interesting to see what plays out... Meanwhile, on the food front, I still do not get it but it appears Exchange Street really is getting a place which specialises in (ready for it?) Shrimp Ice Cream. We are told seafood ice cream is a big deal Downeast, but we still can’t get our heads (or tongues) around the idea of it, so our jury is still out!
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Welcome To Our Truly Local Crossword Puzzle For ages (or so it seems) we have been asked at Up Portland why we do not have a crossword puzzle. The answer is easy: We never found one we liked. Now, we can say we have, so welcome to the new, monthly crossword we designed ourselves! For this first one think local... All of the answers are Portland places, businesses, signs and parts of our daily life. A few photographic hints are on this page, but to check your work after you finish, the solution appears on Page 22. Enjoy and please send us your comments. firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Buck Stops Here
By Luke Reinhard / Advisor — Ameriprise Financial
Creating a Charitable Giving Strategy For many of us, the first months of a new year signify a fresh chance to align our spending with our priorities. If charitable giving is an important part of your budget, now is a good time to take a step back and reevaluate your giving strategy. There are a myriad of causes and organisations you can support, which can leave even the best-intentioned philanthropist confused and overwhelmed. The following steps can help ensure your money is being used effectively and efficiently by the organizations you choose to support. Step 1— Clarify your own values and preferences. Before you reach for your chequebook, ask yourself a few questions. What causes are important to you? Is there a particular demographic or group of people you would like to support? Would you prefer to give to a local, regional, national or global organisation? As a donor, what do you hope to see in the organisation’s leadership or structure? The answers to these questions can help you make a list of charities that will allow you to align your financial resources with your personal values – making your donation even more meaningful. Step 2— Consider each organisation’s mission. Once you have determined which meet your criteria, research each charity to make sure their programmes, mission and goals match your expectations. Consider meeting with an executive or local leader to hear about the charity’s strategy and their impact on the community firsthand. During the meeting, ask about the organisation’s short- and long-term goals as well as how they measure success. You want to be sure that the charity is making progress toward achieving its goals. Step 3— Investigate each charitable organisation’s financial health. Look into how each donation is used and what percentage of the money goes directly to the cause. Fundraising and administrative expenses help the charity do its work, however you should be cautious about organisations with high overhead costs. Ask the charity for a copy of their most recent annual report and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990. These forms outline the charity’s budget allocation and financial plans, and can provide you with insight into how your money is used to make the intended impact. If you’d like an objective perspective on a charity’s financial health, fundraising practices, day-to-day efficiency and accountability standards, look at how watch dog groups evaluate the organization. BBB Wise Giving Alliance (www.give.org), GuideStar (www.guidestar.org) and Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) are several national groups that offer unbiased evaluations. Step 4— Make giving part of your financial plan. As you figure out your donation strategy, consider meeting with a financial planner or tax advisor who can help you select the most appropriate donation method for your financial situation. These professionals can also work with you to create a strategy for ongoing contributions or to make giving part of your legacy. Keep in mind that there may be legal or tax considerations, depending on the amount and form of your donation (i.e. cheque, investment donation, etc.). By taking the time to thoroughly evaluate charitable organisations, you’ll give yourself the peace of mind that your money is being used wisely, effectively and for the purposes you intended.
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Eric’s Optimal Corner
Mike Courts / Optimal Self Community Health and Wellness Center It may be Winter, and months before I return to amateur baseball, but Spring, sunshine and a baseball diamond are never far from my thoughts. The game is the same from year to year, but regrettably, my body isn’t. Each season brings new challenges to maintain the fitness that will allow me to enjoy the sport I love. I am not alone. Amateur sports enthusiasts come from a variety of backgrounds and lifestyles. Many are physically active or at least somewhat active. Some are less active, but all share a love of the sport they pursue. Each season has a challenge to maintain a healthy body while at the same time putting stress on muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. With preparation and smart conditioning, pain can be diminished and performance enhanced. Because of career, family and other obligations, a year-round programme is difficult to maintain for most weekend warriors. If this describes your situation, try the following approach.
