Down East http://www.downeast.com The Magazine of Maine Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:55:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Uncle Henry’s Takes Over the World http://www.downeast.com/uncle-henrys-takes-world/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/uncle-henrys-takes-world/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:04:12 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15570 After 45 years, Maine’s defiantly down-home classifieds weekly isn’t just hanging on in a post-Craigslist world — it’s thriving.

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After 45 years, Maine’s defiantly down-home classifieds weekly isn’t just hanging on in a post-Craigslist world — it’s thriving. With a hit TV show in Down East Dickering, a bizarrely entertaining radio program, and satellite editions debuting nationwide, we are all dickerers now.
By Brian Kevin
Photographed by David Yellen
Every weekday morning, on the way to his job at Uncle Henry’s, Jimm Piper stops in at the Western Avenue post office in Augusta to retrieve several bins of rainbow-colored ad forms. Around the holidays, when the flow of ads to Uncle Henry’s is at its slowest, these bins might hold 1,000 pieces of mail. When the ad flow peaks — at back-to-school time, say, or in the spring, when folks are cleaning out garages — Piper expects he’ll pick up and sort some 4,000 forms a day.

He drives his bins over to Uncle Henry’s world headquarters, an uninspiring beige slab on Augusta’s sprawly eastern edge. Piper takes them into a back office with industrial carpeting, buzzing overhead fluorescents, and a pair of long folding tables with faux wood veneer, the kind you might see in a church basement during a bean supper. Taped onto the tables are 60 or so labels roughly corresponding to the categories into which all merchandise in Uncle Henry’s is sorted: Airplanes & Equipment, All-Terrain Vehicles, Animals, Antiques, and so on, all the way through Wanted, What’s Happening, and Yard Sales — though the labels on Piper’s tables aren’t arranged alphabetically. Some of them are peeling away and others have faded to the point of illegibility, but it doesn’t matter to Piper, who’s been sorting Uncle Henry’s ad forms for 18 years and doesn’t really need the labels anyway. The thing about Uncle Henry’s is that, after a while, you more or less learn the book by rote.

A weekly copy of Uncle Henry’s cost 15 cents when Rockland printer Henry Faller founded it in 1970. At first, Faller charged another buck to run an ad, but soon after, the book adopted the free ad form, and it’s been the cornerstone of the Uncle Henry’s business model since. Buy a weekly copy — it costs $2 today — and you can place an ad at no cost, using a tear-out form on the back page. Sell your tractor, trade some barn wood, ask around for a python, advertise a séance: the lack of restriction on how you use your space is part of the Uncle Henry’s ethos. In an intro to the first edition of what he called his “Swap & Sell Guide,” Faller put a democratic spin on the venture:

“Since it is for you, only you can make it a success,” he wrote. “The New England tradition of trading or swapping is an old and very interesting one, and I am sure many readers will not only acquire things they can use from this publication [and] get a few extra dollars, but have a lot of fun doing it.”It’s hard to say which idea seems more quaint today: That face-to-face bartering with one’s neighbors might be “a lot of fun,” or that this might be facilitated by an unsexy little newsprint booklet you have to pay money for. Because while 2015 may be the 45th anniversary of Uncle Henry’s, it also marks 20 years since the launch of both eBay and Craigslist, which kicked off a long, slow death march for print classifieds. Craigslist in particular — ubiquitous, user-friendly, and free for all but a handful of users — took $5 billion away from newspaper classified sections between 2000 and 2007, according to a recent Harvard/NYU study. Online classifieds have made an endangered species out of alternative weeklies (like the dearly departed Boston Phoenix), which once relied on classified revenues. And if you can manage to find a local pennysaver these days, chances are it’s not much thicker than a pamphlet.

Uncle Henry’s is trusted. It never changes, and embracing it means you’re forthright, you want to be part of the community, and you care about what’s important at the core, rather than superficial stuff.” — Talkin’ Deals host/producer Debi Davis

At Uncle Henry’s, meanwhile, the ad forms on Jimm Piper’s folding table keep piling up by the thousands each day — and each one represents a book sale. Every Thursday, some 8,000 stores and gas stations get the new edition of Uncle Henry’s, a number that’s more than doubled in the last 20 years. The company launched a Massachusetts edition in 2009, and this winter, its first few satellite editions will be published outside of New England, in places like New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky. Last summer, hordes of bargain-crazed Uncle Henry’s fans filled an arena in Lewiston for a colossal rummage sale/gathering of the tribe called Dickering Days, and the brand’s burgeoning media empire includes a companion website, a few smartphone apps, a year-old radio show, and Down East Dickering, a popular reality series that just wrapped its second season on cable’s History network.

So it’s hard not to wonder: what’s old Uncle Henry’s selling that everyone is buying?

DEE1502Uncle02[1]FOUND IT IN UNCLE HENRY’S
Category: Miscellaneous. Buyer: Brie Weisman, Rumford. The story: “So sheep and goats carry parasites in their poop. They can handle a certain load of them, but if you start to notice they’re sickly or not putting on weight, then you need to collect their fecal matter and use the microscope to identify the type of worms they have. But you don’t really want to go buy a nice new microscope for that, do you? So I got this microscope from a guy in Durham. I was like, ‘Well, I was hoping I could use this to look at my sheep parasites.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, that’s perfect — I was using it to look at my goat parasites.’” Uncle Henry’s strategies: “Thursday’s my day. I set aside time to look at my Uncle Henry’s. You want to do it on Thursday and before like 9 o’clock, because what if you see something? You’ve got to be the first to call. Then if you’re buying any kind of farm equipment, the best part is getting to visit the farmer and see their setup. It’s very educational.” Other memorable purchases: Got a great woodstove the very same weekend as the microscope. “It was this magical weekend of finding stuff. It was fabulous.”

The genius of the Uncle Henry’s free ad form is two-fold. For starters, you’re not paying by the word, so hey, you might as well use up your allotted space. This leads some users to sprinkle their ads with revealing, humorous, and/or seemingly superfluous details and asides. So we read that a 2002 Saab for sale in Sullivan was intended for an erstwhile daughter who has since “moved back to Florida,” that the guy selling his woodstove in Ellsworth is just trying to make room for his wife’s new tanning bed, and that the fellow offering a Remington bolt-action rifle in Anson feels badly about subjecting potential buyers to a background check, but hopes “you can understand that in this darn times [sic].”

Among the ads that Piper was sorting into piles on a recent winter morning was this one, from a man seeking a pet: Tortoise. Reasonable price. Been looking a while. If you have, will give him a very good home.

Been looking a while. For imaginative readers, it’s that kind of small, enigmatic embellishment that makes Uncle Henry’s so potentially entertaining. Just where has this man been looking for tortoises until now? How long has he been at it? Has he tried a pet store? For every 10 straightforward ads in Uncle Henry’s — item, description, and price — there’s one that hints at some droll or dreadful story, leaving the reader to dream up the details. (The classic example, “Wedding dress, never worn,” appears every few issues.)

What’s more, the free ad form means there’s no good reason not to try and shoot the moon, to seek out some seemingly impossible treasure or request an oddly specific trade item. Sure, it might be a long shot, but if you already bought the book, then what do you have to lose? So a regular Uncle Henry’s reader tends to encounter ads like this one:

Looking for a hot dog cart with all three bay sinks, hand sink, grill, refridge [sic], steam table. Will work for it, shoveling snow, odd jobs, etc.

Is there someone out there who both owns this rather precisely tailored hot dog cart and hates shoveling so much that they’re willing to trade it away? Hey, anything’s possible! And it’s this sense of omni-possibility that keeps the Uncle Henry’s faithful buying the book week after week. Because if you happen to be that one-in-a-million cryophobic wiener vendor, then stumbling upon this ad will likely be a thrill roughly on par with a Powerball jackpot.

“The rule of thumb at Uncle Henry’s is that we want people to have an experience,” explains general manager Kevin Webb. To that end, Webb says he takes a very cautious approach to occasional reader requests for more (and more specific) categories and subcategories. His staff — about 25 people in that east Augusta office, none of whom have titles — reads, approves, and manually enters each submitted ad (a point of distinction from Craigslist). But if a reader submits an ad in a counterintuitive category, they don’t necessarily correct it. Thus you can find an ad from a reader seeking a horse in the Animals section, but you might also find one in the Farm & Garden section, or the Wanted section, or maybe even the Miscellaneous section.

