Gabe Gregoire

Gabe Gregoire

Have You Ever Heard a Who?

“I would not eat them in a box. I would not eat them with a fox.” This and many other rhymes are instantly recognized by adults and children worldwide as the words of Theodor Geisel, the incomparable Dr. Seuss. His playful lines and phantasmagoric art style brought many of us into the world of reading for the first time. “Let me read this time, Dad!” Today, many writers or painters would tell you that their careers stem in part from Dr. Suess’ works setting their imaginations on fire. And some, Portlanders included, are passing down their favorites to another generation.

 

Fans of Seuss can see the author’s characters come to life in the musical “Seussical,” in its final weekend at the Freeport Performing Arts Center (30 Holbrook St). The remaining shows are Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, July 30 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8.00 for students under 18 and $10.00 for adults. Buy them at http://www.fcponline.org/ or at Maine Wicked Goods Mercantile (304 US Rte 1 S).

 

The musical, featuring Jesse Reich as Horton and an energetic Tara Golson as The Cat in the Hat, examines a child’s desire to find his or her place in the world. In the story, Horton happens to pass by a clover in the grass, and he hears a noise coming from a speck of dust on the flower. The sound is coming, of course, from a tiny Who. Horton is presently caught up in the Whos’ dramas of love, loneliness and loyalty. Kids will be, as well.

 

Freeport Players: (207) 865-2220

 

Correction:

 

The Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. and Museum wrote us on Facebook to correct our erroneous understanding of their future on the Eastern Prom (“Last Chance Railroad,” July 20). With our apologies, we present their post here:

 

“This story is a bit misleading on a few points. We certainly appreciate the Ice Cream Train promotions and the local support - we love our neighborhood - however we'd like to clarify a few things. We will be remaining in full operation here in Portland through the end of October and we will also be holding our Polar Express event at Christmastime in the same manner we have for the past ten years. Furthermore, we hold a lease for the right-of-way where our tracks are until at least 2024 (perhaps longer) and will continue to provide a train ride here on the Eastern Prom through that time. We do plan to move to Gray in 2018 but will continue to be a presence (albeit in a smaller capacity) on Portland's waterfront. We are still determining the logistics of that operation right now.”

  • Published in Kids

What Joanie Really Loves

The list isn’t long of Maine athletes who have achieved world-class status. Our darling, since she set the women’s world record in 1983 in the Boston Marathon, has been Joan Benoit Samuelson. Back in those days, as Joan Benoit, she graced Maine magazine covers and newspaper headlines on a regular basis, as we watched and hoped for her.

 

Meanwhile, back home in Maine today, what ‘Joanie’ is doing is also worthy of recognition and does bring many top-rated runners to our state. It’s her Beach to Beacon 10K, to start in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday, August 5 at 8 a.m. Register at http://www.beach2beacon.org/ to support the charity Let’s Go! This  program reaches thousands of kids with a program of increased activity and healthy eating. The key is the 5-2-1-0 healthy habits message: five or more fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of physical activity, and zero sugary drinks.

 

We’re sure that Benoit-Samuelson wasn’t sipping a Mountain Dew when she said, “[I promised myself that I would] give back to the sport that had given me so much and that I would also give back to the Maine community which has always inspired me and kept me buoyant.” The Olympic Hall-of-Famer, like us, loves the hardworking spirit of Maine and will always be at home here. This is the woman who told her family when they surrounded her as she stepped off the 1984 Olympic podium wearing gold that she didn’t want them to let the victory change who they knew her to be as a person.

 

Go see what you can do on that bit of road, runners. Wouldn’t you trust a woman who has kept so busy and active since her initial successes that just four years ago she finished the Boston Marathon with a time that was less than thirty minutes behind her 1983 record? We would.

  • Published in Sports

Something To Ease Your Worry

People make mistakes. New mothers are afraid that they’ll ‘ruin’ their babies with their lack of experience in parenting. Divorced men may neglect the upkeep of their houses until they’ve got the one and only peeling, sagging home on their street. Students will procrastinate just a little too long and get a D in chemistry, besmirching an otherwise respectable academic record. And all of us have our own ideas about what and how to train our pets.