Key points for consideration when designing your workouts; � Target three to five days per week for workouts. � Minimise rest periods between sets. Take more rest when lifting heavy weight (60 to 90 Seconds), less rest when using lighter resistance (15 to 30 Seconds). � The tempo of each exercise should be a slower eccentric motion (an example is the downward portion of a bench press) and a quick, powerful concentric motion (the upward thrusting motion). Tempo can be altered to achieve different effects. � Utilise available equipment where possible — especially body weight exercises. � Do not start without proper preparation. Take the time to research the exercises you wish to incorporate. If possible, engage a personal trainer to help design the specific individual workouts which meet your needs.
Off-Season Tips Take every opportunity to remain active during the off-season. Walk/run/ bike/swim or row and adjust your diet to compensate for your reduced activity. Stretch major muscle groups (shoulder, hamstrings, quads, calves and back muscles). When you can work it in, perform some basic exercises like push-ups, Lat pull-downs (or pull-ups), squats and glut bridges. Core exercises should be part of all your workouts (timed Planks, Side Planks, Plank rotations, Plank up/ downs, crunches, leg pull-ins, etc. and back extensions like cobras). There are many websites that provide excellent health, diet and fitness tips. Dr. Joseph Mercola’s (www.mercola.com) daily newsletter and www.stack.com are two good resources. Above all, keep moving. Preseason Program At least six weeks before your season starts focus on your pre-season fitness routine. When planning your programme and individual workouts, it is critical that you include elements of Core/Balance, Strength, cardio and/or metabolic conditioning (short intense bouts of work with minimal rest between work bouts), and dynamic movements both plyometric (hopping, jumping and skipping) and SAQ (speed, agility and quickness). The dynamic movements should be modeled to utilise the movement patterns of your sport. This is especially true for the 2nd half of your pre-season programme. For instance, if you swing a club, bat or racquet, you want to train your body to perform the balance, quick weight shifting and rotational movements critical for swinging activities. When designing individual workouts, I use this basic framework: � �
Warm-up - Static stretching of major muscle groups followed by Dynamic movements to raise your heart rate and prepare your body for the workout. Five minutes. Core/Balance/Plyometric - Core strength is the building block for functional movement patterns (i.e. the primary movements supporting athletic performance). The core muscles support trunk flexion and extension, trunk rotation, lateral trunk flexion and
abdominal and spinal stability. 10 to 15 minutes. Strength – This workout component focuses on building endurance and muscle mass of major muscle groups. Combine upper and lower body muscle group workouts using a variety of training techniques -- body weight, resistance bands, suspension straps, weights, etc. Target 15 to 20 minutes. Cardio/Metabolic Conditioning – This is where SAQ exercises come into play. Running, biking and rowing are good exercises. For other suggestions, research Tabata workouts (named after Dr. Izumi Tabata) and incorporate those. Target 20 minutes. Cool Down – Dynamic stretching incorporating deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Five minutes.
When the Season begins Continue the workouts, focusing on maintaining strength and mobility. Most important, is preparing for the actual sports event. Allow 20 to 30 minutes before the event to stretch and warm your muscles for the effort to come. Sports injuries can happen to any part of the body, but for weekend warriors, hamstring, groin, calf and shoulder (especially rotator cuff) muscles require specific attention. Start with static stretches and then move into dynamic movements that focus on these muscle groups and help the body prepare for the complex movements required for your sport. Know your sport and the proper mechanics for your sport’s specific activities. Remember, you do this because you love it. Respect your body and it will allow you to respect your sport. Good Luck and Have FUN! About the author — Mike Courts is a NASM certiﬁed CPT, CES and GPTS working with the Optimal Self Community Health and Wellness Center in Portland. Mike has participated in sports his entire life, pursues year-round ﬁtness and still plays adult baseball. He has been providing ﬁtness training for groups and individuals since his retirement from IBM in 2013. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com
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The Standard Reviewer
Banks is able to translate one key phase that the heptapods use: “Offer weapon,” though she tells Weber that the word “weapon” could also translate as “tool” or “technology.” However, Chinese linguists have already translated the phrase as “Use weapon,” reading it as a declaration of war by the aliens. The Chinese cut off communication with the 12 other nations around the world where the craft have landed, and prepare to attack the alien ship. The Russians and Sudanese follow suit.
