Gabe Gregoire

Gabe Gregoire

'Dramatic' solution to a summertime conundrum

Every parent faces a challenge during school summer vacation: What’s a good way to keep the kids busy, in a safe, fun, educational environment? Well, your ship may have come in, with Portland Stage Company’s Summer Theater Camps. The week-long camps, based on popular age-appropriate stories, create a lively environment, stewarded by professional actors, directors, artisans and composers. Young imaginations are set ablaze. Personalities emerge. Parents are met with ear-to-ear grins at pick-up time.

This year, the five-day (four, the week of July 4) camps begin on June 20 and run until Aug. 5. Here is a list of camp titles and the stories upon which each is based:

  • WISDOM, COURAGE, ADVENTURE! (The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien)

  • HIGH SCHOOL CONSERVATORY (Hamlet by William Shakespeare)

  • MUSICAL MIDDLE SCHOOL MAYHEM!  (Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney)

  • CAMP RAMONA! (8 tales of Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary)

  • MIDDLE SCHOOL SHAKESPEARE CONSERVATORY (A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare)

  • 24-FOOT TALL TALES! (BFG by Roald Dahl)

  • CAMP HALF BLOOD! (Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan)

  • CAMP HOGWARTS! (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling)

  • COMIC CAMP! (All New X-Men by Brian Michael Bendis)

  • MAGIC TRUNK! (various)

  • FROM THE LANDS BEYOND TO THE CASTLE IN THE AIR! (Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster)

For more information, including scholarships and aftercare, and to register, go to or call 207.774.1043 x104.

  • Published in Kids

Worry less about your dog this summer

Summer is the time for taking your dog out for longer walks, to new areas of the city and surrounding territory, even on trips farther out of town, or out of state, for hiking, climbing and other adventures. The long and the short of it is, the more your furry friend is outside, the better statistical chance the two of you have of getting separated. The danger is especially high, this time of year. During summertime thunderstorms or fireworks, a dog may become frightened, and bolt. Even the toughest grown man or woman can be struck with fear and near-debilitating worry when their beloved pet is lost.

There is no absolutely foolproof solution or preventive measure for this dilemma, but one step a dog owner can take for security and peace of mind is to microchip the pet. That way, if the lost dog ends up at an animal shelter or veterinary facility, they will be scanned, and the owner’s contact information will become available to the staff in question.

Some pet owners are leery because of the pain that the admittedly large-bore needle can cause when the chip is administered, but if you and your canine companion can tough it out, come to the low-cost microchip clinic at Planet Dog (211 Marginal Way) on Sunday, June 26th, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Planet Dog Company Store Manager Kristin Burgess has seen a lot of dogs get microchipped. “It’s becoming more and more common for dogs to be identified this way. It’s a valuable tool to identify your dog, as a lot of dogs will lose their tags or collar. What better way to protect your dog and also support our local animal shelter [The ARLGP]? Every dog that gets microchipped [next Sunday] will leave with a goodie bag full of treats, a Planet Dog sticker, and other surprises.”

Chips are $35 per pet. Planet Dog can be reached at 207.347.8606.

  • Published in Pets

'It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... a dog?'

Do you have the smartest, fastest, strongest dog in Southern Maine? You have a chance to prove it, at the 8th annual Pet Life/Blue Buffalo ‘Dock Dogs’ event at the Scarborough Pet Life (200 Expedition Drive) on June 24, 25 and 26.

This family event is chock-full of fun and competition for athletic dogs, who will be competing in events with names like Big Air, Speed Retrieve, and Extreme Vertical. Hear the crowd cheer as your faithful companion summons his courage and leaps into the 40-foot pool. Win bragging rights and kick off summer with families that love dogs, too. Expert and beginner canines alike are welcome.

Pet Life will be serving hamburgers on Saturday and Sunday. There will be games to entertain the kids, and killer sales on pet food and other items inside Pet Life.

Pete Risano, president of Pet Life, said, “It’s a lot of work to figure out how to get the pool filled up with 27,000 gallons full of water, make sure the landlords are okay with it all, but it’s all worth it when you see the look on the dogs’ faces when they’re jumping in the water. Everybody has fun, regardless of whether you’re an adult, a child, a man, a woman, or a dog. In fact, we encourage people to bring their dogs, even if you don’t compete. There will be plenty of free samples and extra discounts throughout the store. Rain or shine, it’s a good time.”

View the schedule of events and get registration information at:

Pet Life Scarborough’s number is 207-883-3674.

