Sunday, May 11, 2008

Merriconeag Waldorf School - May Fair - Freeport Maine

Each year the Waldorf school ushers in spring with dancing around the May pole. The teacher's go all out in their medieval dress. This year, more than ever, this rite of spring to stamp out old man winter is particularly appreciated.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cricket Hunt School - Founder and Head of School Michele Gilbody

"Things deemed impossible, I dare" is from a poem whose author I don't remember. This quote describes Michel perfectly because of her fulfilment of a life long dream of starting her own school. Michele is from Wells Maine. She graduated from the University of Maine in Farmington. She has 15 years of teaching experience both in public and private school settings. She began her teaching career at the Breakwater School in Portland Maine. Michele liked the way Breakwater School took the time to understand each student's learning style and match it with the appropriate instruction. Michele's teaching career thrived at the Breakwater. Michele also enjoyed several years teaching in the public schools. Eventually the calling to start her own school was too great, and she took a leap of faith to embark on "an interesting ride" as she said to start a new school. In February 2001, she bought a building and renovated it to suit the needs of her new school which she named Cricket Hunt School. By September 2001, Michele opened her doors to five students. The following year she had 15 students enrolled. Michele could qualify for the Guiness book of records for multi-tasking, here is a list of some of her roles: Head of School, Teacher, Admissions Director, Sales Rep and Janitor. Cricket Hunt School now has two locations on Main street in Freeport. Michele will have a new facility located next to Wilbur Chocolates in Freeport starting in the Fall.

Don't miss her article in Kidz 'n Maine, the May 2008 issue titled "Inspiring your child's creative and independent thinking" Click on

Do yourself a favor and contact Michele to discuss your child's educational needs. She is articulate and inspiring to talk with. She is an educational entrepreneur who believes her school can make a difference in your child's education. For more information, visit Cricket Hunt School online at or call 207-865-9696. Her school is locate just across from the Casco Street corporate headquarters of L.L. Bean.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Vanity Plates you'll see in the Freeport area

When you move to Maine or if you live here already, you will notice an increasing number of vanity plates on the Maine roads as time glides on. That is what I've noticed in the 10 years that I've lived here. I was speaking with Don Cookson who is the Communication Director for the Office of the Secretary of State in August today and he notices this trend as well. Don's communication responsibilities include the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles. In Maine, there are a wide range of license plates to choose from including the two you see above, the Chickadee plate and the Loon (Conservation Plate) to name a few. Recently the state has added a colorful Agricultural plate with vibrant orang, red and yellow colors. Don said he will send me some statistics on the number of vanity plates owned by Maine drivers. Off the top of his head, Don thought roughly 6% or 7% of registered cars in Maine have vanity plates. Don recounted how he was at an Augusta eatery recently and out of the 25 cars in the parking lot, he estimated that 15 to 18 cars had vanity plates. For license plate fans like me, Don mentioned a USA Today article that touched upon this topic last November, and it can be found here:

Don is also amazed how many people like me are interested in low number plates. I drive a 007 car...well, if you squint your eyes the car almost looks like an Aston Martin! Just the other day I was at Town landing in Falmouth and Craig and his wife Charlotte whose license plate is simply "C" asked me how I came to be 007. I mentioned it all started after I took my boys to see the last 007 movie, Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig as the new 007. My boys and I have seen almost all of the 007 movies. Casino Royale was released in November of 2006 and shortly thereafter I had to register my car. I knew at that time that I wanted a low number plate, so I called the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Augusta and spoke with a woman who was in charge of issuing low number plates. She asked me what number I wanted. I paused for a moment because I really didn't know what low number plate I wanted. Suddenly, I said "how about 007"? She responded and said that the conservation plate 007 had just became available. I said "I'll take it". Craig and Charlotte, owners of a Chickadee "C", enjoyed the story. Craig then told me he was a 007 in the Korean war serving in a naval intelligence capacity. It just so happened that his Navy retirement number is 007007.
Now you say, who owns the Freeport plate, spelled Freeputt that I featured above? I think it belongs to someone who works at Maggie's gas station at Exit 20 in Freeport.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Patriots Day afternoon on Bradbury Mountain