By Bill Elliott / Up Portland’s Film & Theatre Reviewer
Imagine the following scenario: undocumented aliens are perceived as a potential threat to national security. Many people feel that the government should treat them with openness and compassion, and welcome them while others feel that they are a danger and must be forcibly removed. This is not Donald Trump’s first week in office, but the plot of Arrival, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s philosophical and intellectually challenging film about how the world deals with first contact with an alien race. The film is a quietly reflective meditation on big issues about what it is that makes us human, what bonds us, and what divides us. It is a timely antidote to issues that are in the news on a daily basis. Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is an American professor who teaches linguistics. She turns up to class one day to find her lecture room almost empty. One of the few students in class asks her to turn on the television. A news report explains that an unidentified spacecraft has landed in Montana, with UFO sightings in other parts around the world. Banks takes the news calmly, going about her daily business as normal. During the night, she is awoken by the sound of a military helicopter landing in her backyard. Colonel GT Weber (Forest Whitaker), a senior U.S. military officer, asks her if she can translate a taped recording of the aliens’ attempts to communicate. She explains that it would be almost impossible to understand the language without being in the physical presence of the aliens and seeing how they communicate. Banks joins physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) to try to decipher the alien language and find the answer to the question: “What is your purpose on Earth?” The pair are taken to the landing site in Montana where they catch their first glimpse of the alien craft, a gigantic black ovoid hovering a few feet above ground. Banks and Donnelly are part of a team sent to enter the craft through a doorway which the military has found opens every 18 hours. Once inside the craft, they enter a vertical shaft with zero gravity, allowing them to walk upside down. The aliens, separated by a glass wall, appear to be giant octopus-like creatures minus one limb, hence Banks and Donnelly name them “heptapods.” In order to establish a rapport with two of the creatures they attempt to communicate with, Donnelly nicknames them Abbott and Costello. Banks initially tries to introduce herself by name, repeating “Louise” and pointing to herself. When that has little effect, she tries writing words on a large whiteboard. The heptapods respond by creating symbols using a form of ink squirted from their tentacles. The symbols the aliens use are circular, with each of the shapes varying slightly. Banks is able to decipher individual words from the patterns formed. The process of decoding is a long and painstaking one. Meanwhile, TV news pundits are hysterically calling for the President to attack the aliens before they “attack” the nation, though other than hovering and trying to communicate, the aliens have given no indication they are a threat to humanity.