  • Published in Pets

Participate in a 'community conversation'

Feeling concern for children and families who may have trouble buying groceries, or may live in unstable situations, or find other stressors at home, is commonplace among citizens of a first-world country like ours. But imagine living in a place where the sound of gunfire and the fear of kidnapping or persecution were familiar to your children, so much so that you made an arduous journey to bring them to a safer, but entirely unfamiliar, country. Among many other concerns, you’d be worried about how well they did in their new schools.

That’s what the second annual "A Community Conversation," hosted by the Center for Grieving Children’s Intercultural Advisory Council and made possible by support from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, is about. It will be held in the Rines Auditorium at the Portland Public Library (5 Monument Way) on Wednesday, June 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Mayor Ethan Strimling will welcome participants to a discussion about educational challenges and opportunities for new Mainers, especially children and teens, who have experienced loss, grief, violence and family changes in their original homelands. Emphasis will be placed on the ways and means for community members to support these families’ well-being and success.

Speakers, including members of the Advisory Council, representatives from Portland Public Schools, parents, and students, will bring their unique perspectives to the discussion. The conversation will focus on education (specifically success in school for children and teens), family, emotional and social support, and the role of schools and communities.

"When families have experienced a loss of culture, language and community, adults are under tremendous pressure, and the children and teenagers often feel misunderstood and isolated," said Anne Heros, Center for Grieving Children executive director. "The Center's Intercultural Program, in partnership with Portland Public Schools, helps support those students in expressing their feelings of loss and change while reconnecting to community supporting their school success. We are pleased to be able to bring more people into an intercultural conversation about how we together create acceptance and healing in our community."

Preregistration is strongly encouraged. If you would like to attend, please email Sue Calhoun at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, language spoken, and number of guests.

For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or navigate to | Portland Public Library: 207.871.1700

  • Published in Kids

A note to animal lovers

It’s no secret that there are many, many animals in this country, including in Maine, that would be faithful, loving family companions if only they had a home. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, over 30 percent of shelter dogs end up being euthanized, and over 40 percent of cats in shelters face the same fate, totalling a loss of 2.7 million animals each and every year.

We can only fight this one adoption at a time. Think of your family dog growing up, or a favorite cat that only you really understood.

Every animal has the potential to be that special to someone, and if you have the space in your heart and your home, that someone could be you all over again, with these adoption events coming up:


Sponsored by Lucky Pup Rescue | Saturday, June 11 | 11:00am-2:00pm | Gorham Growl | 2 Main St., Gorham | 207.839.4795 | Sunday, June 12 | 11:00am-2:00pm | The Whole Dog Market SoPo | 429 Preble St., Unit 2, South Portland | 207.747.4284


Sponsored by the Animal Welfare Society | Saturday, June 18 | noon-2:00pm | Petco | 220 Maine Mall Rd, South Portland | 207.772.9119 | Saturday, July 2 | noon-2:00pm | PetSmart | 700 Gallery Ave., Scarborough | 207.289.2738

  • Published in Pets

Getting kids involved with food prep

We all want our kids to grow up to be capable, self-sufficient adults. That means, of course, leading by example when it comes to demonstrating life skills, but a little direct teaching never hurts either. This week, in the arena of food preparation, the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine (142 Free St.) is offering two chances for children to be introduced to the things they will need to know to support themselves later on.

The first, ‘Cooking Class: Strawberry Shortcake,’ will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, and again at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 16. Kids will get the chance to investigate the chemical reactions involved in baking. They will also dissect strawberries, learning about each part of the fruit. The most fun? Beating up a batch of homemade whipped cream! It goes without saying that the result of these experiments will be the seasonal treat to end all treats, strawberry shortcake.

For members, admission to this class is $5. For guests, the cost is $7 plus museum admission.

The second cooking class is a Butter Making Workshop, offered on Wednesday, June 15 at 10:15 a.m. After learning the origins of this ubiquitous food, from dairy farm to creamery to supermarket to the fridge, kids will have the opportunity to make their own butter, and will produce a small jar to bring home. Be sure to tell them how delicious it is on your toast the following morning! Recommended for children ages 4 and up.

Admission to the workshop is $5 for museum members, and $6 plus admission for guests.

Registration for both events is encouraged, and may be accomplished by calling 207.828.1234 x231 or stopping by the front desk.

  • Published in Kids

Is your kid a star?

If your retirement plan is for your child to grow up to be the next Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts, the place to get them started outside of Hollywood is the Main Stage Theatre Meet and Greet at the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine (142 Free St.) on Friday, June 3 at 5 p.m.

This is the chance for kids with a flair for the dramatic to become familiar with how it feels to be onstage, play theatre games, and unleash that energy that calls a certain few to perform for an audience. They will be able to meet the directors of the Museum's theatre program, and best of all, learn all there is to know about the summer drama series, "Written in the Stars," including information about how to audition for the upcoming kids’ production of Icarus and Daedalus.

