Friday, August 11, 2017

The Advice Chief: How to get the exact career position you desire by Jeff “Chief” Urbaniak

Are you stuck in a job you don’t like? Do you feel the desire to change careers? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do for a living? 

Sometimes a job or career change, or even the pursuit of your ideal job or way of life, is necessary or desired. It is extremely rare when someone finds a job or profession they truly love every hour of every day. That concept is basically a pipe dream. Nonetheless, a job or career that is personally and professionally rewarding is much better than one that makes you miserable most of the time.

First of all, it is important to have a job or source of income to pay your bills and debts, as well as provide shelter, clothing and food for you and your family. So, quitting a job because you don’t like, it is not always the practical dive to take, unless it has become truly harmful to your sanity, safety or well-being.

Ideally, you want to transition to a new job or career with as little of a gap as possible between employment or income generating activities. Here’s what you can do, even if your actions have to be gradual and discreet, to make that transition efficiently:

1. Truly learn what talents and traits you have and need.
Is there a skill you need to develop to put a talent into action? If so, get trained and/or educated so you can have that skill. Or do you have a unique personality trait that can be of great value in certain jobs or careers? In some way you are gifted or can become gifted, so get to the point where you can use your gift to your advantage as well as for the benefit of others.

2. Do some research.
Which type of companies, organizations or people can benefit from your talents or skills? Where are they located? Read trade magazines, newspapers and books and scan corporate websites (your local public library is a great resource to access these sources for free).

3. Study prospective employers so you are knowledgeable or aware of policies, personnel and chances for advancement.
Are these things a good fit for you? If so, determine how your talents or skills can benefit them and/or their customers or clients. Forget about “a job.” Forget whether or not there is an opening. Forget the usual routine of “have you got a job for me?” Concentrate on what you can give.

4. Once you have your plan in mind, arrange with an experienced writer, to help you put it in writing--neat form and in full detail.
Usually this is in a résumé and cover letter format, but perhaps you can be creative and maybe make a PowerPoint presentation, a brochure or maybe even a website. After all, you’re selling yourself as someone who can give something of value; whether it is ideas, services or connections, so you want your message on a medium that will grab someone’s attention and make them interested in you. Every company or organization has room for the person who has a definite plan of action it can value from--so make it obvious to them that they have room for you!

5. Be sure your message is delivered to the right person who has the authority to make the decision to bring you on board.
(The pencil pusher in human resources IS NOT that person!) Find a way to cross paths with this person even if you have to slip in the back door to do it. Or maybe you can make an appointment by contacting their administrative assistant. If their assistant is reluctant in accommodating your request, don’t say it’s a job interview rather, emphasize the importance of the appointment being to present a tremendous opportunity for the company or organization.

6. Lastly, you can look within your own company or organization to create an opportunity for yourself.
My daughter, who has been slowly working her way up in her company, emailed this message to the company president after she completed numerous marketing projects for him per his request (tasks/duties outside of her job description): “[Our company] could use a marketing/communications coordinator to work cross-departmentally, maybe someone who has worked in most of the departments and knows our products very well. I have a résumé if you’re interested.” To which he replied, “Okay, bring me your résumé.” She immediately walked down the hallway and handed it to him. So now what do you think her chances are of getting this position if he actually creates it? (And probably with an accompanying pay raise!) So don’t be afraid to go after what you want. Use these strategies and always demand to be paid what you’re worth. If you do, your chances of getting the exact position you desire become bigger and better than you ever thought possible.

The Love Canal – A reminder that actions can have devastating consequences by Michelle Libby

Sometimes on vacation learning opportunities fall in your lap and you have to just go with it. This was the case on our college tour/Niagara Falls trip. Every time I said Niagara Falls, my 17-year-old would say “and the Love Canal.” 
Eventually the question had to be asked . . . “What is the Love canal?”
“It’s the site of one of the worst environmental disasters in America”, I was informed.
“Why do we have to go there?” I asked. 

Trash and chemical dump at the Love Canal (now just a grassy area)
I’ve never considered myself an environmentalist. I like nature, but I never wanted to hug trees. I guess I’ve taken for granted what we have here in Maine. Things like the Love Canal have happened all over the country. People have made decisions without thinking of the ramifications. 