Against the wishes of the military, Banks goes into the spaceship alone and finds she is able to breathe the atmosphere the aliens occupy. There Costello communicates directly, almost telepathically. Costello informs Banks that Abbott is in the “death process.” He tells Banks that she has been given a “gift,” not a weapon. And the gift is the ability to see into the future. At this point, the audience realizes that the “flashbacks” that intersperse the film so hauntingly are not flashbacks at all but flash forwards, and that the daughter Louise has been seeing has yet to be born. The “gift” imparted through Banks is the aliens’ gift to the planet. It is the gift of foresight and clear, uncomplicated communication that will allow all humans, all nations, and all nationalities to come together in common purpose. In return, the aliens require our help. The key to the aliens’ language, is time. And like their language, time is circular and fluid. Banks’ ability to see into the future holds the key to mankind’s survival. Yet, at the same time, the gift is also a curse. She is presented with a dilemma: “What if you can see something in the future that will bring both joy and sadness? Would you prevent it from happening?” Arrival is that rare kind of film: one that stimulates audiences both intellectually and emotionally. It asks you to think and feel. Amy Adams as Louise Banks is key to the film’s success. She is able to convey a wide range of emotions with expressions and small gestures. Throughout, she represents the film’s quiet emotional core with grace and dignity. The film is a shot in a near washed-out, monochromatic palette; for long stretches, the screen is in near darkness, all blacks, greys, and dark greens, which makes the orange hazmat suits the lead characters wear to enter the spaceship pop out in screaming colour. The pacing of Arrival feels closer to European filmmaking than to Hollywood (Villeneuve is from Trois-Rivières, in French-speaking Quebec). The film demands great patience and curiosity from audiences. For example, while we hear and see short clips of news stories early on, it is a full fifteen or twenty minutes before we see the alien craft onscreen. The craft looks like a softened, ovoid version of the monoliths from Kubrick’s 2001. Most sci-fi films would present the “money shot” much earlier. The film’s music by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson features orchestrated human voices emulating a series of exotic instruments. It is fitting in a movie about language that the human voice is highlighted as an instrument of emotion and communication. The music is an integral part of the film’s drama in much the same way as John Williams’ score for Jaws. Arrival asks an important question: “How do we approach that which we fear?” At a time when science and reasoned communication seem to be taking a back seat to impulse and base emotions, Arrival makes clear that mankind’s greatest problems, from climate change to national and religious differences, need to be addressed calmly, rationally, and with a firm eye on the needs of the planet, not the selfish needs of individual nations.
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Hackin’ The Net
carried out as intended, often helping to move a wall or finish a back splash. Now, I am four years into a career with Apple, working at the retail level diagnosing and repairing computers. Small electronics no longer are something I fear damaging. So in late November, when I got a sale e-mail from an online Tech website called Gearbest.com and spotted one of those knock off printers at the rock bottom price of $169 I decided I could no longer wait. I immediately ordered one, and after three weeks waiting for it to arrive on a slow boat from China, I had my very first 3-D printer.
By Ted Fleischaker / Publisher (EDITOR’S NOTE — I usually write this column and did one for this month on data speeds, caps, fees and other things which a lot of readers have asked about, but then I realised after the recent Consumer Electronics Show that the latest thing in printing arrived just a few weeks ago in our household in the form of a 3-D printer, which prints “things” and not just sheets of paper. As I am far, far from an expert on this latest (and maybe greatest) thing to come along computer-wise, I decided to get an expert in the form of my partner to write his review, which follows. As always, comments — good and bad — are welcome, so put on your best tech thinking cap and read on. I’ll be back next month with boring data and fees, but for now here’s a column about the brave new 3-D world.) Haven’t ever heard of 3-D Printing before the past few weeks? If not, you aren’t unusual, however 3-D made a big splash at CES (The Consumer Electronics Show) this year in Las Vegas with the first-of-its-kind car printed on a 3-D printer. While we are a few years off from driving one, 3-D printing technology is growing on a daily basis. It is, at least in my mind, the new frontier in manufacturing. As for me, I have pined for a 3-D printer for many years — ever since the first ones came to market. The biggest holdback, however, from the beginning was the price of admission: i.e., the cost of the printer and the materials it uses to make (Dare I say print?) your creations. Within the past year, however, we have seen an influx of cheap, mostly Chinese, knock-offs of popular and way more expensive printer designs. Case in point: the price finally reached a level that I felt I could afford to buy one and give 3-D printing as a hobby a go. You might be asking yourself. “What would I print if I had a 3-D printer?” If you’re a beginner with no design skills and just like the idea of being able to pick a design of something — like say a vase or a figurine — you can do it easily. Just download the file of your object to the 3-D printer of your choice and hit print. This is something that is completely doable. However, if this pick-and-print describes you then the rest of this story may not be for you, because the ability and fun of a 3-D printer only begins when you go experimental.