The auditions themselves will take place the following day, Saturday, June 4, same location, starting at 10:30 a.m. Beginners and experienced actors aged 8 to 17 are welcome. And there's no need to have anything memorized. Roles will begin to be assigned based on how youngsters perform during games and movement exercises. The most important? Pretending to fly. You can bet Brad Pitt did plenty of that at a young age. And there's no fun like theatre fun, so be sure to make it!

Meet and Greet free with $2/person admission | Production of Icarus and Daedalus runs July 21 to Aug. 5 | Information: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Published in Kids

Puppy party at Aubuchon

They're cute. They're furry. Their only skill is showing unconditional love. They're puppies, and they're up for adoption at the Animal Refuge League's puppy party at Aubuchon Hardware (832 Stevens Ave) on Saturday, June 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is meant to be enjoyed by the entire family, including the kids and the four-legged friends that might need a younger dog to help keep them lively.

Hot dogs and other snacks will be available, as well as a bounce house to keep the children entertained while you fill out the adoption paperwork for your newest companion. And even if that's not in the cards, donations will be gratefully accepted to support the ARLGP’s mission to keep animals healthy and happy and connect them with loving families. It's a win-win. So come out and enjoy the day!

The ARLGP may be reached at 207.854.9771. Aubuchon's phone is 207.871.0383.

  • Published in Pets

Working 'Side by Side' brings innovation to young people

Those readers who picked up this issue on press day have a chance to support an important Portland children’s program by attending the Side-x-Side Exhibit Reception at the Portland Public Library (5 Monument Square) on Thursday, May 26 at 4:30 p.m.

Side-x-Side is a local nonprofit that works in partnership with University of Southern Maine and other Portland institutions, currently partially funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant. Working to bring creativity, innovation and critical thinking into the classroom through the arts, Side-x-Side has fostered two major projects in local schools this year, resulting in the following two exhibits:

“Bird Books,” the first of the two, made amateur ornithologists out of first-graders at East End Community School. Side-x-Side teaching artists Leah Cross and Sarah Herboldsheimer assigned a specific bird to each student to research, write about and draw pictures of, with the culmination being hand-made books detailing the birds’ habitat, diet, life cycle and adaptations. These beautiful books are a must-see.

The second project, “Mapping Our Portland,” involved third-graders from Reiche and East End Community Schools. These young cartographers developed map-making skills including scale, perspective, and symbology, under the tutelage of Leah Cross, and Milly Brown of MollyMaps. Students made maps of the places they knew and put them together into their own personal atlases. But that wasn’t all. One map from each atlas was brought to life with watercolors, and these paintings were combined to form one map-mural of the city of Portland for each classroom. It is these murals that you will see at the reception.

Cross said, “The most important thing about the Side-x-Side is getting the kids more art. Most only have about 40 minutes in art class. The [fact that] Side-x-Side projects are tied directly into the curriculum not only gets [students] more time learning about all sorts of different art techniques and mediums, but it also shows them that it doesn't have to be a separate activity in all different aspects of what they're learning. My favorite thing about the mapping project was the level of excitement the kids had every time we were there to work with them, and seeing different parts of the projects come together, and how amazing the final results were after all of their hard work!”


  • Published in Kids

A special day at the Seashore Trolley Museum

Dog owners, mark your calendars for Seashore Trolley Dog Day, at the Seashore Trolley Museum (195 Log Cabin Rd, Kennebunkport), on Saturday, June 4.

The Dog Day is an all-day event, happening rain or shine, and is a great chance to mix and mingle and play with other canines and their companions, amidst the living history of the museum.

Some of the goings-on that will be featured:

  • • Blessing of the dogs, by Pastor Jan Hryniewicz of the Union Church in Biddeford.

• Adoptable dogs and puppies, from both the Animal Welfare Society and Lucky Pup Rescue.

• Book sale and signing of “Gooch’s Pooches: The Dogs of Kennebunk Beach,” with photographer Robert Dennis and editor Annette Hall Quezada.

• Demonstrations from The Capable Canine.

• Information from area veterinary practices.

• Hot dog lunch specials at the Museum Store.

• Trolley rides and museum exhibits, with dogs welcome.

Sally Bates, the executive director of the museum, said, “Seashore Trolley Museum understands that our dogs are family members, and that’s why we are dog-friendly. Dogs bring so much joy, love, and entertainment to our lives that it’s fitting to have a day that focuses on them and gives them a chance to hang out together in this amazing place!”

Seashore Trolley Museum may be reached at 207.967.2712.

  • Published in Pets
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