Nor does the Uncle Henry’s staff take great pains to correct spelling, grammar, or punctuation, and in rare cases, an ad that’s more or less unintelligible manages to slip through. Consider this one from the Collectibles section of a recent issue:

1” x 33.3” Printed on adhesive backed vinyl. Can be framed, pinned up or adhered to your choice. These are printed from a full size scan of my original purchase in 1970. One is the digital file and the other a pic I took of the printed one and the framed is original. They actually look better than original. I’ve added approximately 1.5” border. $75 Each.

Could be a steal! But since it doesn’t mention what’s being sold, you just won’t know until you call. “It’s not our place to try and pinpoint you down,” says Webb.

“It’s our place to give you enough of a guideline of where to look, then let you flip through and take your time and experience it the way you want to. Part of what we’ve done over the years is to try and foster that spirit of exploration — where you never know what you’re going to find — that makes Uncle Henry’s fun for a lot of people.”

And it’s this sense of omni-possibility that keeps the Uncle Henry’s faithful buying the book week after week.

There’s that word again: fun. Part of the secret of Uncle Henry’s success may be that its publishers have always focused on making the book a fun ritual as much as a practical resource. Henry Faller sold the company in 1983 to the family that owns it today (a family, says Webb, that is quite private and prefers not to have its name mentioned in print — though if you’re curious, you can google it in a matter of minutes and might even find the owners’ names mentioned in a pair of Down East articles about Uncle Henry’s from the early 2000s and early ’90s, when the family was apparently less shy). Webb took over the day-to-day management of Uncle Henry’s in 2008. He’s a broad guy with a Tom Selleck mustache, a former wholesale exec and consultant who knew little about publishing before coming into his job at Uncle Henry’s. His biggest challenge, he says, has been maintaining that sense of fun, organized chaos while also growing the company and trying to stay relevant in a digital age.

Consider the Uncle Henry’s website: To compete with online marketplaces like Craigslist, unclehenrys.com must be at least user-friendly enough that folks seeking out a specific item are likely to find it. But a website too neatly organized would trample that “spirit of exploration” and random discovery. The solution: A mess of customizable alerts and search criteria, yes, but also an auto-updating crawl splashed across the homepage, where ads flow past willy-nilly as they’re fed into the Uncle Henry’s system in real time, either by staff in Augusta or by site visitors placing them online (online ads still get a once-over from a human, if not right away, and while ads can run online for free, it still costs $2 to get in the book). There’s an Android app with thousands of downloads that does only this, and although Apple “didn’t think it was entertaining enough,” Webb knows of devout bargain hunters who leave the ad stream open on their monitors all day long, idly watching the deals go by, like clouds drifting past the window.

“It’s basically the equivalent of having the book in your bathroom,” observes one Uncle Henry’s IT staffer.

The increasing popularity of the website in recent years was the first step in Uncle Henry’s slow transition to a national brand — but don’t suppose for a minute that the print edition is going away.

“I don’t think we’d be who we are if we made that kind of drastic change,” says Webb, “and I don’t know that we need to. If we’re providing a service people value in the print form, then we’ll continue to be viable in the print form.”

Webb knows of devout bargain hunters who leave the ad stream open on their monitors all day long, idly watching the deals go by, like clouds drifting past the window.

Not only do people value the printed Uncle Henry’s, some of them build whole traditions around it. Consider the t-shirts for sale on the website (actually, first consider that a classifieds booklet even has t-shirts), which simply read, “Thursday Is Uncle Henry’s Day,” acknowledging many Mainers’ iron-clad weekly routine of picking up the new edition. A Down East reader once wrote this magazine to describe a holiday ritual in which his family members take turns reading aloud from Uncle Henry’s — each one picks the most bizarre or oblique ad they can find, then the rest of the family guesses the sale price, and the winner is whoever comes closest.

“We hear all the time about people who’ve been reading us since issue number one,” Webb says. “We hear the stories about the husband who just got buried, where there were two things with him in the coffin, and one was an Uncle Henry’s. Really. They send us pictures.”

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Category: Automobiles Buyers: Rhonda and Vern Hoyt (with Emit), Buckfield The story: “My husband is a Dodge freak and always loved a Little Red Express. I’m a pick-up girl. Well, he saw a 1979 Little Red Express in Uncle Henry’s, and I could just see it on his face. Normally, I’m like, ‘Yeah, whatever,’ but this time, I liked it too, so I said, ‘Call the guy.’ We got up at 2:30 on a Saturday morning, drove five hours across the state to Charlotte to go look at it — cash in hand — then ended up pulling it home on a trailer. My husband says it’s mine, but he drives it too, so it’s really ours. Our son just finished driver’s ed. He says he can’t wait to drive it, but if he gets to back it into the garage, he’s pretty happy. It’s just one of those rare trucks you see around — and it’s got stacks, so that makes it cool.” The holy book: “It’s probably sacrilegious to say it, but we call Uncle Henry’s Vern’s bible. He reads it once a week — scans it beginning to end.”

The precondition for Uncle Henry’s success is the bedrock conviction of everyone involved — publishers, readers, buyers, sellers — that commerce can itself be entertainment, that it is not only fun to buy and sell things, as Henry Faller suggested, but that it is even fun just to be an accessory to the buying and selling of things, skimming the book’s cheekier ads or faithfully monitoring the online ad stream without intending to make a purchase. The most brazen manifestation of this idea is something called Uncle Henry’s Talkin’ Deals, which airs at 7 a.m. on Sundays on WLOB 1310 AM and its affiliate stations across Maine. The format of the radio show is this: two or three mildly jocular hosts are hanging out, taking turns reading Uncle Henry’s ads aloud and offering a running commentary — sometimes quippy, sometimes earnest — about the items being sold or solicited. Occasionally, they field a call from a seller or call one up to ask a few questions about an ad they’ve read (the sellers whose ads make it on air have paid an extra two bucks for the privilege of being considered).

If this doesn’t immediately strike you as a recipe for compelling radio, you might be forgiven. Snippets of Talkin’ Deals dialogue don’t really lend themselves to transcription either. Consider this typical exchange from a recent wintry Sunday morning:

Host 1: We’ve got Tom joining us. Good morning, Tom.
Host 2: What do we got today?
Tom: Got a bunch of auto parts, if somebody’s looking for them on the show.
Host 1: Turtle’s looking for some snow tires [Turtle is a frequent guest host, one of the stars of Down East Dickering]. You got some snow tires for Turtle?
Tom: What size?
Turtle: 215/70r15.
Tom: Let me make a phone call tomorrow. I got a buddy of mine does a lot of used tires.
Turtle: Okay, I’d appreciate that.
Tom: Hold on, let me write this down. [Speaking slowly] 215 . . . 70 . . . 15.
Turtle: Yes sir.
Tom: All right, hold on here. [pause] How many you need? Two? Four?
Turtle: Four. Studded, if possible. I gotta get over the Notch at 4 o’clock in the morning to get here for Sunday mornings.
Tom: Oh my goodness gracious. Yeah, let me make a phone call . . .
Turtle: Okay, Tom. I’ll do that.
Tom: Also, I’m looking for pictures of any old or interesting vehicles, if anybody’s got anything like that laying around. Pictures they may have taken at car shows or whatever.

. . . and so on. Five minutes of this at 7 a.m. on a Sunday and you may well fall back asleep. But trust me when I say that if you hang in there a bit longer, Talkin’ Deals somehow morphs after 10 or 15 minutes into Maine’s most inexplicably charming hour of radio. It’s the broadcast equivalent of some weird, beloved comfort food, like peanut butter and jalapenos. Host Tom Sarna and Debi Davis (the show’s producer) have an easy rapport. They’re not as funny as they think they are, and their delivery has kind of an endearing “aw shucks” quality when reading an ad that strikes them as a good bargain. The show feels homespun — when a caller dials in, we hear the phone ringing in the background as Sarna or Davis step away to answer — with trace elements of the same familiar, harmless, slightly chucklehead vibe that prompts people to leave on shows like Car Talk or A Prairie Home Companion, even when they’re only half listening.

And yes, theoretically you can buy a Prius or a parka or a puppy, although Davis (who first pitched the show to Webb and the Uncle Henry’s team) suspects that at least half of all Talkin’ Deals listeners are just tuning in for the banter rather than the deals.