Now with price come some drawbacks. This very well designed and manufactured (as well as being highly rated) printer was dropped off by the parcel guy at my Portland address as a kit. Check out the photo (above left) and you can see just what I mean. The box had four trays of parts and almost every screw and wire needed to be assembled. I was immediately transported back to my childhood and could hardly wait to start assembling. After about nine hours over the course of three days it was fully together and I was printing my first part. Wait! Part you say? Yes part! This being a DIY kit, modifications are pretty much unlimited. Thanks to having watched a ton of YouTube videos and reading countless reviews on this printer I was prepared for the fact that my first print should be a better air nozzle to divert the air around the extruded filament. This is important for quality, strong prints So yes, my the first print from my DIY 3-D printer kit was a part for the printer itself! Now you must be saying, “OK, good now on to something useful and fun.” But unless you consider a button that fits over a screw that one must press and hold for what can be several minutes to feed new filament into the extruder head useful and fun then you are wrong.
Starting at a very young age I played with Legos, Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs and spent hours and days dreaming up new creations. I’d play with them and pretend that a massive earthquake hit and all was destroyed, leaving me with a pile of materials that I could use again and again to build whatever I could dream up.
Remember I explained that this was a DIY kit. Which means that many corners were cut to make it cheap. This means if I wanted to get my kit printer to a point that it was easier to use and not have it take me a hour to get set up for a print that may take anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 hours I needed to begin making modifications.
As a young adult I learned construction, electrical and plumbing from my grandfather and “graduated” to the real thing. Together, we finished the interior of a new garage he and my grandmother had built. Everything from the wiring of wall sockets and and switches to lighting, we did. Then it was on to insulation and, finally, drywall. Over the years I took his can-do attitude and expanded it — not only with my university education, which led me to a Masters in Project Management and 17 years of architecture and civil engineering, but in my personal life. I have always liked tinkering and building things, and I designed our Midwest condo from the studs up and went by daily to make sure my plans were
After my simple button, I moved on to a larger more complex mount for the filament. Yes, the kit came with a stand for rolls of filament but filament rolls come in a variety of sizes, depending on how many metres you purchase. Oh, did you catch that? Metres? As this is truly a worldwide kit you must keep in mind that the rest of the world uses the metric system, sending me to do some math and conversions, which led me to my next printing project.
Since spools of material come with small to large openings through their centres (think spools of thread at the fabric store) I needed something that would allow
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remember the first print I made was a new air diverter for the print head? That wonderful part, for whatever reason, warped, dragging across prints and pulling them around the bed making a complete mess and creating a pile of extruded plastic that resembles a ball of yarn or thread but has no use except for the possibility of an abstract art project.
for a smooth feed of material without the spool sometimes taking a big flop onto the floor. This, by far, took the longest to print. The centre bolt took a total of 22 hours, but considering it had a complex thread on the end for a nut to screw onto this was not really a big deal. The hardest part was keeping the 20 metres of material it needed from getting bound up and messing around with the print. Since then I found several other designs that would
Since figuring this out I have had many successful prints, including printing the first prototype of a new volume knob for a 1961 vintage transistor radio that has been broken for years. The prototype fit well and after only minor adjustments we again had a useable radio.
have taken a lot less time and material to print, but this being a hobby, the “adventure” is filled with trial and error as well as growing pains. After completion of that second modification, I was bound and determined to print something fun. I decided on a figurine of a character from the soon-tobe released movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Having seen the trailers I was very excited to see the the adorable character "Baby Groot" from the film sitting on my shelf.
