September 10, 2007
The first time the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth II
visited Bar Harbor, some ten years ago, people from all over Maine drove to Mount Desert Island to admire the legendary luxury ship. The liner has been a regular visitor to the Maine coast in the years since. Fans of the monarch of the seas were heartbroken when they heard that Cunard Lines had sold the ship to a company in Dubai to be turned into a luxury hotel, but they'll have a chance to say goodbye
when the QEII
visits Bar Harbor for the last time October 2.
Meanwhile Portland was coping with the influx of more than 3,200 passengers from the largest cruise ship
to ever visit Casco Bay, the Carnival Cruise Lines Explorer of the Seas
. Portland has a heavy schedule of cruise ships visits lined up through this autumn, testimony to the Maine coast's growing attraction for sea
sonal visitors. (Forgive me; I couldn't resist.)
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" has landed in Milbridge, where the crew is renovating an old farmhouse owned by Ron Smith and his wife, Brittany Ray, and their three children. The twist on this edition of the show is that the house is alleged to be haunted, as described in the Down East Books publication, Dark Woods, Chill Waters
, by Marcus LiBrizzi.
isn't the only tradition that's ending soon. The Blue Angels will make their final appearance
at Brunswick Naval Air Station's Great State of Maine Air Show this coming weekend. The Navy's aerial acrobatic team isn't moving to Dubai, but the air station itself is scheduled to close in 2011. The show will also include the Army's Golden Knights parachute team and other flying attractions.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has stepped into the vacuum left when Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and state officials couldn't agree on a new contract for state's DirigoChoice health insurance plan
. The Massachusetts-based nonprofit will take over the plan January 1, promising a seamless transition for the 15,000 Mainers who are now covered by the program.
And finally, South Portland has answered the perennial question about the chicken and the egg. In this case, the hens are coming first
, thanks to a tenacious campaign by ten-year-old Olivia Collins. The youngster appeared before the city council six times and collected more than 400 signatures on a petition to allow small chicken flocks within the city limits. Councils finally agreed to issue up to twenty permits annually for flocks of no more than six chickens.