“There are so many people out there,” she says, “who will pick up that book and love reading it, but have never made a call, never even tried to buy anything.”

Davis herself is a lifelong Mainer and Uncle Henry’s reader who only made her first purchase this winter: a woodstove and 25 feet of stovepipe. She read the ads on the air one Sunday, then drove the next morning up to St. Albans for the stove and back down to Newfield for the pipe. To hear Davis tell it, if Uncle Henry’s clicks equally well with both the die-hard bargain hunters and the breezy radio surfers, it’s because the brand is a natural extension of cherished Maine values.

“Uncle Henry’s is trusted,” she says. “It never changes, and embracing it means you’re forthright, you want to be part of the community, and you care about what’s important at the core, rather than superficial stuff.”

DEE1502Uncle03[1]FOUND IT IN UNCLE HENRY’S
Category: Building Materials
Buyers: Dorothy and Frank Hamory, Orland The story: “My husband and I had bought a lakefront lot with plans to build, and I always wanted post-and-beam construction, but a timber frame is so expensive that I didn’t think we could do it. This 16-by-24-foot frame was built in a workshop at the Fox Maple School in Brownfield by a group of Oglala Sioux visiting from South Dakota. It wasn’t practical for them to ship it back to the reservation, so now the post-and-beam is our kitchen, pantry, and dining area. We built much of the interior by reusing items we found in Uncle Henry’s: mortise-and-tenon doors, a used commercial stove, cherry wood for the kitchen cabinets, antique hardware and lighting fixtures, rough milled pine for the trim and interior walls, even old bricks for the walkways.” Perk of shopping Uncle Henry’s: “I tell you, the people that you meet from Uncle Henry’s, that’s a wonderful experience itself. It’s not the product, it’s the people. They’re interesting people, they’re honest people. I don’t think in all our dealings over the years we’ve ever come out with less than we bargained for.”

But those same Maine values that play to the home crowd as familiar and nostalgic? They’re what help sell Maine and Uncle Henry’s as exotically rustic and offbeat to a national audience on Down East Dickering. This according to Bryan Severance, who, as the director of development for New York–based Crybaby Media, worked with Webb to concept and cast the reality show, which follows Mainers who make their livings buying and selling from Uncle Henry’s.

“We’re looking for kind of salt-of-the-earth people, the kind of people that are huge characters and that seem like they’re disappearing,” says Severance, now a vice president at another media company. “They’re not your everyday guys, not the run of the mill that you see.”

Not that you see in Manhattan, anyway. But if anyone should know his way around exaggerated, folksy New England stereotypes, it’s Severance. His grandfather, Bob Bryan, was one of two storytellers behind Bert and I, Maine’s now-fabled series of folk humor recordings. He spent childhood summers visiting his grandparents’ camp near Ellsworth, and he developed an obsession with Uncle Henry’s from the time he was old enough to read.

“Right when I got to Maine, I would get one and highlight the whole thing,” Severance remembers, “then never be brave enough to actually call anyone. Still, it was so exciting to rip through those pages and look for . . . who knows?”

A reality show centered around Uncle Henry’s buffs seems to occupy the perfect Venn intersection of two already proven reality-TV concepts: shows about haggling for used merchandise, like American Pickers or Pawn Stars; and shows about quirky rural dwellers, like Duck Dynasty and Swamp People (the latter of which is a product of Severance’s current company). In 2012, Severance reached out to Webb, and the two began an on-again, off-again correspondence about what such a show might look like. Eventually, Webb ran a casting call in Uncle Henry’s. Severance and a film crew came up to film a demo reel, and the History network expressed interest. Down East Dickering premiered last April and just completed its second season.

Part of the secret of Uncle Henry’s success may be that its publishers have always focused on making the book a fun ritual as much as a practical resource.

The show has given Uncle Henry’s a substantial amount of national exposure. Episodes start with a few loose “teams” of Uncle Henry’s fanatics (white, male, minimally groomed, and thickly accented) showing up at their favorite retailer to buy the book on Thursdays. They page through, make some calls, then head out onto the Maine backroads to commence dickering — or haggling — hoping to end the week a bit richer after a few shrewd swaps and sales. It’s not a competition, although viewers do see a running tally of how much dough the dickerers have shelled out and brought in. The book itself gets plenty of screen time, and whenever the show airs, Webb says the Uncle Henry’s website gets so much traffic that he worried early on it might crash (it has not).

And, wouldn’t you know it, Severance has actually pursued a Craiglist-focused show as well, back before Down East Dickering took to the airwaves. That concept involved tough-talking New Jersey guys who bought items on Craigslist, then fixed them up and resold them on the website at a profit. The A&E network bought a pilot, but nothing ever came of it. So what’s the mojo that worked in Uncle Henry’s favor?

“Craigslist is online,” says Severance, “which is where everyone seems to be. But in Maine, there’s this little treasure that’s still blasting it out, paper-style. I think the fact that people were still doing that kind of blew some minds.”

DEE1502Uncle04[1]FOUND IT IN UNCLE HENRY’S
Category: Animals Buyer: “Chicken Joe” Taylor, Wells The story: “Denali is my Easter-bunny white Arabian mare that nobody wanted, but she’s beautiful. This little old lady had her, and she was way too much horse for the little old lady. I remember the day four years ago my friends picked her up for me in Winterport. I said, ‘If you get there and she’s skanky, just drive away.’ She does have attitude, but I guess so do I. Apparently no one wanted her because she likes to be alone. She’s very bossy and pushy around other horses. She probably would have gone to the dog food factory, she’s got such a bad attitude. But she’s beautiful, and I love her.” Other memorable purchases: Two baby South African blue-necked ostriches from “somewhere way up in East Cupcake” that (to Joe’s surprise) grew up to be 10 feet tall and 400 pounds (they are now in a Massachusetts zoo). Also a green Solomon Islands eclecus parrot named Charlie who, when he gets excited, yells a phrase that this magazine cannot print.

So does the Down East Dickering audience tune in for the same reasons that so many read the book or wake up early on Sundays for Talkin’ Deals? For the sense of playful adventure, the thrill of the bargain hunt, membership in a community that values tradition and straight talk? Or might the funny accents, weird nicknames, and backwoods hijinks have something to do with it?

Down East Dickering’s recurring characters go by monikers like Yummy, Codfish, and Turtle. There are occasional slaptick-y moments of comic relief (cars catching fire, guys falling into ponds), plus a smattering of jabs at flatlanders and other city folk. None of this is a big deal in small doses, but if you lay it on too thick, you start drifting into a seedier reality-TV sub-genre sometimes known as hicksploitation. In a blog post last year about the Duck Dynasty phenomenon, Outside magazine senior editor Grayson Schaffer offered a concise definition: “The genre laughs at (and sometimes with) the last group of people it’s still ostensibly OK to stereotype — white backwoodsy men.”

“We didn’t want this to be something where people were made to look like idiots,” says Webb. “We wanted people to laugh and have fun. We wanted to show these guys failing, but more often you’re laughing with them. And the fact is, these guys aren’t dumb.”

“I would hope the audience isn’t laughing at these guys,” agrees Severance. “That’s not the feel I get, and that would bum me out. To me, it’s just exciting to watch what they’re going to say next. Especially a guy like Tony, with that beautiful Maine accent. He’s just fun to listen to.”

Tony is 49-year-old Tony Bennett of Bethel, the show’s narrator and arguably its main dickerer. It must be said: Bennett’s accent should be recorded and preserved at the Library of Congress. It should be bottled and sold in stores. As the main face and voice of the show, Bennett is a casting agent’s dream come true. He’s a big, ebullient guy with the locks of a metalhead and an unkempt beard that spills down his chest — both with just enough gray to be taken seriously. On the show, he’s accompanied by his dickering partner, Codfish (a Silent Bob type), and his Jack Russell terrier, Duke. He’s a shrewd bargainer with the folks he meets via Uncle Henry’s, but he’s also warm and friendly; he has a disarming habit of calling people “old boy.” Bennett has made part of his living by haggling and reselling ever since the 1970s, and he keeps stacks of Uncle Henry’s back issues stored in crates (for the contact info). Webb knew him long before the show’s casting call, because Bennett used to promote a snowmobile expo each winter, and he’d call Uncle Henry’s to try and barter for commercial ad space.