So in closing, if you’re interested in 3-D printing do research. Purchase a printer that fits your needs and abilities, especially if it’s a kit and needs putting together. And, most of all, be prepared for a steep learning curve. This is the new frontier in manufacturing and it comes with many of the pitfalls our frontier friends had when they headed west for a new life in a barren land. They had to make and invent new things for their survival and in this wild west world, you will, too, though I suspect it’s gonna be awhile before I want to print a car or even a bicycle.
Thanks to a fantastic 3-D printer fan website, www.thingiverse.com printing the parts and my figurine were as simple as downloading files then using a programme that converts the 3-D model into layers that a printer can understand. Within an hour I had my first figurine, though (whoops) I printed it the wrong direction so it needed a lot of cleaning up, during which I broke both of Groot's arms off and had to glue them back. Being ABS plastic, this was simple so Groot now adorns one of the living room shelves.
Groot was followed by a two-piece carabiner (above, right) that in as little as 20 minutes was done, removed from the print bed, assembled and hanging from my keys. So, by now you must be asking yourself can this be all rainbows and unicorns every time or is it anything I even want to try to do? The answer right now, for the average reader (no matter how computer savvy) is a loud “No!” Prints failed, leaving me spaghetti looking mounds of plastic (above). And
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We are more than just copies…
2017 WINTER LECTURE SERIES Sponsored by
at Eastern Cemetery
Three Saturday afternoon lectures exploring how the history of early New England helped shape the Portland of today Saturday, January 28 -
Material Culture and Early “Makers” in 19th Century Portland
Art historian, writer, and editor Jessica Skwire Routhier, will take an intimate look at the “makers” who rest at Eastern Cemetery. Portland’s artists and craftsmen broke new ground, learning and perfecting their skills on the fly. This lecture highlights both the well-known - like landscape painter Charles Codman, furniture-maker Daniel Radford and mirror manufacturer James Todd - and those who are less familiar, like makers of schoolgirl samplers and members of the Maine Charitable Mechanics Association.
Saturday, February 25 -
Hail the Conquering Heroes Come: Lafayette Visits Portland and Commodore Preble on the Shores of Tripoli
FLYERS and SELL SHEETS and CALENDARS and BANNERS and NOTE CARDS and MAILERS and BUSINESS CARDS and NEWSLETTERS and POST CARDS and INVITATIONS and MENUS and POSTERS and … including cutting, scoring, folding, multiple types of binding, hole punching, dry mounting, and laminating
Conveniently located at 100 Fore Street in Portland
(next to Hamilton Marine on your way to the Eastern Prom) with plenty of free parking
207.775.2444 • www.xcopy.com Like us on
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Herb Adams, author or contributor to six books on Maine history and well-known speaker, discusses two men (one of whom is interred at Eastern Cemetery) as he addresses the question, “What does it take to be a hero?” Lafayette was the hero of two nations and two revolutions. Toasts, tree climbing and thundering cannon were all part of his Maine saga. Commodore Edward Preble was a hero of the next generation. Portland-born, the Commander of “Old Ironsides” besieged Tripoli for President Jefferson. Swordplay, sea serpents, and the USS Constitution, all in one grand career !
Saturday, March 25 -
Early Portland’s Off-peninsula Lifestyle and Architecture
Julie Ann Larry, Director of Advocacy for Greater Portland Landmarks, will discuss how Portland’s early settlers transplanted the building traditions and culture of Northern Europe into the wilds of Maine. Though modern development now surrounds these early settlements, Portland’s colonial roots are still apparent off the peninsula in the area of Stroudwater and neighborhoods off Back Cove. What do the surviving colonial homes tell us about life in the 18th century?
Lectures begin at 1:30 PM at the Wishcamper Center, Bedford St. on the USM Portland Campus, with parking in the USM Bedford St. garage. Lectures are free, though donations are gratefully accepted. Presented by Spirits Alive of Eastern Cemetery and co-sponsored by the Department of History and Political Science at USM. Spirits Alive is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of historic Eastern Cemetery (founded 1668) at the foot of Munjoy Hill on Congress St.
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