My son and I had a delightful afternoon walk up Bradbury Mountain today. Upon reaching the summit, we met Dane from Corpus Christi Texas who is the "raptor" counter hired by Wild Birds of Yarmouth I had read the Sunday Press Herald piece several weeks ago and knew that Dane would probably be on the summitt. I also was having a "mandatory fun" event with my 14 year old. There wasn't much happening in the sky during our brief visit with Dane until we were about to head back to the parking lot. As we were about to hit the trail, a pair of Osprey dove from the sky right near us in what Dane described moments later as a spring mating dance. The male was in hot pursuit of the female. Moments later, they were both enjoy circling upward in a thermal. Dane said he heard a wind noise coming from the Osprey wings due to their close proximity. So we were treated to one of the most impressive and quite up close Osprey events Dane had ever witnessed. Dane expressed how fortunate we are to live in an area such as Freeport/Pownal with such a large state park. And such a large state park that happens to on a major raptor migrating route!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sailboat "Apres Ski" at Brewer's Marine in South Freeport

The weather is starting act like "Apres ski" with temperatures in the 60's today and into the 70's tomorrow. All of us who have lived through the winter of '07 - '08 with it's record snow fall are a bit worn out! Hope springs eternal with this kind of weather. My wife and I have watched the snow on our property make a "dramatic retreat" as the snow moves off our land and into the forest.
By hey, Sugarloaf and Sunday River Ski areas are still open for business. I'm sure there will be a few "loafers" heading to the hills for one more ski.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Freeport's CEO Fred Reeder

Especially in a town with national name recognition like Freeport, there are huge residential and commercial development pressures to contend with. The code enforcement officer, aka CEO, plays a critical role by making sure homeowners, landowners and commercial entities abide by the zoning rules in place so that Freeport doesn't one day look like Long Island, New York.

Meet Fred Reeder who is the CEO and has been since 1986 when he relocated to Maine from Southbury Connecticut. Fred's career unfolded as follows. Upon graduation from college, Fred taught for 2 1/2 years at the Deveaureax school, a private school in CT that specializes in teaching those with special needs. Fred then transitioned from teaching to picking up an entirely different skill set. Fred had the good fortune to wind up working for reputable Southbuy builders who taught him all that is required to build a new house.
Fred, his wife and three sons migrated north to Maine in 1986 and first lived in Richmond Maine. Fred's wife's sister lived in Richmond and consequently it was a good place to be as the Reeder family learned more about their new state. Fred thought he might get back into teaching until one day he found a position open in Freeport that was a perfect fit. He applied and was offered the Code Enforcement officer position.
For the last 15 years Fred has lived in the village of Freeport. Fred and other town officials including the design review committee have worked hard to keep Freeport from looking like a homogeneous American small town with big box stores and giant signs dominating the landscape. Most recently there has been a tempest in a teapot over whether or not the Pet Pantry was in compliance with the very bold color of purple color the owners chose. Fred thoroughly researched the issue to learn that Pet Pantry didn't violate a town ordinance.
For all questions, simple or complex, visit the code enforcement officer and his staff at town hall. You can go online to learn about zoning in place for each area of Freeport.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The "Lilly B" Bustins Island Ferry in winter storage at Brewers South Freeport Marine

The Bustins Island ferry, Lilly B, is all wrapped up in her winter blanket perched on boat stands sitting next to the Brewers South Freeport Marine building. Brewers had a fire last week created by a massive machine installing new dock pilons for the Brewers' new dock facility. These machines drive the pilons in so fast that extreme heat can build up to become flamable. The new homeland security camera mounted on the Harbormasters office at the end of the wharf determined that arson wasn't involved. Apparently a South Freeport resident woke up at 5 o'clock in the morning to see flames on a few pilons including a barge that was ablaze. The good news is that noone was lost and all the boats at Brewers and Strout's Point were safe.
I asked Rob Taisey whose family has a longstanding connection to the island for help learning about the Lilly B history. Rob has already given me a few leads for me to pursue including Al (Eliott) Spaulding who designed the boat. He and his wife Sue are Freeporters and I understand that Sue could fill in some historical details.

Leslie Berry is the Captain and you can contact her about getting the 2008 summer ferry schedule at 207-841-4944. The Lilly B is scheduled to launch on May 15th, just about a month away.