“I think they’ve done a pretty good job as far as portraying us all and keeping us pretty much how we really are,” says Bennett (calling on a cell phone following a run up to Camden to do some dickering). “When I first signed the contract, I was worried about that. They said, ‘Listen, we’re not going to make you look like a bumbling idiot unless you are one.’ That made me feel a little better because I am kind of a bumbling idiot, so I don’t mind that. I just don’t want to be shown as something I’m not.”

Down East Dickering does indeed have a feel of authenticity, and Bennett’s (and others dickerers’) charisma and clear enthusiasm help the show avoid the hicksploitation trap. Sure, the producers get some mileage out of the accent and various hillbilly hijinks (mud running, driving skidders over cars), but then, so did Bert and I. In fact, there’s an undeniable cultural thread linking Maine’s classic comedy routine and a reality show like Down East Dickering: Both are in it for laughs, both are vaguely anthropological, and both exude an undeniable cornball comfort.

That same thread runs right through Uncle Henry’s, says Bennett — and this is the secret to the brand’s success.

“A lot of folks have read it their whole life,” says the dickerer. “It’s just so familiar to them, like a shot of whiskey after supper. Our show’s got a ton of fans who were from Maine and moved away, and they all say that it brings them home.”

It’s anybody’s guess whether that warm familiarity will carry over as Uncle Henry’s editions start popping up nationwide this year, but Bennett suspects the appeal is universal.

“The Internet is so boring, so impersonal,” he says. “You don’t see nobody, it’s not fun, you’re not going nowhere. I just don’t understand it. The chase is it for me, along with that new guy I met today.

“With Uncle Henry’s, the dream is on. It’s like when you were a kid and you used to read the Montgomery Ward’s magazine with Nana, you know? How you circled one thing on every page because it was just a wish book? Well, hey, Uncle Henry’s is just a big wish book.”

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Morning on the Mattawamkeag River http://www.downeast.com/morning-mattawamkeag-river/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/morning-mattawamkeag-river/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:32:08 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15791 The bold, beautiful and forever free Mattawamkeag River.

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The bold, beautiful and forever free Mattawamkeag River.

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Acadia National Park http://www.downeast.com/acadia-national-park/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/acadia-national-park/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:49:25 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15702 Otter Cove

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Otter Cove

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Rutherford Island http://www.downeast.com/rutherford-island/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/rutherford-island/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:39:59 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15776 Taken July 2014

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Taken July 2014

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New Harbor http://www.downeast.com/new-harbor-2/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/new-harbor-2/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 02:35:40 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15700 Low tide, At Rachael Carson Perserve

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Low tide, At Rachael Carson Perserve

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Fire in the Sky http://www.downeast.com/fire-sky/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/fire-sky/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 01:17:37 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15768 Small’s Cove, Penobscot Bay, Sunset, Maine (Deer Isle)

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Small’s Cove, Penobscot Bay, Sunset, Maine (Deer Isle)

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Snowy Bridge to Beach http://www.downeast.com/snowy-bridge-beach/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/snowy-bridge-beach/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:16:15 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15724 snowy Bridge to beach in ogunquit

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snowy Bridge to beach in ogunquit

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Lobster Boat in Winter http://www.downeast.com/lobster-boat-winter/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/lobster-boat-winter/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:06:05 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15759 Lobster boat in Cape Porpoise Harbor. Goat Island light in the background.

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Lobster boat in Cape Porpoise Harbor. Goat Island light in the background.

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Kennebunkport http://www.downeast.com/kennebunkport-2/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/kennebunkport-2/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:43:35 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15757 Kennebunk River at sunrise. Taken from the Lanigan Bridge next to the Clamshack.

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Kennebunk River at sunrise. Taken from the Lanigan Bridge next to the Clamshack.

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Evening Peace http://www.downeast.com/evening-peace/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/evening-peace/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:17:37 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15705 Taken at sunset from ‘Le Garrage’ in Wiscasset.

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Taken at sunset from ‘Le Garrage’ in Wiscasset.

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Sunset over North Pond http://www.downeast.com/sunset-north-pond/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/sunset-north-pond/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:15:02 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15751 I took this photo of the last sunset of 2014 from the east shore of North Pond in Woodstock. It was just ten days...

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I took this photo of the last sunset of 2014 from the east shore of North Pond in Woodstock. It was just ten days past the winter solstice, and the sun was setting just about as far to the north as it ever does, almost behind Mt. Abram Ski Area (in Greenwood).

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Glassplay http://www.downeast.com/glassplay/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/glassplay/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:12:02 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15633 North Haven, Maine.

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North Haven, Maine.

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Wiggley Bridge in York Maine http://www.downeast.com/wiggley-bridge-york-maine/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/wiggley-bridge-york-maine/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:35:49 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15720 wiggley bridge in York Maine

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wiggley bridge in York Maine

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Cape Porpoise Harbor http://www.downeast.com/cape-porpoise-harbor/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/cape-porpoise-harbor/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:32:10 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15709 My mom was visiting from California and I snapped this after we had lunch. Cape Porpoise is one of my favorite harbors to photograph...

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My mom was visiting from California and I snapped this after we had lunch. Cape Porpoise is one of my favorite harbors to photograph and this time the conditions were working in my favor with the undulating ripples in the water.

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Modern History http://www.downeast.com/modern-history/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/modern-history/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:04:02 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15725 An 18th-Century home in Wiscasset is filled with contemporary design elements and textural art. By Melanie Brooks Photographed by Erin Little John and Lari...

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An 18th-Century home in Wiscasset is filled with contemporary design elements and textural art.
By Melanie Brooks
Photographed by Erin Little

John and Lari Washburn live in the oldest two-story dwelling in Wiscasset. Built in 1763 on the site now occupied by the landmark Nickels-Sortwell house, it was moved down the street to its current location in 1805. “People say it took 90 yoke of oxen and a barrel of rum,” Lari says.

The couple moved to Maine from Chicago 12 years ago. “We weren’t looking for an old home, but when we saw this house, there was an instant, emotional feeling of rightness,” says Lari, a painter and textile designer. “My husband thinks this house chose us.”

What appealed to the couple then remains one of Lari’s favorite aspects of the house: the light that pours through the windows, especially in the front rooms. The scarcity of drapes throughout is intentional. Lari’s studio is a remarkable place for her to paint, illuminated by natural light from windows on three walls.

Adjacent to the studio is the couple’s home office, which is filled with books on cooking, home design, and other creative ventures. A vibrant Moroccan rug brightens the hardwood floor. The living room walls and furniture are neutral tones, as Lari is drawn to colorful, textural accents, like pillows and throws. “We love punches of color — especially warm reds and pinks,” she says.

The Washburns’ collection of mid-century modern lamps and furniture allows them to marry their home’s antique details with their affinity for modern design. The juxtaposition is apparent as you ascend the main staircase: the 250-year-old steps have been worn to a gentle curve by countless footsteps, while the walls are adorned with abstract artworks.

“If I had filled this house with antique furniture, it would have been a caricature, a cliché,” Lari says. “John and I wanted something clean and modern — something people wouldn’t necessarily expect.”

The Washburns have done significant remodeling, including rebuilding both chimneys, always with an eye toward preserving the house’s historic character. Original paneling covers one wall of each of the bedrooms, and many of the iron door latches and hinges are centuries old. They have tapped old-house carpentry experts Pownalborough Restorations, of Alna, for many of their projects, including improving the energy efficiency of the interior doors and a floor-to-ceiling kitchen renovation.

“We’ll continue to work on it,” Lari says. “I don’t think it will ever be over.”

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February 2015 http://www.downeast.com/february-2015/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/february-2015/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=14850 The post February 2015 appeared first on Down East.

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Click here to purchase this issue. 

Features

Acadia in Winter

The skiing is fine, the snowshoeing superb, and the scenery outstanding. Best of all, you almost have it all to yourself. By Andrew Vietze.

Uncle Henry’s Takes Over the World

Maine’s down-home classifieds weekly is thriving in a post-Craigslist world. By Brian Kevin.

Ain’t No Mountain Nearby Enough

Maine’s mom-and-pop community hills have a charm that the big resorts can’t match. By Brock Clarke.

Retire in Maine

Here are 12 reasons why you should retire in the Pine Tree State — and four people who are redefining what that means.

 

Departments

Where in Maine?

Can you identify this cozy church?