After a quick run to Walmart and Sam’s Club, I was informed that we were only a short distance from the site. Not sure what we were going to find, I drove us to a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York. It looked like any suburban neighborhood with small houses, a senior center and a senior housing facility all in use. Across the street was a fenced off area, acres of green grass; but what still is just below the surface is terrifying to think about even 40 years after the problems began. 

On the far side of the fence was the ghost town of what was supposed to be a model community, but it turned into a nightmare for over 220 families. We drove the eerily quiet streets with the sidewalks, driveways and street lights, but no homes or children were on these streets. As we drove my husband read to us about the history of the area. 

The Love Canal was named after William T. Love, who bought the land to build his model community where water from the upper Niagara River would flow through his canal into the lower Niagara River to generate power. However, Love ran out of money in 1907, when investors had to pull out due to an economic downturn years before. 

In the 1920s, it became a dumpsite for industrial waste from the booming city of Niagara Falls. In the 1940s, Hooker Chemical Company began using the site as a place to dispose of its chemical waste until the early 1950s. Hooker Chemical bought the canal and surrounding area in 1947. After lining the canal with clay, it disposed a total of 21,800 tons of chemicals. In 1948, Hooker Chemical became sole owner of the land.

In the fifties, it became obvious that Niagara needed more land for the population explosion that was taking place. When Hooker Chemical decided not to use the site anymore, it sealed the chemicals under clay and sold the property to the city for $1 with the clause that no one could sue them because of the chemicals stored underground. 

The site was used for two elementary schools. For me, the kicker was that the children that attended those schools were my age. If I had lived in Niagara Falls, I would have attended one of those schools. I might be dealing with health issues to this day and the chemicals could have affected my children.

The land adjacent to the schools was sold to developers who wanted to use the land to put in a neighborhood. Because the land being developed was not part of the original transaction with Hooker Chemical it wasn’t disclosed to the families, who were purchasing the homes, that the site was once a 16-acre chemical disposal. When they were building the houses the clay seal was breached repeatedly, according to reports. The chemicals really began leaking after a particularly heavy snow fall and snow melt, raising the water table.

We drove the streets where the neighborhood once stood. The houses were demolished and the over 400 families were relocated. Over 200 homes closest to the site were taken down. The families were given money for their homes to the tune of $15 million from state and federal funds. This was the first emergency money ever paid for something other than a natural disaster. However, the damage was more than chemical-filled water in basements. It was in the emotional scars and birth defects that plagued that generation and the next. The area is still being monitored today and families that moved back into the area are concerned that their health issues are related to the chemicals.

It wasn’t until 1977, that an official investigation was conducted. Reporters uncovered the story and pushed until something was done for the families in the area. There are so many more details to this story, so many that we might never hear about, so many that remain covered up. I am horrified that no one stood up and said, “Hey, this might be a bad idea.” Or “Maybe we should listen to those families over on 100th Street.”

The rest of our trip was spent doing research and talking about what happened in this corner of New York. How could something like that happen? Could something like that happen in Windham? We never know what the impact of our decisions could be later in life. 

We never would have known that a place like the Love Canal existed, if it wasn’t for my son hearing about it on a podcast. Someone decided that it was a story that shouldn’t be buried. Things that are swept under the rug are destined to be repeated. We need to learn from what has happened in the past, so it won’t happen again. 

You may not be a “tree hugger” or care about the environment, but we all care about what could happen if we are not responsible with our actions. Every time I think about these families and what they must have gone through, I cringe. The Love Canal isn’t some sweet, romantic ride at an amusement park. It is a reminder that our actions have lasting consequence. I had to drive to upstate New York and be forced by my teenager to learn what happened there. Maybe it’s time to listen.

Raymond Village Library assists in hosting an “Evening Star Party at Hacker’s Hill”

Loon Echo Land Trust and Southworth Planetarium, along with Casco and Raymond Libraries invite you to a relaxing evening under the summer sky, and if conditions allow - shooting stars! The Perseids Meteor Shower is always a favorite due to the warm summer temperatures.

At its peak, this shower seems to originate from the constellation Perseus, giving rise to the name
Perseids. In between shooting stars, gaze through telescopes, high powered binoculars and get familiar with “apps” for smart phones and tablets which make learning about the night sky even more fun! Make sure to bring a comfortable chair, bug spray, drinks and snacks.

