Gabe Gregoire

Gabe Gregoire

STAGES Youth Theater moves to Woodfords Corner

Stacey and Hollye believe in kids and in creating a community where they can feel confident and supported, and the kids always blow us all away with their accomplishment. STAGES is already a wonderful gift to many Maine 'theater kids' and we're all excited to share it with even more area youth.”

 

These are the words of Maria Fox, a STAGES Youth Theater Trustee, on the opening of their new children’s theater facility in the former gymnasium of Woodfords Church here in Portland. STAGES Youth Theater, a year-round theater company in its tenth year of presenting all-student, professional-quality productions, was founded in Scarborough in 2007. Co-directors Stacey Koloski and Hollye Seddon operated the company out of leased studio spaces and rented venues for shows all over greater Portland. STAGES moved to South Portland in 2010, all the while producing dozens of shows with casts of kids, everything from the traditional “The Wizard of Oz,” to the edgier “Sweeney Todd.” Now, with this move into Portland proper, Koloski and Seddon are confident that their “STAGES in the Schools” program will flourish even more.

 

Through the program, STAGES Youth Theater partners with area preschools, elementary and middle schools, reaching hundreds of local schoolchildren each week. Imaginations are unlocked. Self-esteem soars.

 

Registration is non-competitive and ‘first come, first served.’ Maine children aged 3-18 may register at http://www.stagesacademy.com for the upcoming fall season, the first in the new space. This season will feature productions of “Fun with Frog & Toad,” “Annie JR,” “Hamlet,” and many others.

 

Co-director Koloski said, “We are thrilled to be building our own performing arts venue to provide a consistent, safe, and happy environment in which kids can create amazing theater together.”

 

STAGES Youth Theater Company: 207-699-3330

  • Published in Kids

In honor of our dogs

This Friday, Aug. 26, is National Dog Day. It is a chance to set aside some time to remember, celebrate, and most of all, honor all things canine. A great way to do that this week is to combat the primary misconception that we all have had about dog training. That is, the term itself is a misnomer. It is actually we humans that need to train ourselves when in a new relationship with a pup, and help them adapt to our human world.

Pet expert Alyona DelaCoeur of “Why Does My Dog” (http://whydoesmydog.com/), a video-driven "human training" site, offers these tips when beginning the adventure of pet parenthood:

  1. Dogs Are Animals, Not Little Humans With Fur

    1. It is a useless endeavor to try to fit your dog into the mold of the perfect animal. There is no such thing. It is important to understand that animal behaviors are natural, each serving a biological and psychological purpose, whether we label it ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ It is appropriate to establish rules about things like barking, growling, chewing and marking, but not to try to stop them altogether.

  2. As the Human, You Are the Boss

    1. Animals understand hierarchies, and you are at the top of your dog’s. Like your boss at work, you make the rules, and it is up to you whether you enforce them with positive reinforcement and encouragement, or belittlement and punishment.

  3. Dogs Are Mind Readers

    1. A dog can read the subtlest cues coming from their human parent, from facial expressions to the tiny ‘tells’ in our movements. We, however, often miss or misinterpret behaviors or communication signals coming from them. Worse, we may try to stop them altogether. Educate yourself on these behaviors and signals before beginning training.

  4. Dogs Are Simple. Humans Complicate It

    1. Canines generally follow one step of causality: First this happened, then that did. They form associations from these first-thens, and behave accordingly in the future. Knowing this, we can learn what to expect, and what appropriate feedback to give.

As you learn more, you’ll be less worried about keeping it all in the front of your mind, as it becomes second nature. You’re going to need that brain space for all the fun you’ll have, loving and nurturing your animal, especially on National Dog Day.

  • Published in Pets

Drivers, start your engines!

You’ve heard people say, “It’s so boring, just a million left turns,” or, “Oh boy, let’s drive around in circles.” But you know better. Something in the bone-shaking roar of those finely tuned engines calls to your primal side. And the skill, strategy and finesse of your favorite driver and his team appeal to your higher mind at the same time. It’s the best of both worlds. Well, you’ve waited long enough. The richest single-day short-track racing event in North America is here.

That’s right: The 43rd annual Oxford 250 at Maine’s own Oxford Plains Speedway (23 miles north of Exit 63 on Route 26) is taking place on Aug. 26, 27 and 28. Sunday is the big night, with an expected start time of between 5 and 6 p.m.