Editor’s Note

Selling My Childhood Home

Letters to the Editor

What You Said

Your Maine

Where is your favorite place to ski in Maine?

 

North by East

Opinions, Advisories, and Musings from the Length and Breadth of Maine

Down East Dispatches

News You May Have Missed

Vroom (Ouch!) Vroom

Turner’s Outlandish Snowmobile Race

What’s in a Picture

1919 Domestic Science

Other Views

Commentary from around Maine

Talk of Maine

How to Vote? Let Us Count the Ways.

 

Dooryard

Living the Maine Life

Home

Modern History

Making It in Maine

Fiore Olive Oils

Room With a View

Powerless

 

Guide

What to Do in Maine This Month

Dining

Coplin Dinner House, Coplin Plantation

Art

The Coast & The Sea

Music

Lisa/Liza

Calendar

Go here. Do this. See that.

Maine Summer Camps

A listing of all organized children’s camps in the state of Maine that are members of Maine Summer Camps, the public face of the nonprofit Maine Youth Camping Foundation (MYCF).

From Our Archives

February 2005. A look back at Down East ten years ago.

 

Cover: Ice Climbing at Acadia by Patryce Bąk.

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Vroom (Ouch!) Vroom http://www.downeast.com/vroom-ouch-vroom/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/vroom-ouch-vroom/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:09:56 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15599 All you need for this race is a vintage sled, a helmet, and a lot of ibuprofen. By Virginia M. Wright Photo by Mark...

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All you need for this race is a vintage sled, a helmet, and a lot of ibuprofen.
By Virginia M. Wright
Photo by Mark Fleming

The first question on the minds of most sledders entering the 15th annual One Lunger 100 Vintage Snowmobile Race on February 21 in Turner is not “Can I win?” It’s simply, “Will it start?”

“A few weeks before, you’re frantically looking for parts,” explains Patrick Jalbert, who has ridden his 1972 Yamaha SR292 in all but the first One Lunger, the East’s original (and, many insist, best) vintage sled race, attracting roughly 3,000 spectators. “You beg, borrow, or steal whatever you can just to get them going.”

A fundraiser for the Turner Ridge Riders, who groom 80 miles of central Maine trails, the race is open to sleds built before 1974, when most snowmobiles were “one lungers” — driven by single-cylinder engines that sound like lawn mowers on steroids. Like the boxy little sleds, the contest’s name is charmingly out of time: “The original race was supposed to be 100 halfmile laps,” says founder Chip Gilbert, “but the track got so chewed up, we changed it to 50.”

Even so, only about half of the 50 racers who enter this outlandish contest manage to finish. Parts fall off. Skis break. Engines quit — or catch fire. As casualties pile up, the lucky ones keep moving, though few will achieve, never mind maintain, the highest possible speed of around 45 mph. At times, racers lean so hard into turns that only their hands and feet touch their sleds. Other times, they lean so hard that their sleds spin 180 degrees on a track that gets icier and more moguled with each successive lap.

They’d best enjoy the motion, because for the next few days, they’ll barely be able to walk. “If you want to get ready for this, have your brother beat you up behind the woodshed,” says current organizer and 2009 winner Brian Craig, “because that’s how you’re going to feel after.”

With their leaf-spring and bogie-wheel suspensions, steel skis, and welded and fixed handlebars, classic sleds are far from a smooth ride. They lurch in and out of each bump and dip. And the deeper the snow, the rougher the Turner track is likely to be, despite days of advance grooming. “With the amount of snow we had last year, some of the dips were 4 feet deep,” says Kaela Jalbert, who, like her dad, races a white SR292 — trimmed in pink by Patrick so other riders will be mindful of the race’s only woman entrant to date (there’s also a 10-lap women’s race). “I was pretty sore. I’m 25, and my dad’s 56, but he recovers better.”

If the snowmobiles are that uncomfortable, what could possibly be the appeal? “These are the sleds a lot of us grew up on. People love them,” Patrick Jalbert says. “And the race is slow enough that almost anyone can do it. You can have fun without worrying about getting hurt.”

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Coplin Dinner House http://www.downeast.com/coplin-dinner-house/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/coplin-dinner-house/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:10:28 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15588 Fine dining in an old farmhouse in the shadow of Sugarloaf.

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By Nancy Heiser
Photography by Mark Fleming

It all started with a dog and a snowstorm. Tony Rossi and Heidi Donovan routinely walked their pup past an abandoned farmhouse for sale in Coplin Plantation (population 166), located on the outskirts of Stratton Village in the western mountains of Maine. One day they saw that drifting snow had pushed open a side door. They ventured inside to take a look. Crossing that threshold started a metaphoric snowball rolling.

Long story condensed: After a bank foreclosure and a stint on the auction block, and after Rossi and Donovan had secured a bank loan and obtained zoning changes, that 1896 building and an acre of land around it was theirs for $35,000. Three months later, just as the 2013 Christmas vacation week was getting under way at nearby Sugarloaf ski resort, the Coplin Dinner House opened its doors.

“We got slammed,” recalls Rossi, the chef, with a laugh. “We were busy-busy-busy from the first.” Sugarloafers and locals alike, it seems, had been pining for quality fine dining, and they were willing to brave a few isolated roads to get it.

Rossi and Donovan, life partners and native Mainers — he from Gardiner, she from Gorham — met working at the ski resort. Tony was chef at Shipyard Brew Haus, Heidi its bar manager. They were used to moving people quickly, serving 300 to 500 lunches and dinners a day and dishing out chicken fingers alongside filet mignon. “When you do too much,  you lose focus,” says Rossi, who’s worked in the industry since his teens, including a valuable stint with Larry Matthews at the esteemed Back Bay Grill in Portland. “We’d talked about our own restaurant for a long time, but there weren’t a lot of affordable options.”

Indeed, the community has embraced the restaurant with a barn-raising spirit ever since Donovan and Rossi bought the farmhouse and set about renovating it.

Rossi credits Shipyard for giving him the latitude to develop a special series of ingredients found within 100 miles of the resort. The experience expanded his skills and gained him a following. “It was a good challenge,” he says. “We got to know a lot of farmers in the area.”

At Coplin Dinner House, Rossi strives to offer what he calls “real food, whole food.” The extensive menu changes daily and includes classics (rack of lamb with rosemary whipped potatoes, for instance), novel dishes (smoked salmon pastrami appetizer), and Asian-inspired meals (duck breast lo mein with wasabi aoili). Rossi creates all manner of dishes with meat from pigs raised on the restaurant’s table scraps at the dishwasher’s farm. A fall menu featured adecadent pork belly appetizer with pickled vegetables and sautéed swiss chard, a pulled pork sandwich, pâté with figs and whole-grain mustard, and a meatloaf with beef, pork, and Parmesan that is so meltingly wonderful, you’ll want it to replace your mother’s recipe.

CIA-trained pastry chef Ashley Wienck turns out beautiful desserts, including a tall and filled-to-bursting apple pie that is served hot with homemade cinnamon ice cream and a swoon-worthy dark-chocolate torte with raspberry filling.

The atmosphere is comfortable, uncluttered, and elegant. The front porch has been enclosed to create a long, narrow dining room with plenty of windows. Elsewhere, interior walls have been taken down to make dining nooks and a bar area where Donovan crafts cocktails with simple syrups made from locally harvested rhubarb, raspberries, thyme, and elderflower. Rossi’s kitchen is located in what was once the attached garage.

The couple has a small garden plot and laying chickens on the premises, and they hope to grow more of their own food in the future. Right now, though, they are amply provisioned: The chef’s primary farmer is the spotlight-shy dishwasher (she declined to allow her full name  print) who raises those pigs. Three other staffers sell vegetables to the restaurant. And, Rossi says, neighbors “regularly show up at the back door with things — rhubarb and garlic scapes, and, before the first frost, green tomatoes.”

Indeed, the community has embraced the restaurant with a barn-raising spirit ever since Donovan and Rossi bought the farmhouse and set about renovating it. Fifteen people showed up when the pair put out a call to paint the exterior siding. Jeff and Beth Hinman, owners of the popular and long-closed Porter House in Eustis, advised the new restaurateurs on the quirks of a backcountry business. “The support has been overwhelming,” Donovan sayThe couple works just as hard as they did at Sugarloaf, but the new pace and style agree with them. If there is a moral to their story, it might be this: Be open to real estate with potential. To the help of others. To piglets. And never underestimate the value of walking the dog in the snow.

