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Tuesday, 03 November 2015 19:42

Building homes in Bangor

BANGOR - Habitat for Humanity is currently building a house in Bangor for a family with three children whose home was too expensive and too small for them. Construction began July 24 and the goal is to have it finished by Thanksgiving. The 1,200 sq.-ft., four-bedroom house is built to be very energy efficient. The building is well insulated and is heated via a heat pump that is being paid for almost entirely by Emera. The water heater will use natural gas. For a first time for Habitat in the area, they will be installing a solar panel system donated by Revision Energy. This will be the 16th house that the organization has built in the area.

A lot of what is in the house is donated by Habitat's corporate partners. Whirlpool donated a stove and refrigerator. Hunter-Douglas donated blinds for the bedrooms. Dow Chemicals donated the insulation. There are many others, as well as some corporate partners who are not needed for every house. 'We have a mechanical guy who is going to install [the heat pump] as a donation. We've had a lot of support from the community,' says Linwood Lufkin, a long-time volunteer. Building these houses is a great example of businesses and people coming together to help the community.

Published in Livin'
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 19:11

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes'

There are 30 seconds left on the clock, and you still have two modules to finish before the bomb goes off. Your partner flips madly through the manual trying to find something about what you are describing to him.

'It's a little window that says 'your.''

Published in Tekk
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 19:03

A Spooktacular Halloween Dance

BANGOR This Halloween weekend, Motor Booty Affair will bring its dynamic and energetic sounds to The Spectacular Events Center. The Spooktacular Dance Party takes place on Friday, Oct. 30 from 9 p.m. to midnight. Tickets bought online in advance run $12; they will be $15 at the door. Although the show doesn't start until 9, the doors open at 8:30, so show up early and carve yourself out a place on the dance floor before it gets to crowded. The event is 21+, so leave the kids at home.

Motor Booty Affair is a disco tribute band from the distant planet Funktar (but currently operating out of Portland) that goes far beyond playing music. 'They are dynamic, not just your average 'oh, gonna play a song' band,' said Jane Arey, co-owner and director of sales at Spectacular Events Center. 'They are high energy, just so fun and interactive. I know they are becoming more well known with a younger crowd. Even though they play disco, they play rock and other classic songs. It's really a party for everybody.'

Published in Buzz
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 19:45

The first five hours of Wildstar'

'Wildstar' is a sci-fi MMO from from Carbine Studios that, at launch back in 2014, was a full price game with a monthly subscription fee. This has recently changed; now the game is free to play. I put in about five hours to see how it was.

If you are an MMO veteran, the first thing you will say is 'Woah, this looks exactly like World of Warcraft.'' The art style for the environments is very, very similar to 'WoW.' However, the character designs, both player and enemy, set themselves apart. The characters remind me a bit of Ratchet and Clank. The animations are great and really give everything a lot of personality. The world itself is big, diverse and vibrant. You will see a wide range of locations fairly quickly. I've already seen asteroid bases, snowcapped mountains and forests with towering trees.

Published in Tekk
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 19:43

Leaving Earth from the comfort of Orono

ORONO - The Emera Astronomy Center on the University of Maine campus in Orono houses the state's most advanced planetarium. The center offers weekly shows that run at 7 p.m. Fridays and 2 p.m. Sundays. The Sunday shows are aimed at kids. The first and third Tuesday of the month also features a show for UMaine students that is free if you present your Maine Card. In addition they have recently added a new show to the schedule aimed at home schooled students that runs the first Tuesday of every month at 11 a.m. The shows cost $6.

The shows this month offer a range of subjects. On Oct. 23, 'Origins of Life' will play: 'Tour the far reaches of the universe and our Earth as the evolution of life is examined in this fully immersive space experience. From the Big Bang to new life on Earth, from great extinctions to the search for life beyond our planet, Origins of Life is an inspirational journey through time and a celebration of life near and very, very far.' The show is recommended for ages 10 and up.