Tickets are $15 to $50, depending on age and row, with regular general admission at $35. To reserve yours, call the OPS main office at 207.539.8865.

The race is Pro All Stars Series (PASS) sanctioned, and is a Super Late Model event. NASCAR champions that have competed in past Oxford 250s include Jeff Gordon, Bobby and Terry Labonte, and Kurt and Kyle Busch. The winner this year will win a tidy $25,000.

For more information, visit http://www.oxfordplains.com/250_homepage.htm

… and on the way up, we all get excited, but watch your speed. Enjoy the race.

  • Published in Sports

A magical tour with chocolate delicacies

Were you a kid when you saw the famous episode of I Love Lucy where she and Ethel have jobs in a chocolate factory, and they can’t keep up with the assembly line conveyor belt? Did it make you wonder about those seemingly unstoppable machines, and what it would be like to be surrounded by them, churning out thousands of bonbons for untold numbers of people?

If you think a chocolate factory would hold the same sense of fun and wonder for your kids, take them for a tour of the factory and assembly line at Wilbur’s of Maine (174 Lower Main St., Freeport), offered every half hour between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Aug. 29 and Aug. 31.

The cost is $3.50 per person, which includes plenty of samples, and a lot of interesting knowledge about the history, family-oriented philosophy, and mechanical workings of this local company.


Wilbur’s of Maine can be reached at 207.865.6129.

  • Published in Kids

Are you afraid of needles?

How much do you love your pet? If you’re like most of us, you generally bring your dog out to do his business even in a horrible ice storm, or alert every person you know in a ten-mile radius when your indoor cat gets lost outside. But would you get a tattoo? That’s the idea behind the joint fundraiser sponsored by the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland and Fianna Studio Tattoos (276 Woodford St., Portland). For the second year in a row, the artists at Fianna will cover all overhead and supply costs and offer a wide variety of pet-themed tattoos, with all money raised going to benefit the animals at the ARLGP.

Fianna artists tattooed over 40 people for the event last year (remember, it is a two-person operation), and raised over $4,000. Prove your love for your companion, or your love for animals in general, and help them beat those numbers this year.

James McGrory, proprietor and artist at Fianna Studio, said, “The best part is coming from such small beginnings. We’re an off-the-map studio, and to have such a clientele to raise that kind of money and awareness for the animals that need help is amazing.”

 

ARLGP: 207.854.9771

Fianna Studio: 207.239.5615

  • Published in Pets

Want to play softball?

Have you ever scooped up a fast grounder and shot it to first to beat the runner? Have you ever smacked a line drive right into the sweet spot to load up the bases, with the team’s powerhouse on deck? Have you ever wanted to? Read on.

Casco Bay Sports ( http://www.cascobaysports.com/ ) is sponsoring a Sunday Fall Co-ed Softball league, and there is still time to register as a single player or as a team. Games are to be held on Sundays, of course, at 9:00 a.m, 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. starting on Aug. 21. The fields are, in Portland, Payson Park, Kiley Fied, and Riverton Field, and in Westbrook, Portland & Fraser Field.

The season consists of six games, plus single-elimination playoffs. Umpires are board certified. Batting orders will alternate between genders. Games will be seven innings long, with every batter’s count starting at 1-1. Players must be 21 years of age or older.

Registrations for individuals are $65, and $750 for a full team. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 207.221.0203.

 

So get your glove, and pick up a couple bags of sunflower seeds on the way. It’s game time.

  • Published in Sports

Family Canoe Tours at Scarborough Marsh

If you’re from rural Maine, as many Portlanders are, chances are that your kids are familiar with the joys of camping, hiking, and being near one lake or another. But if it’s been awhile, or you’re not one of those lucky families who have gotten a lot of nature time, head down to the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center (136 Pine Point Road, Scarborough) on any day of the week at 10:00 a.m. for a Guided Canoe Tour amidst the marsh and the waters of the Dunstan River.

Paddling through the marsh, you’ll be sure to witness its flora and fauna in their natural habitat. Don’t be surprised if you see a heron or an egret, feeding in the reeds. As for the plants, your guide, a trained naturalist, will introduce you to the marsh plants, even giving the kids a bite of one of the edible ones.