Coplin Dinner House
8252 Carrabassett Rd., Coplin Plantation (Stratton)
207-246-0016

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Sunrise http://www.downeast.com/sunrise-4/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/sunrise-4/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:22:47 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15493 sunrise

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sunrise

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Snowing at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse http://www.downeast.com/snowing-west-quoddy-head-lighthouse/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/snowing-west-quoddy-head-lighthouse/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:21:07 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15507 Snowscape view of West Quoddy Head Lighthouse during a falling snow at Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine

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Snowscape view of West Quoddy Head Lighthouse during a falling snow at Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine

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Sea Smoke Around Goose Rocks Lighthouse http://www.downeast.com/sea-smoke-around-goose-rocks-lighthouse/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/sea-smoke-around-goose-rocks-lighthouse/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:15:36 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15555 A cold winter morning on North Haven island.

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A cold winter morning on North Haven island.

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A Coating of Ice on Rte 126 http://www.downeast.com/coating-ice-rte-126/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/coating-ice-rte-126/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:13:42 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15480 Taken December 2013, after the ice storm, on Rte. 126 while heading to Ridge Rd. in Wales. I almost missed this shot but luckily...

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Taken December 2013, after the ice storm, on Rte. 126 while heading to Ridge Rd. in Wales. I almost missed this shot but luckily I happened to glance in my rear view mirror.

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Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow http://www.downeast.com/let-snow-let-snow-let-snow/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/let-snow-let-snow-let-snow/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:11:16 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15509 Scenic view of West Quoddy Head Lighthouse during a falling snow at Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine

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Scenic view of West Quoddy Head Lighthouse during a falling snow at Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine

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Ice “Growth” http://www.downeast.com/ice-growth/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/ice-growth/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:09:08 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15482 Taken December 2013, after the ice storm, on the “Ridge” in Wales. It’s amazing what ice can do, and create.

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Taken December 2013, after the ice storm, on the “Ridge” in Wales. It’s amazing what ice can do, and create.

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Heavy Ice in Sabattus http://www.downeast.com/heavy-ice-sabattus/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/heavy-ice-sabattus/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:05:12 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15478 Taken during the ice storm of December 2013 while driving on Rte.9 This is usually a great spot for sunrises.

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Taken during the ice storm of December 2013 while driving on Rte.9 This is usually a great spot for sunrises.

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Last Child in the (Maine) Woods http://www.downeast.com/last-child-maine-woods/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/last-child-maine-woods/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 19:36:18 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15485 Andy Shepard of the newly rebooted Maine Winter Sports Center talks about keeping Maine’s outdoor heritage alive — one youth at a time.

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Andy Shepard of the newly rebooted Maine Winter Sports Center talks about keeping Maine’s outdoor heritage alive — one youth at a time.

Last winter, just days before Maine Winter Sports Center biathlon team member Russell Currier was to compete as Maine’s only winter Olympian, the group that had mentored him in the sport abruptly lost two-thirds of its funding. The Libra Foundation, which had funded MWSC since its inception, announced it was ending its support. MWSC president Andy Shepard and staff had eight weeks to raise $550,000 or watch the lights go out on their 15-year-old organization. In what Shepard calls “an all-hands-on- deck effort,” they raised almost $900,000. This winter starts a new chapter for MWSC, which has reorganized and launched a campaign to promote its efforts beyond cultivating world-class skiers and biathletes and hosting competitions. The group has offices in Yarmouth and Caribou, but hopes to place new emphasis on the 140 or so communities where MWSC administers year-round outdoor ed and leadership initiatives, plus trail-building and gear-lease programs, all aimed at fighting what the author Richard Louv has dubbed “nature- deficit disorder.” We talked with Shepard about why MWSC isn’t just about skiing anymore (and never really was).

So why the need for a MWSC relaunch?

What most people understand about MWSC is that we hold these World Cup events in Aroostook County that 140 million people watch live on TV. That tends to get people’s attention. We have athletes making the Olympics — 15 Olympians have come out of the Maine Winter Sports Center in our 15 years. But what’s just as important to us are our community development programs.

And why trumpet these programs now?

In a lot of rural communities, there just aren’t a lot of resources dedicated to getting kids outside, doing active things. So what we’re doing is providing resources for these communities to do so in a sustainable and impactful way. We have volunteers there, and we provide curriculum. We have 3,000 sets of cross-country skis and hundreds of mountain bikes, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle- boards — all available for lease.

Let’s say my kid lives a pretty full life — school, friends, A/V club and soccer practice after school. Why does it matter if he or she isn’t getting out in the woods?

We believe that in order to be successful in life, the key attribute is not your wealth, family background, whether you’re good looking, where you grew up — it’s the ability to face challenges and work through to a successful conclusion, knowing that here and there you’re going to fail. All of our programs focus on presenting kids with challenge. The lifestyle you described, that child could be growing up in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, or Sheboygan, Wisconsin. But Maine has a somewhat unique heritage and culture. It’s a culture of being self-sufficient in the outdoors. Over the last couple of generations, Maine kids have lost that heritage. You go into a lot of communities where you would think you’d find people who are comfortable in a canoe or kayak, or hiking or camping for a couple days, or skiing. But kids today don’t have these skills, in part because they’re doing Little League baseball or basketball, or they’re on their computers or iPads all the time.

You describe these efforts as community development. But what does my kid’s outdoor savvy have to do with the larger community?

Maine is the most heavily forested state in the country and has all these remarkable outdoor resources. But when kids aren’t getting outdoors, those resources are going underappreciated, underused, and as a result, potentially undervalued. So we’re trying to reestablish that connection to our outdoor heritage, which creates generations of stewards for Maine’s outdoor resources.

But MWSC will continue to find and train potential future Olympians?

Absolutely, we’re very proud of that history. We just want people to know that it’s only a part of what we do. We all understand that athletes are going to face challenges and defeats, and we’re inspired by that as spectators, when those athletes pick themselves up, learn from their failures, and then ultimately succeed. But that can also take so many different forms in the outdoors.

Is there a pride in northern Maine for the region’s winter sports heritage?

Well, Aroostook County people aren’t exactly chest thumpers, but yeah, when you talk to people, there’s a pride in knowing their kids and grandkids are becoming some of the best cross-country skiers or biathletes in the world. There’s a pride knowing that the world knows about their ability to host these events — world championships, World Cups — better than anyone else in North America and a lot of places around the world.
Cross-country skiing was huge in Aroostook County up until World War II. They used to have these huge winter carnivals, which were popular around the country then. A lot of the roads used to be left snowy, for you to ski or drive a sleigh on, but around WWII they started plowing those roads. There used to be a four-day ski race between Bangor and Caribou, but after the war, they started plowing between the towns, and so the race went away. Snowmobiles became more of a factor, and that ski culture started to wane. Then we came along and pumped some new life into that, and now today, there are an awful lot more kids participating in skiing.

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Top Doctors 2015 http://www.downeast.com/top-doctors-2015/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/top-doctors-2015/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 18:00:24 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15514 We asked Maine physicians this question: If you or a family member had a problem in the following areas, whom would you select as the best specialist in Maine? The votes are tallied and we present the peer-selected winners.

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We asked Maine physicians this question: If you or a family member had a problem in the following areas, whom would you select as the best specialist in Maine? The votes are tallied and the peer-selected winners (in bold) and runners-up are below.

