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ORONO - An Orono podiatrist is on the cusp of a technological breakthrough with a new medical instrument - an electronic tuning fork - that he's developing with assistance from students and staff at the University of Maine's Advanced Manufacturing Center (

Tuning forks are considered one of the most accurate measures of human sensitivity to touch, and are commonly used by physicians to diagnose early signs of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or damaged or deteriorating nerves in the feet of diabetics. The condition all too often can lead to foot ulcers and eventual foot amputation, according to Orono resident Dr. Todd O'Brien, a podiatric surgeon at a Health Access Network practice and Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln, Maine.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011 05:38

Calling all Maine high school rock bands

MAINE - High school rock bands from across the state are invited to sign up for Reindeer Records' annual competition, The Off-Ramp: Exit 27, a six-month music marathon that takes original young bands on a journey filled with music industry challenges, live shows and educational opportunities.

Showcase Auditions are slated for Saturday, Oct. 23, at the new state-of-the-art Westbrook Performing Arts Center, and 12 bands will be selected to compete in the event. Registration deadline is Oct. 1.

A semi-final run-off will be held in April to determine the top five bands that will go on to the final showdown in May. The top three bands will split $3,500 in cash. One band will earn the title of Best Young Band in the State of Maine.

BANGOR - The Bangor Public Library begins their Fall Programs on Sept. 12. Every age group has a program, from birth to teen. The Children's Department will offer 12 programs per week. Stop by and find the right one for you.

"Read to Me" will run every Monday morning from 10:15 - 10:45 in the Storyroom. Christine says, "This program is for children who just love to be read to. It's a nice quiet midmorning break where kids can bring a snack and sit back and listen." Children two to five are invited to attend this program with a parent or guardian so everyone can relax together.

AUGUSTA - The find of an invasive plant fragment on a boat about to be launched into a western Maine lake is a reminder of the importance of boat inspections this boating season, say scientists with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Of Maine's nearly 6,000 lakes, only 33 of them are currently known to be infested with invasive aquatic plants, which can hijack the habitat of native fisheries, flora and fauna; degrade water quality; diminish property values; and reduce water recreation opportunity including fishing, boating and swimming.

The department's Invasive Aquatic Species Program manages a contract with the Bridgton-based Lakes Environmental Association to run the Courtesy Boat Inspection Program, which is funded through the sales of stickers sold as part of boat registration.

DEDHAM - Rori Knott and Jenny Sewell have been close friends for ten years. So when Knott participated in the Beach to Beach Swim for Breast Cancer as a swimmer and kayaker, Sewell was always there to cheer her on. "We are both really committed to supporting local fundraisers," Sewell said. Knott added, "Statistically speaking, you know that breast cancer will touch everyone in some way. But you really never think it will happen to you or your loved ones." For more than eight years, Knott and Sewell have supported Beach to Beach, which benefits Caring Connections, a cooperative program of EMMC and the Bangor Y. This year the event has a particularly special meaning for the longtime friends.

In 2010, Sewell was diagnosed with breast cancer. She joined the breast cancer support group for women aged 40 and younger offered by Caring Connections. "It has been one of my greatest supports during the last year," she said. "I am able to talk and connect with other women going through the same experiences. For an hour, we talk without feeling like we are going on and on about cancer to our friends and family."

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 05:38

Buzz Briefs - 09/07/11

The Grand takes 'Manhattan' again!

ELLSWORTH - Filmgoers in Ellsworth will unite with audiences in over 250 cities spanning the globe to vote on the work of filmmakers from around the world when the "13th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival" returns to screen at The Grand on Friday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.

Following the dictate of the festival slogan "One World- One Week- One Festival", the MSFF is having, in the space of a week, over 100,000 people from as far north as St. Petersburg, Russia to as far south as Buenos Aires, Argentina, as far east as Kathmandu, Nepal to as far west as Perth, Australia (not to mention audiences in the Ellsworth/Mid-Coast Maine area!) come together to view and vote on the 10 short film finalists from an initial 598 entries received from 48 countries around the world!

These short films will not only entertain a global audience but will be judged by them as well as filmgoers are asked to vote for the one film they feel should win. Votes are tallied and submitted to festival HQ in New York City where the winner will be announced (and posted on the net at on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 10 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for general admission with $9 seniors & students and $8 for members.

For more information or to reserve tickets, please call the box office at 207-667-9500, visit The Grand Auditorium website at or follow us on Facebook at

Maine Hysterical Society to meet, crack you up

DOVER-FOXCROFT - The next meeting of the Maine Hysterical Society convenes at Center Theatre Sat., Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. The agenda consists of 90 minutes of sketches, spoofs and songs that by the trio of Portland-area Society founders, Randy Judkins, Barney Martin and Steve Underwood.

Their goal is to get people to "laugh so much they get what we call a humor hangover the next day: Their sides hurt and their ears are aching because they've been laughing so hard," explained Judkins. It fulfills their pledge to "preserve, promote and provoke laughter."

The performers transform themselves into a Maine version of The Three Stooges with a musical twist.

They do a chainsaw version of the traditional song, "If I Had a Hammer," and orient it around a wish list for Maine males. Original songs include "Why Do I Have to Live in Caribou?" and they do a commercial promoting lobster boat racing.

People in the audience who are "from away" will not be the butt of the jokes. Rather, the Society's brand of humor takes an inward look at what Mainers feel and brings to life characteristics with which the audience can readily identify.