 

Readers who fear that their family dogs may be in danger of settling into bad habits, especially in areas where kids are, and want a little insurance against doggie disaster, are welcome to attend a talk called Safe Dogs/Safe Kids, followed by an outdoor screening of The Secret Life of Pets at the Veterinary and Rehabilitation Center of Cape Elizabeth (207 Ocean House Rd) on Monday, July 31 at 7 p.m.

 

Nancy Freedman-Smith of Gooddogz Training will speak on strategies to help your dog “be the ideal family member.” The emphasis will be on interactions between canines and children. Admission is free, and well-behaved pets are allowed at the movie screening, but not the presentation before it. Refreshments will be served, including, it’s rumored, wine for the adults. The movie is a fun romp featuring the voice of Louis C.K. — sort of like a “What Women Want” for dog people.

 

Dog lovers and Cape Elizabethans may also want to have a meal at the Bird Dog Roadhouse (517 Ocean House Rd) on Monday, August 7 between 3 and 9 p.m. During that time, to benefit the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, the restaurant will donate $2 for every ten-inch pizza and $4 for every fourteen-inch pizza sold. Members of the ARLGP staff will be on site with useful information, and maybe even a four-legged friend wondering, “What smells so good!?”

  • Published in Pets

Burnin' and Learnin'

Did you know that the big bronze woman with the sword in Monument Square is called Our Lady of Victories, also Soldiers and Sailors Monument? Or that the sculptor, a man born in Webster in the 19th century named Franklin Simmons, also has a statue of Ulysses S. Grant in the United States Capitol Rotunda? How would you like to learn tidbits like these about the Square and other areas in and around the Old Port, all while feeling the burn of a full-body strength and cardio workout?

 

The unusual combination is the brainchild of fitness instructor Leigh Rush Olson, the founder of Old Port Historic Workout and its sister, Kennebunk Beach Historic Workout. Olson got the idea in 1997 in New York City as a way to combine her history education with her training experience, and would lead groups of curious athletes in mobile workouts while telling them about the city’s ethnohistory. The Maine versions are in their first year.

 

Old Port Historic Workouts take place on Saturdays at 10 a.m., meeting in Monument Square, where participants will be led in ninety minutes of exercise, followed by a jogging tour with stops at Portland’s most intriguing sites, with anecdotes about each. Tickets are $30 at http://www.ticketweb.com/ and all levels of expertise are welcome.

 

Kennebunk Beach Historic Workouts are Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m., to convene at Mothers Beach. This one’s a little easier on the pocketbook, at $10 per person. Olson and her staff remind you to bring your own mat (or towel) and water bottle. She also says she engineered the double meaning in the titles of her events on purpose, and looks forward to helping you achieve a truly ‘historic workout.’

 

Link: https://historicworkouts.com/

  • Published in Sports

Last Chance Railroad

Portlanders who live paycheck to paycheck, and have friends and relatives who have to move to Westbrook or farther because their in-town living situation has changed and nothing is open to the poor in Portland, those residents might have a sour view of the gentrification and development our city is currently undergoing. On the other hand, people who have a little extra on hand might be happy that the place is getting better-looking. However you feel about it, Portland is changing.

In the Eastern Prom area will take place at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum (58 Fore St). After this year, they are moving most of their operations to Gray.  Although the museum's getting relocated, there will still be ice cream trains, pumpkin trains, and season operations for 7 more years. But in 2024, they'll be gone from the historic property. 
 

Runners, walkers , and beachgoers who frequent the Prom have a good idea of the route of the narrow-gauge train. From their base near the ferry terminal, to near where the Eastern Prom Trail intersects with the Back Cove loop, across the inlet from B&M. And back, of course. The ice cream is what makes it more than just another hour on your device while the sights slide past. Point out Fort Gorges to your kids while they try to catch the drips from their cones. 

