ELLSWORTH - Keeping track of Maine's loon population is no easy task. That's why each July thousands of volunteers known as “citizen scientists” gather on Maine's lakes and ponds to assist the Maine Audubon in its annual loon count. It's a project that was started 31 years ago when very little was known about the iconic bird.
"I'm no loon expert, I just like them," said volunteer David Moores of New Hampshire. This was Moores's second year participating in the count with his kids. "My three daughters did a whole lot of research on the loon habitat which concluded with participating in the loon count last year. This is the educational piece of our summer vacation."
BANGOR - Vacationland is filled with tourists and visitors this time of year, but rather than kick back and relax, a pair of brothers from Arizona decided to turn their time in Maine into a working vacation. Justin and Ryan Speirs set up a whoopie pie stand called Whoopie Works outside of their grandfather's home on Westland Street in Bangor last week where motorists and pedestrians alike couldn't resist stopping for a treat.
"I drive by every day, but yesterday they were sold out," said Norman Hall of Hermon. "I was able to pick up four today, and two of them are for myself."
BANGOR - School may be out for the summer but that doesn't mean students are taking a break from learning. Over 25 ninth and tenth graders spent last week at Camp Survivor in Bangor, where they got a firsthand look at careers in the health field.
"This is a way to introduce kids to careers they maybe did not think about," said Sheree Tillson, EMHS recruiter. "We've had an occupational therapist teach them how to get dressed using only one hand, a physical therapist showing them the different muscles and activities to treat those muscles, a hygienist demonstrating how to scrape teeth. And we took them to EMMC, where they were able to look at an ultrasound of Jello that had various items in it."
BANGOR - The Hollywood Casino Raceway in Bangor went to the dogs Father's Day weekend for the third annual Greater Bangor Bark for Life event. The gathering is an American Cancer Society event that encourages participants to bring their four-legged family members with them as they support, raise awareness and collect donations for cancer research. With doggy contests, demonstrations, food and vendors on site, there's something for everyone to enjoy before the night ends with a one lap walk of remembrance around the track.
"There's only two Bark for Life's in Maine so we've got people who have traveled from all across the state to come and fight back, which is what this is all about," said Lisa Eldridge, event co-chair. "I don't think I've met anyone, whether pet or human, who hasn't been touched by cancer."
WINTERPORT - Runners will be burning up the pavement in Winterport this Saturday for the town's first ever Pants on Fire 5K Beer Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run. The race is a fundraiser to help the town's all volunteer fire and rescue departments purchase gear and other necessities for the job. Jodi Rapoza-Rowe, owner of Zeke's Dog Retreat in Swanville, is one of the race's sponsors and a participant.
"The volunteer departments around here don't have a lot to work with, so I wanted to get out and show support to help them get the equipment they need," Rapoza-Rowe said. "And I've always wanted to do a 5K. The last couple ones I've signed up for I haven't been able to do because Zeke's has been so busy, so this is the one I've signed up for and am sticking with."
HAMPDEN - A member of the Penobscot County Sheriff's Department is carrying around some extra protection these days thanks to the generosity of a Hampden fifth grader. Samantha Quesnel raised over $1,000 in less than a month to help purchase a bullet proof vest for the department's K9 officer, Dozer.
"He's a search and article dog. He doesn't look for drugs or cadavers. He helps solve cases like if someone threw a gun out the window, when he finds it, he'll sit on it and his reward is this toy he pulls on. That's when the puppy really comes out in him," explained Bonnie Quesnel, Samantha's mother. "He is a gorgeous dog and he's such a goof ball that you forget even though he's a working dog, he's still a dog."
Husband and wife rebrand convenience store chain
BANGOR - Andy and Susan Stephenson are on a mission to change the way customers view convenience stores. The couple recently opened three WeeBeez Deli & Market stores in Bangor where they have filled the shelves with veggies, fruit and baked goods as well as your typical convenience store items like chips and soda.
BANGOR - A familiar face is once again gracing the terminals of Bangor International Airport. United has returned to BIA, this time offering once a day non-stop flights to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on United Express.
"This is exciting to welcome back United to BGR," said Tony Caruso, BIA airport director. "We believe that the service will be very popular and is a wonderful addition to the Bangor market. These new flights will also make it very easy for west coast and southwestern US visitors to get to the Bangor region this summer."
SOUTH PORTLAND - A Maine restaurant is about to get a helping hand from the TV show “Restaurant: Impossible.” The show, which airs on the Food Network, follows well known celebrity chef and host Robert Irvine as he spends 36 hours and $10,000 to remodel, renovate and re-work the menu of a struggling restaurant. Next week he will be lending his expertise to the owners of Uncle Andy's Diner in South Portland. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Chef Irvine by phone, who told me he has no knowledge about any of the restaurants featured on the show prior to filming.
The Maine Edge: You've been the host of “Restaurant: Impossible” since 2011. How are the restaurants that are featured on the show selected?
BANGOR - The third annual Greater Bangor Bark for Life event is less than a month away, and more participants and teams are needed in order to make this American Cancer Society fundraising event the most successful one yet. So far, 13 teams have registered to participate including Team Wolf Pack.
"There's at least a dozen people on the team and four dogs. They're all people I work with at Hannaford or my family," said Barbara Bruns, Team Wolf Pack captain. "Going to Bark for Life is so fun. The atmosphere there and all the dogs just makes you feel like there's hope."
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