ADDICTION MEDICINE
Mark Publicker, M.D.
Mercy Addiction Medicine
40 Park Rd., Westbrook
207-857-8282

ADOLESCENT MEDICINE
Jonathan Fanburg, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – South Portland Pediatrics
75 John Roberts Rd., Unit 8B, So. Portland
207-775-4151

ALLERGY & IMMUNOLOGY
Ivan Cardona, M.D.
Allergy & Asthma Associates of Maine
195 Fore River Pkwy, Ste. 410, Portland
207-774-9839

Marguerite Pennoyer, M.D.
200 Professional Dr., Ste. 1, Scarborough
207-510-0031

ANESTHESIOLOGY
Craig Curry, M.D.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200, So. Portland
207-662-2526

Paul Lennon, M.D.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200, So. Portland
207-662-2526

Daniel Kavorik, M.D.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200, So. Portland
207-662-2526

CARDIOLOGY
Craig Brett, M.D.
Mercy Cardiology
144 State St., 5th Fl., Portland
207-879-3770

Henry Sesselberg, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – MaineHealth Cardiology – Cardiac Electrophysiology
119 Gannett Dr., So. Portland
207-774-2642

John Love, M.D.
Cardiovascular Consultants
96 Campus Dr., Scarborough
207-885-9905

CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Craig Brett, M.D.
Mercy Cardiology
144 State St., 5th Fl., Portland
207-879-3770

Marco Diaz, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – MaineHealth Cardiology
119 Gannett Dr., So. Portland
207-774-2642

CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY
Reed Quinn, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Maine Cardiothoracic Surgery
818 Congress St., Portland
207-773-8161

Scott Buchanan, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Maine Cardiothoracic Surgery
818 Congress St., Portland
207-773-8161

CHILD PSYCHIATRY
John Glazer, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Child & Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic
66 Bramhall St., Portland
207-662-2221

COLON & RECTAL SURGERY
Sara Mayo, M.D.
Casco Bay Surgery
10 Andover Rd., Portland
207-761-6642

Parker Roberts, M.D.
Casco Bay Surgery
10 Andover Rd., Portland
207-761-6642

CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE
Stephen Mette, M.D.
Chest Medicine Associates
100 Foden Rd., Ste. 103, So. Portland
207-828-1122

Eric Gunnoe, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Pediatrics
22 Bramhall St., Portland
207-662-2273

Patricia Lerwick, M.D.
Chest Medicine Associates
100 Foden Rd. West, Ste. 103, So. Portland
207-828-1122

DERMATOLOGY
K. Eric Kostelnick, M.D.
Dermatology Associates
50 Sewall St., Portland
207-775-3526

Peter Bouman, M.D.
Bates Mill Dermatology
70 Lincoln St., Mill #6, Lewiston
207-795-7540

Carmen Rinaldi, M.D.
Dermatology Associates
50 Sewall St., Portland
207-775-3526

DERMATOPATHOLOGY
Carmen Rinaldi, M.D.
Dermatology Associates
50 Sewall St., Portland
207-775-3526

Katy Linskey, M.D.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200,
So. Portland
207-662-2260

DIABETES
John Devlin, M.D.
Mattina R. Proctor Diabetes Center at Mercy
144 State St., 4th Fl., Portland
207-400-8500

Irwin Brodsky, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners –Endocrinology & Diabetes Center
175 US Route 1, Scarborough
207-396-7700

DIAGNOSTIC ROENTGENOLOGY
Steven Winn, M.D.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200, So. Portland
207-482-7800

Charles Grimes, M.D.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200, So. Portland
207-482-7800

EAR, NOSE & THROAT
Frederick Roediger, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Otolaryngology
1250 Forest Ave., Ste. 301, Portland
207-797-5753

Michael Makaretz, M.D.
MKM ENT Associates
43 Baxter Blvd., Portland
207-535-1150

EMERGENCY MEDICINE
Nathan Mick, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Emergency Medicine
22 Bramhall St., Portland
207-662-7010

Michael Baumann, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Emergency Medicine
22 Bramhall St., Portland
207-662-7010

ENDOCRINOLOGY
Daniel Oppenheim, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Endocrinology & Diabetes Center
175 US Route 1, Scarborough
207-396-7700

Christina Twining, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Endocrinology & Diabetes Center
175 US Route 1, Scarborough
207-396-7700

FAMILY PRACTICE
Peter Amann, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Scarborough Family Medicine
96 Campus Dr., Ste. 2C, Scarborough
207-883-7926

Heather Evans, D.O.
St. Joseph Family Medicine
700 Mount Hope Ave., Ste. 210, Bangor
207-907-3030

Allyson Howe, M.D.
Family Medicine Center
5 Bucknam Rd., Falmouth
207-781-1500

Brett Loffredo, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Westbrook Family Medicine
1 Harnois Ave., Ste. 2A, Westbrook
207-661-3400

Ann Skelton, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Portland Family Medicine
272 Congress St., Portland
207-874-2466

GASTROENTEROLOGY
Andreas Stefan, M.D.
Portland Gastroenterology Associates
1200 Congress St., Ste. 300, Portland
207-773-7964

Christopher Kleeman M.D.
Mercy Gastroenterology at Casco Bay
25 Long Creek Dr., So. Portland
207-535-1100

GENERAL SURGERY
Frederick Radke, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Surgical Care
887 Congress St., Ste. 400, Portland
207-774-6368

Benjamin Russell, D.O.
Portland Surgical Associates
195 Fore River Pkwy, Ste. 420, Portland
207-553-6500

GERIATRICS
Heidi Weirman, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Geriatric Center
66 Bramhall St., Ste. G1, Portland
207-662-2847

William Ross Wadland, M.D.
Martin’s Point Health Care
331 Veranda St., Portland
207-828-2402

HAND
Sacha Matthews, M.D.
OA Centers for Orthopaedics
33 Sewall St., Portland
207-828-2100

John Chance, M.D.
OA Centers for Orthopaedics
33 Sewall St., Portland
207-828-2100

HEMATOLOGY
Jacquelyn Hedlund, M.D.
New England Cancer Specialists
100 Campus Dr., Ste. 108, Scarborough
207-396-7600

Marjorie Boyd, M.D.
131 Chadwick St., Portland
207-774-5662

HOSPITALIST
Lisa Almeder, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Hospital Medicine
22 Bramhall St., P2A, Rm. 2227, Portland
207-662-4618

Robert Trowbridge, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Hospital Medicine
22 Bramhall St., P2A, Rm. 2227, Portland
207-662-4618

INFECTIOUS DISEASE
August Valenti, M.D.
InterMed
84 Marginal Way, Ste. 800, Portland
207-774-5816

Patricia Stogsdill, M.D.
InterMed
84 Marginal Way, Ste. 800, Portland
207-774-5816

INTERNAL MEDICINE
John Erickson, M.D.
InterMed
84 Marginal Way, Ste. 800, Portland
207-774-5816

John Reynolds, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Cape Elizabeth Internal Medicine
155 Spurwink Ave., Cape Elizabeth
207-767-2174

Stephen Hayes, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Westbrook Internal Medicine
1 Harnois Ave., Ste. 1B, Westbrook
207-662-1340

MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY
Mark Zajkowski, M.D., D.D.S.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, PA
20 Long Creek Dr., So. Portland
207-772-4063

Russell Collette, D.D.S
Portland Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
1601 Congress St., Portland
207-772-8055

David Moyer, M.D., D.D.S
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates, PA
20 Long Creek Dr., So. Portland
207-772-4063

NEPHROLOGY
James Wasserman, M.D.
Maine Nephrology Associates, P.A.
1600B Congress St., Portland
207-774-5222

John Vella, M.D.
Maine Nephrology Associates, P.A.
19 West St., Portland
207-662-7180

NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY
Jeffrey Florman, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Neurosurgery & Spine
49 Spring St., Scarborough
207-885-0011

Lee Thibodeau, M.D.
Maine Spine Surgery
195 Fore River Pkwy, Ste. 440, Portland
207-553-6054

NEUROLOGY
Paul Muscat, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners –Neurology
49 Spring St., Scarborough
207-883-1414

Jane Morris, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners –Neurology
49 Spring St., Scarborough
207-883-1414

OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY
Robert Sansonetti, M.D.
144 US Route 1, Scarborough
207-883-5444

Barbara Slager, M.D.
Coastal Women’s Healthcare
71 US Route 1, Scarborough
207-885-8400

OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE
Craig Curtis, M.D.
900 Broadway, Bldg. 1, Bangor
207-907-3010

ONCOLOGY
Roger Inhorn, M.D.
Maine Oncology-Hematology Center
195 Fore River Pkwy, Ste. 360, Portland
207-553-6868

Devon Evans, M.D.
New England Cancer Specialists
100 Campus Dr., Ste. 108, Scarborough
207-396-7600

OPHTHALMOLOGY
Jeffrey Berman, M.D.
Maine Eye Center
15 Lowell St., Portland
207-774-8277

Richard Bazarian, M.D.
Maine Eye Center
15 Lowell St., Portland
207-774-8277

Peter Hedstrom, M.D.
Maine Eye Center
15 Lowell St., Portland
207-774-8277

ORTHOPEDICS
Donald Endrizzi, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Orthopedics Division of Joint Replacements
5 Bucknam Rd., Ste. 1D, Falmouth
207-781-1551