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum: https://www.mainenarrowgauge.org/ice-cream-train/

  • Published in Kids

The Dog Days Are Here

Parks and Rec. No, not everybody’s favorite binge watch, as much as we love Poehler and Offerman, but Wells Parks and Recreation, right down the road. There is a park with a pavilion on their property at 412 Branch Road in Wells (Rte 9A), and they are holding “The Dog Days of Summer” there on Friday, July 28 from 3 to 7 p.m. As you’ve already guessed, the dogs in question are not figurative; it is a festival of all things canine, to which families with dogs are happily invited.

 

Aside from the fun of frolicking with your pup and others, Dog Days of Summer offers a lot more. Available services and sources of information include free nail trimming from Fetch n’ Fun; toys, food, and other pet accoutrements for sale from Coles Corner, Wells Clothing Outfit, Renee’s Pet Gift Shop, and that great bunch of folks at Love Wally, the site we get our doggie goggles from (hey, we’re dog people, got a problem?); not to mention the soothing presence of Emery Santerre, DVM from Wells Dog and Cat Hospital. Best of all, at 6 p.m. those who exercise with their dogs are welcome to join the 5K Dog Walk.

 

Of course, some of us have not yet entered the new, bigger world that is dog ownership, or have lost a beloved and are currently without a canine companion. Don’t worry. The Animal Welfare Society (46 Holland Rd, Kennebunk) hasn’t forgotten you. Open your heart to the future and go look into adopting one of their fine animals. Dogs will be adoptable from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

 

Asking yourself, why not do both the Dog Days and the brand new friend? Indeed!

 

Event website: http://animalwelfaresociety.org/news_and_events/wells-park-rec-dog-days/

  • Published in Pets

Nine Pizzas Around the Sun

Most readers will remember when the International Astronomical Union got together in 2006, consulted whatever oracles of science they hold dear, and told the rest of us that the planet Pluto had officially been demoted to ‘dwarf planet’ status. Depending on your age and interests at the time, the news item was anything from a major upheaval in your knowledge set, to a quirky two-minute phase in that season’s dinner conversation.

 

But if you feel nostalgic for poor Pluto and want to show your kids a space explorer who gives it the proper respect (as in, the show’s production predates the demotion), fly down to Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast! at USM’s Southworth Planetarium (70 Falmouth St.) on Thursday, July 13 at 11 a.m. Tickets are $5.50, with fifty cents off for seniors and children, and they include a Night Sky Tour presentation in addition to the animated program.

 

The basic premise is that Rusty and his young Rocket Rookies go on a space voyage from the sun to each planet in turn, featuring the latest telescope and probe images of all nine planets from the old mnemonic, “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.” And, when you think about it, the eight-planet mnemonic we have now is sort of a demotion too, food-wise: “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Noodles.” You might have to order OTTO in Pluto’s honor. Go old-school.

 

For even more astronomical fun, go back to Southworth on the following Thursday at the same time of day for The Little Star that Could, a dome show about, of course, a star, who hasn’t been named yet and travels the galaxy to earn his title, meanwhile taking viewers on a tour of all the star types, from white dwarfs to red giants. The immersive nature of the full-dome experience goes far toward doing justice to the visual majesty of celestial bodies. Incidentally, some scientists are pushing to demote certain nebulae to “Minor Gas Cloud” status. But don’t worry, we hear that those are the same guys from the flat-earth camp. Horsehead is safe for now.

 

Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast!: http://usm.maine.edu/planet/rusty-rockets-last-blast-4

The Little Star that Could: http://usm.maine.edu/planet/little-star-could-2

  • Published in Kids

A Mile of Smiles

Everyone knows what social media is. But have you heard of social fitness? It’s a thing. The original definition of the term, referring to the effectiveness and ease with which a person is able to use social skills, is gradually being usurped by a new meaning, combining the ‘social’ part of social media (meeting people, staying in touch with friends and family, and networking) with actual physical fitness. Think flash mob with an emphasis on physical movement.