The characters play off each other easily, even during open-script periods when they are ad libbing. "We never know how [the audience is] going to react," said Judkins. "To us, it's a lot of fun to actually get someone up on stage with us."

The show caps off with a piece they call Bean Supper in Maine, a parody of the flurry of filmmaking that has come through Maine in the last 15 years.

Many local educators know Judkins through the solo performances he has given over the years to school-aged kids to build esteem and curb bullying. Martin has a day job and splits his spare time between the Society and the Portland-area cover band, Coos Canyon. Underwood is the technical director and production manager of the Good Theater at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland.

The Sept. 17 act is "family appropriate," said Judkins.

Organizers expect tickets for the show ($12 in advance or $15 at the door) to sell very quickly and encourage the public to buy tickets early at Mr. Paperback, Fox Brook Variety, Forget Me Not Flowers, the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce office or Center Theatre in person or online at or by calling (207) 564-8943.

The Sept. 17 performance is the third of six live monthly "Saturday Night in Dover-Foxcroft" shows on the third Saturday of each month, July to December, as a fundraiser for the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce and Center Theatre.

Robert Lash and Michel Droge to speak on their work at the Harlow Gallery

HALLOWELL - The public is invited to the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell on Thursday, Sept. 8, from 7 - 8:30 p.m. for a gallery talk with artists Robert Lash of Gardiner and Michel Droge of Portland. Sculpture by Lash and drawings by Droge will be on view through the month of September at the gallery, located at 160 Water Street in downtown Hallowell. For more information, visit

Monthly ArtTalks at the Harlow have been made possible by generous support from The Bank of Maine.

Michel Droge received her BA from Oberlin College, studied graphic design at Cooper Union and received an MFA in interdisciplinary studio art from of Mane College of Art. She received the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA award in 2010, The Maine Arts Commission Good Idea Grant in 2011 and was included in the Boston Young Contemporaries Exhibition at Boston University in 2010. Droge's paintings and drawings explore the poetics of environmental engagement and conjure unconscious realms where the boundaries between reality and abstraction are blurred. Her work is exhibited in New York City, Upstate New York and Portland, Maine. She is currently represented in Portland by Aucocisco Galleries. Learn more by visiting her website:

Robert Lash started with a mechanical and engineering background and found his true vocation as a sculptor in 1994. He is primarily self-taught in ceramics and sculpture, following a path of learning which included both traditional and non-traditional forms of study, including Alfred State College, University of Maine at Orono and independent study with many respected artists throughout the country. Lash has exhibited his work extensively throughout the Eastern United States, and his work is represented in numerous private collections nationwide. His most recent body of work focuses on forms made of repurposed industrial steel. Learn more by visiting his website:

ORONO - P.R.I.ME, a paranormal investigation and research team from Bangor, have been invited to investigate the original Pat's Pizza located on Mill Street in Orono.

For years, the location has had a reputation of being haunted by founder C.D. "Pat" Farnsworth and a potential host of other entities. Wait staff have witnessed shadows moving about the restaurant and the distinct smell of cigar smoke emanating from Pat's old office downstairs. Kitchen staff report missing items, voices and shadows.

P.R.I.ME Paranormal, established in 2010 by Nomar Slevik, have conducted numerous investigations throughout the Penobscot County area. Investigation reports, video and audio can be viewed at

Wednesday, 31 August 2011 05:38

Young Entrepreneurs' Society to begin Sept. 6

DOVER-FOXCROFT - Penquis announces its Young Entrepreneurs' Society (YES) after-school program will begin Sept. 6. This free program offers students ages 12-15 in Piscataquis County the opportunity to learn how to run a small printing business, take part in fun team building activities and participate in community service projects.

The YES program will meet at the Penquis office in Dover-Foxcroft on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3.00-5.30 p.m. Snacks and drinks will be provided. Applications may be picked up at Penquis, 50 North Street, Dover-Foxcroft, and are available for download at For more information, call Penquis at 564-7116. The Penquis Young Entrepreneurs' Society After-School Program is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

EASTPORT/LUBEC - The Eastport Pirate Festival has quickly become known for all of its family fun and entertainment. One of the most popular events each year is The Pirate Bed Race through the historic waterfront streets of Eastport. This year the top place winner will walk away with $500 to be shared by the team with the best time.

In all, a total of $1,000 of prize money will be given to the various winning categories, with half that going to the top entry. All contestants will receive the official Eastport Pirate Festival Bed Race 2011 T-Shirts as well.

All teams must be pre-registered prior to the start of the race. The race is on Saturday, Sept. 10 following the Grand Pirate Festival Parade.

BANGOR - The Bangor Area Children's Choir (BACC) is preparing to start an exciting year with auditions for new singers on Sept. 15. Under the musical direction of Steve Weston and Amy Maier, young singers will perform a diverse and challenging repertoire during this special 20th anniversary season. BACC will host its main celebration for the entire community in the spring of 2012.

BACC is a non-profit, independent organization that, for 20 years, has been providing an enriching vocal experience to youth from as far away as Ellsworth and Dover-Foxcroft. BACC reinforces and adds to the experience students receive in school and/or from private lessons by teaching vocal control and listening skills to a smaller group of singers. Members of the choir support each other through their similar enjoyment of music. This environment allows singers to experience a rewarding selection of music that is safe for developing voices. BACC also helps its members develop character and presence through its performances.

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