Published in Style
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 19:30

A new Brewer brewery

BREWER - This coming April there will be even more options for local beer thanks to Mason's Brewing Company. They plan to open the doors of their brewery in Brewer in mid-April of 2016. The brewery will feature a German-style beer hall with a rotating tap. Construction of the brewery has already begun on the bank of the Penobscot with a view of the Waterfront Concert Pavilion.

Mason's will have a core line of beer including German, Belgian and American style ales. In addition, you will be able to get four test batches on tap. They will use this to gauge the popularity of each beer and maybe keep the most popular ones around.

Published in Biz
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 23:19

Star Wars: Battlefront' beta impressions

This past weekend was the open beta for EA and Dice's upcoming multiplayer shooter 'Star Wars: Battlefront.' 'Battlefront' is a series that has been missing since the days of the PS2, and now Dice, developers of 'Battlefield,' is taking a shot at bringing it back.

Going into the beta, I was cautiously optimistic. Although I was afraid it was just going to be 'Battlefield' with a 'Star Wars' skin wrapped around it, that still sounded OK to me. When I sat down and began to play, I was pleasantly surprised. Although certain aspects of the movement and physics feel like 'Battlefield,' for the most part it feels like its own game.

Published in Tekk
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 22:49

The Big Gig

ORONO - The upcoming Big Gig event is an opportunity for networking aimed at entrepreneurs, innovators and funders. The event also includes a pitch-off where three people who have been selected at a previous event will make elevator pitches: these have to be under five minutes and can't include any kind of hand out or power point. They will then receive feedback from a panel, and the audience and panel will vote on the winner, who will receive a cash prize. It is like a more laid back, low stakes and constructive version of the show 'Shark Tank.' The winner will also go on to compete in the Big Gig Finale for a $1,500 grand prize. But the experience will still be very beneficial to those who don't win. The feedback they receive on their pitch might mean that they'll be better prepared for the next opportunity.

'To me Big Gig is really about building that community, helping people meet each other and get encouragement to be innovative and to feel that staying in this community is something that could be really good for them. We are trying to encourage people, especially young people, to stay here and do their thing,' says Paul Riechmann of the Orono Economic Development Corporation, one of the partners for the event. 'We had a couple who won one of the competitions and they were just graduating from UMaine. They had choices; they were from away and they could have gone back, but they have bought a house in the area and do their business here. That's the kind of story we want to hear more of.'

Published in Happenings
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 17:04

Visualizing Home and Homelessness

ORONO - Artober may be going on, but it isn't the only place to see art in the area. The Lord Hall Gallery on the University of Maine campus in Orono has an exhibition coming up from Oct. 9 to Nov. 13. The exhibition is based around photography and is called Visualizing Home and Homelessness. 'It's actually made up of two exhibitions. In the main gallery will be a juried exhibition that includes photographs that people submitted in response to a call that I put out,' says Laurie Hicks, curator of the gallery. 'The smaller gallery is an extension of the home and homelessness concept but the work in it was created by a couple middle school students, four high school students and about eight kids who are associated with the Carleton Project and with the Shaw House in Bangor.' There will be a reception for the exhibition Oct. 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The gallery's normal hours are from 9 to 4 Monday through Friday. Admission to the gallery is free.

A group of students from one Hicks's classes did a service learning project where they went out into the community and worked with the students to help them use photography to explore the ideas of home and homelessness. This resulted in a diverse selection of pieces representing both ideas individually, and some pieces that blur the line between the two.

Published in Buzz
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 17:02

Keeping the drinks green

BANGOR - Bangor Greendrinks meets every second Tuesday of the month to mingle and have a couple beers with others who consider themselves environmentally conscious. Every month the venue is different, but the ideas stay the same: have fun, support local business, and be green. The next event falls on Oct. 13, goes from 5 to 8 p.m. and will be hosted by Epic Sports in downtown Bangor. There is a suggested $5 donation and, in line with the green theme, you are asked to bring your own vessel to drink from. However, they sell recyclable containers if you forgot yours at home.

Greendrinks itself is part of an international movement that began in a pub in North London in 1989. Now there are meetings in 525 cities in 51 countries.

Published in Happenings
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