Matthew Camuso, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Orthopedic Trauma & Fracture Care
335 Brighton Ave., Ste. 200, Portland
207-662-8600

Eric Hoffman, M.D.
Orthopedic Associates
33 Sewall St., Portland
207-828-2100

OSTEOPATHIC MANIPULATIVE TREATMENT
Bryan Beck, M.D.
P.O. Box 8361, Portland
207-583-6103

Ralph Thieme, D.O.
Falmouth Osteopathy & Acupuncture
6 Fundy Rd., Ste. 400, Falmouth
207-781-6560

OTOLARYNGOLOGY
Frederick Roediger, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Otolaryngology
1250 Forest Ave., Ste. 301, Portland
207-797-5753

Michael Makaretz, M.D.
MKM ENT Associates
43 Baxter Blvd., Portland
207-535-1150

OTORHINOLARYNGOLOGY
Michael Makaretz, M.D.
MKM ENT Associates
43 Baxter Blvd., Portland
207-535-1150

PAIN MANAGEMENT
James Pisini, D.O.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200, So. Portland
207-482-7800

Adam Owen, M.D.
Mercy Pain Center
144 State St., Portland
207-535-1800

PATHOLOGY
Michael Jones, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Oncology & Pathology
22 Bramhall St., Portland
207-662-0111

Robert Christman, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Oncology & Pathology
22 Bramhall St., Portland
207-662-0111

PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY
Adrian Moran, M.D.
Congenital Heart
71 US Route 1, Ste. C, Scarborough
207-883-5532

Maribeth Hourihan, M.D.
Congenital Heart
71 US Route 1, Ste. C, Scarborough
207-883-5532

PEDIATRIC HEMATOLOGY-ONCOLOGY
Eric Larsen, M.D.
Maine Children’s Cancer Program
100 Campus Dr., Ste. 107, Scarborough
207-396-7565

Aaron Weiss, D.O.
Maine Children’s Cancer Program
100 Campus Dr., Ste. 107, Scarborough
207-396-7565

Anne Rossi, M.D.
Maine Children’s Cancer Program
100 Campus Dr., Ste. 107, Scarborough
207-396-7565

PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGY
Alexa Craig, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Neurology
49 Spring St., Scarborough
207-883-1414

Thomas Reynolds, D.O.
Maine Medical Partners – Neurology
49 Spring St., Scarborough
207-883-1414

PEDIATRIC RADIOLOGY
Charles Grimes, M.D.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200, So. Portland
207-662-2571

Andrew Landes, M.D.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200, So. Portland
207-662-2571

PEDIATRIC SURGERY
Monica Langer, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Pediatric Surgery
887 Congress St., Ste. 300, Portland
207-662-5555

Baird Mallory, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Pediatric Surgery
887 Congress St., Ste. 300, Portland
207-662-5555

Jeffrey Halter, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Pediatric Surgery
887 Congress St., Ste. 300, Portland
207-662-5555

Ian Nielson, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Pediatric Surgery
887 Congress St., Ste. 300, Portland
207-662-5555

PEDIATRICS
Jeffrey Peterson, M.D.
InterMed Pediatrics
259 Main St., Yarmouth
207-846-9602

Maggie Zamboni, D.O.
100 Foden Rd. East, So. Portland
207-874-1489

PHYSICAL MEDICINE REHABILITATION
Douglas Pavlak, M.D.
Medical Rehabilitation Associates
77 Bates St., Ste. 102, Lewiston
207-783-2300

Michael Totta, M.D.
OA Centers for Orthopaedics
33 Sewall St., Portland
207-828-2100

Douglas Buxton, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Neurosurgery & Spine
49 Spring St., Scarborough
207-885-0011

PLASTIC SURGERY
John Atwood, M.D.
Plastic & Hand Surgical Associates
244 Western Ave., So. Portland
207-775-3446

Therese White, M.D.
Plastic & Hand Surgical Associates
244 Western Ave., So. Portland
207-775-3446

PSYCHIATRY
Cindy Boyack, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Psychiatry
Adult Outpatient Psychiatry, McGeachey Hall, 216 Vaughan St., Portland
207-662-2221

John Campbell III, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Psychiatry
22 Bramhall St., Portland
207-662-3385

Catherine A. Jakubowitz, M.D.
69 Federal St., 2nd Fl., Portland
207-775-0110

PULMONARY DISEASE
Stephen Mette, M.D.
Chest Medicine Associates
100 Foden Rd. West, Ste. 103, So. Portland
207-828-1122

Joel Wirth, M.D.
Chest Medicine Associates
100 Foden Rd. West, Ste. 103, So. Portland
207-828-1122

Ganesha Santhyadka, M.D.
St. Joseph Hospital Respiratory Care
360 Broadway, Ste. 201, Bangor
207-907-1155

RADIATION ONCOLOGISTS
Ian Bristol, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Radiation Oncology
22 Bramhall St., Portland
207-662-2276

RADIOLOGY
Sharon Siegel, M.D.
Maine Medical Center – Radiology
22 Bramhall St., Portland
207-668-0111

David Langdon, M.D.
Mercy Interventional Radiology Center
144 State St., Portland
207-879-3291

Steven Winn, M.D.
Spectrum Medical Group
324 Gannett Dr., Ste. 200, So. Portland
207-662-2276

RHEUMATOLOGY
Brian Daikh, M.D.
Rheumatology Associates
51 Sewall St., Portland
207-774-5761

Brian Keroack, M.D.
Rheumatology Associates
51 Sewall St., Portland
207-774-5761

SPORTS MEDICINE
Peter Sedgwick, M.D.
Central Maine Sports Medicine
77 Bates St., Trolley Building, Ste. 201, Lewiston
207-795-8465

William Heinz, M.D.
OA Centers for Orthopaedics
33 Sewall St., Portland
207-828-2100

Allyson Howe, M.D.
Falmouth Family Medicine
5 Bucknam Rd., Ste. 2C, Falmouth
207-781-1500

Kenneth Morse, M.D.
Down East Orthopaedic Associates
78 Ridgewood Dr., Bangor
207-947-8381

THERAPEUTIC RADIOLOGY
David Langdon, M.D.
Mercy Hospital
144 State St., Portland
207-879-3000

THORACIC SURGERY
Seth Blank, M.D.
Mercy – Portland Thoracic Surgery
Fore River Medical Office Building, 195 Fore River Pkwy, Ste. 490, Portland
207-553-6541

Tracey Weigel, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Cardiothoracic Surgery
818 Congress St., Portland
207-773-8161

UROLOGY
Brian Jumper, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Urology
100 Brickhill Ave., So. Portland
207-773-1728

Moritz Hansen, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Urology
100 Brickhill Ave., So. Portland
207-773-1728

VASCULAR SURGERY
Christopher Healy, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Surgical Care
887 Congress St., Ste. 400, Portland
207-774-6368

Jens Eldrup-Jorgensen, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Surgical Care
887 Congress St., Ste. 400, Portland
207-774-6368

Robert Hawkins, M.D.
Maine Medical Partners – Surgical Care
887 Congress St., Ste. 400, Portland
207-774-6368

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Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation http://www.downeast.com/adaptiveskiing/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/adaptiveskiing/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:09:37 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15498 We spent a fine powder day at Sunday River with volunteers and participants from Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation.

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We spent a fine powder day at Sunday River with volunteers and participants from Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation. To read more about our love for Maine’s ski hills, pick up our February issue, on newsstands January 27!

Video by Kevin Sennett

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Revelations Gift Shop http://www.downeast.com/revelations-gift-shop/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/revelations-gift-shop/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 21:31:56 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15464 Revelations Gift Shop the building that looks like a church on shore road in Ogunquit Maine

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Revelations Gift Shop the building that looks like a church on shore road in Ogunquit Maine

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Sun Setting Over Ogunquit http://www.downeast.com/sun-setting-ogunquit-2/?utm_source=flipboard&utm_medium=flipboard_rss&utm_campaign=down+east http://www.downeast.com/sun-setting-ogunquit-2/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 18:17:12 +0000 http://www.downeast.com/?p=15353 sun setting over Ogunquit Maine

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sun setting over Ogunquit Maine

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