For Audubon members, adults are $10.00, children $8.00. Non-members are $12.00 and $9.00, respectively.  No reservations are necessary. Canoes, life jackets and paddles are available at the center. No paddling experience is necessary. Tours run daily through September 5th.

Contact information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (207) 883-5100.

  • Published in Kids

Four upcoming area runs

If you grew up running in Maine, you know how beautiful the landscape is, from the Downeast hills to the northern forests to the rocky coast. Something about the air here makes the miles slip away as if you were dreaming. Even recent Portland transplants are known to comment on Maine’s natural beauty, and they know they want to stay, see more, and run through it all.

This is prime season for foot races in the area. Here are four coming up in the next few weeks. Good luck!

  1. The Bradbury Mountain Breaker

    1. Time/Place: Sunday, Aug. 14, Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal

    2. Distance: Two laps on a single track up and down Bradbury Mountain, totaling 9 miles.

    3. Description: A very hilly and technical run. According to the Maine Sports Commission, “If you’re not begging for mercy during the first lap, you will be on the second.”

    4. URL: http://trailmonsterrunning.com/

  2. The Power of She 5K

    1. Time/Place: Sunday, Aug. 21, USM Campus, Portland

    2. Distance: 5 kilometers

    3. Description: A race for women on city roads, well marked and staffed, posted with inspiring quotes to consider as you run.

    4. URL: http://thepowerofshe.me/

  3. Last Man Standing Ultramarathon

    1. Time/Place: Saturday, Sept. 3, Pineland Farms, West Pownal

    2. Distance: A 4.2-mile loop that you must complete in under 60 minutes in order to qualify to race in the next lap. When there is only one athlete at the starting line ready to begin again, he or she is declared the winner.

    3. Description: A double track with slight elevation gain. Baxter Brewing ale, music, and food trucks on site.

    4. URL: http://lastmanultra.back40timing.com/

  4. Freeport Half-Marathon & 5K

    1. Time/Place: Sunday, Sept. 11, Bow Street start, Freeport

    2. Distance: 13.1 miles or 5 kilometers

    3. Description: Chip-timed, challenging (and beautiful) course in the area surrounding Freeport.

    4. URL: http://www.freeporthalfmarathon.com/

  • Published in Sports

Five off-leash dog areas in Portland

Everybody knows that dogs love and need to run. It keeps their bodies and their temperaments healthy. And if you’re a Portlander, you may have a favorite spot where you take your pet(s) to exercise and socialize with other dogs, without the confinement of a leash.

But you may not be aware of all five of the following locations where such fun times are encouraged:

  1. Jack School Dog Run

    1. Location: 195 North St. (behind the school), East End

    2. Fenced: No

  2. Eastern Promenade Park Off-Leash Area

    1. Location: Eastern Prom & Cutter Street, East End

    2. Fenced: No

  3. Capisic Pond Park

    1. Location: Lucas Street & Brighton Avenue, Deering Center

    2. Fenced: No

    3. Other: Dogs must remain under strict voice control on the trail.

  4. Valley Street Dog Park

    1. Location: Valley and D Streets, West End

    2. Fenced: Yes

    3. Other: Equipped with a water station and some shade.

  5. Quarry Run Dog Park

    1. Location: 1026 Ocean Ave., East Deering

    2. Fenced: Yes, with a smaller fenced area for small dogs as well.

    3. Other: Seven acres of property.


So don't let the summer pass you by. Get out there and make those dogs happy!

  • Published in Pets

Kulinary Kids Cooking School in South Portland

Many of us showed an interest as children in what our parents were doing in the kitchen, and some were lucky enough to be taught the basics. Kids today are even more enterprising, and may not be satisfied with being allowed to make the salad or chop the squash. If this reminds you of your young protegés, sign them up for the Kulinary Kids Cooking School, a day camp for kids ages 11 to 16, running Aug. 22 to 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, at The Maine Table (700 Main St.) in South Portland.

Chef Bill Irish, who brings Chopped Challenge experience, will lead the camp. He will teach from many cuisines, including French, Japanese, Mediterranean, Thai, and more, including good old American comfort food. The end of the week will feature a Chopped Challenge theme for campers to enjoy. Each will go home with a recipe packet.

Tuition is $250. For more information or to register, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2551552 , email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call 207.703.8820.

  • Published in Kids
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