 

More specifically, in the case of The Dance Mile on Saturday, July 15, well, you can guess from the title, but yes, an emphasis on dancing. The Dance Mile is a nationally touring phenomenon involving a gathering of hundreds of people for a festival-atmosphere registration period with a vendor village and professional dance acts, then a Zumba warm-up followed by 5,280 feet of mobile-DJ-curated nonstop grooving along closed-off streets (starting at Federal and Temple Streets and winding around the Old Port), all capped off by a sponsored post-dance party. The beneficiary for Portland’s Dance Mile is EqualityMaine. Check out the particulars and register at http://thedancemile.com/.

 

Adult tickets are $42.14 after fees, and children are $13.65. You get an official bib, some other swag, and the chance to get in on the ground floor of what might just become a household term: social fitness. Organizers stress the importance of wearing comfortable clothing and shoes, and, this is of vast importance, forgetting about any shyness you may harbor around dancing in front of peers. At The Dance Mile, no one is ever looking!

 

  • Published in Sports

The Other Conversation

It’s the other conversation every parent has to have with their teen, and it’s pretty close in importance to the one about the birds and the bees. That little plastic card that the state chooses to let a youngster carry around after they’ve taken the course and passed the test, that changes a youth’s life, and it certainly changes a parent’s. The first time a teenager asks for the car and doesn’t ask for a caretaker to ride along, horrible visions of accidents (and worse) can flood the adult mind, raising blood pressure and tempting a parent to say, “You can drive alone when you buy your own car,” or something equally emotional and senseless.

 

But you think: Will they remember to check the blind spot? Will they see every stop sign? Will I get a midnight call from a sheriff or a hospital?

 

To reduce the ability of such questions to plague you, tell your young permit or license holder about Ford Driving Skills for Life, to be held at the Brunswick Executive Airport (15 Terminal Rd.) with a total of four complete sessions over July 15 and 16. Register for the free, hands-on (vehicles provided) class at https://www.drivingskillsforlife.com/events-cat/events/state/ME and go bolster your kid’s driving skills. Key areas to be covered include hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed, and space management, which together constitute critical factors in 60 percent of all vehicle accidents. A comprehensive section on "distracted and impaired driving" will also be taught.

 

Ford encourages parents/caregivers to attend with their kids, and even to ride along with them and the instructor. The idea is to increase every family’s collective knowledge of the road and their vehicle’s relation to it. Parents are reminded to always (without exception) set a good driving example, and to allow teens to actively participate in any discussion about driving rather than having them sit and listen to a lecture. At Driving Skills for Life, you’ll both learn something new. And hey, if your kid doesn’t come up with a plan with their crew for after the class, hang around in Brunswick a little longer and hit Frontier!

  • Published in Kids

What's In a Name?

Dog people: Turn off your Hootsuite, tout de suite. The Phoenix is telling you about this one early, because it’s one of those things where you hit your peeps up for pledges, do the thing, and it amounts to writing a big fat check to an org you really love.

 

Up to now, it has been called the Paws for a Cause 5K and Festival, to raise money for Coastal Humane Society and Lincoln County Animal Shelter. However, at some point last year, those fine folks received an email that was not immediately litigious but said, in essence, “That’s our trademark, please cease and desist.” Thus, for 2017 and beyond, we have the illustrious Save a Stray 5K & Festival, to take place on Saturday, August 26, the route to begin and end at L.L.Bean’s Flagship Store (95 Main St, Freeport) and skirt their campus and go through part of downtown Freeport. If you haven’t been up lately, schedule it now, get registered at https://coastalhumanesociety.donorpages.com/SaveAStray5K/ and use it as an excuse to cruise the outlets. Or simply write it off under ‘networking expenses.’ The truth is, dog people don’t have to do either, because it’s all about reducing the suffering and increasing the quality of life for many, many pooches, pups and persons-of-fur.

 

Even the uninitiated can tell it’s a great party, because not only can your own dog come, but what would be waiting for you at the finish line but a meow-mosa or a drooly Mary? Not to mention fun for the kids (Vet for a Day, among other things), demonstrations, and, in another departure from last year, a Worst in Show competition. So brave the wild, with your animal.

  • Published in Pets
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