“Raymond Village Library will provide some of the telescopes to make sure there will be enough for everyone to have a chance to look into the night sky,” stated Allison Griffin, Library Director.

Meet at the summit at 9 p.m. Come earlier if you want to view the sunset. Please park in the “Event Parking” area to the right of the summit. The Evening Star Party event will last approximately 3 hours and is considered an easy walk.

For more information, contact Allison Griffin at 207-655-4283 or email at:

For more information about the Loon Echo Land Trust, go to their website at: or call 207- 647-4352.

Loon Echo offers a monthly event at one of our preserves. All outdoor hikes and walks are subject to weather conditions and/or date changes. Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather conditions and varied terrain. Bring water and snacks with you on the trail.

Jewish Shabbat Service Friday at Seeds of Peace Camp

A Friday evening Shabbat Service will be held at the Seeds of Peace Camp, 183 Powhattan Road, in Otisfield on Friday, August 18, beginning at 6 p.m.  The service will be held out-of- doors on the lake shore, weather permitting. People of all faiths in the Windham and Raymond communities and surrounding areas who are interested, are invited to attend this service.
A reception (“oneg”) will be held after the service.

The Jewish Day of Rest begins Friday evening at sunset and ends Saturday evening. Typically there is a service on Friday evening in Hebrew and English. A short prayer book based on Reform and Conservative Jewish Practice will be used.

Summer residents living around Pleasant Lake (“Kehilat” Casco) organize services of this kind from time to time every summer.  

For more information, contact Larry Wolff at 207-627-3838.

Rick Charette rocks Dundee Park despite the thunder and lightning threat by Michelle Libby

Dundee Park saw record attendance at the third concert of the season, despite the rumbles of thunder and lightning in the distance. The Dundee Park Concert Series is in its second year and has caught on as a place to see live music, cool off and visit with friends. Last week featured local musician Rick Charette and his pint-sized fans. 
“We’ve had good support,” said Parks and Recreation Director, Linda Brooks. The four week concert series is the ideal length according to Brooks, who added that Wednesday nights are perfect, too. In August there isn’t as much evening light and people start getting ready to go back to school, she said. 

Non-profits provided snacks, water, hotdogs and popcorn during the concerts. This year the organizations were: the Lions Club, Windham Rec campers, a 4-H group and the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 148. The final concert was August 9. At Charette’s concert, the Auxiliary unit and Gorham Savings Bank’s Windham branch were there to do glitter tattoos and Mulberry Farms sold organic produce. 

Charette was the only performer who also performed last year. “It was fun last year. It’s unique. A show by the water with a lot of swimming and splashing in the water,” he said. He even planned his song “Popcorn” to interact with the swimmers however the storm had everyone out of the water early.
From Windham, Charette has spent 40 years performing around the country and in the Windham community. “Some parents are bringing their kids because they grew up with the music. It overwhelms me,” Charette said. While he is performing he hears the adults in the crowd singing as loud as the children.  

The concert had a rushed feel, with Charette playing most of his most requested songs at the beginning as he raced the impending storm that held off until after the concert.
Charette put on an interactive and fun show, and he showed no sign of slowing down. “It’s still fun and I still feel like I’m connecting with audiences,” he said.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Three Easy Ways to Monitor for Brand Mentions, Phrases, and Feedback Online by David Pride

No one likes it when someone talks negatively behind their back. It's even worse now since it is so easy to trash talk someone or something on social media - and half the time the brands don't respond anyhow. According to a recent study by Sprout Social, only 1 in 10 brands respond to messages received via social media. Those numbers are way worse if the message was just a random comment thrown out onto the internet.
Here are 3 easy ways to monitor for brand mentions, phrases, and feedback online.

Google Alerts: A popular free tool that is super easy to set up. Simply navigate to From there you can choose to be alerted by email when certain words are mentioned online, or even certain phrases. Wouldn't it be great to be alerted daily whenever someone mentions your brand or industry? Did I mention this tool is FREE?

How you could benefit: Set an alert so you are notified whenever someone mentions your name, brand or industry. Use those alerts for fresh content within your social media calendar and grow your presence as an industry leader by sharing content that is totally fresh.

A Social Management Tool: Using a tool like Sprout Social ( allows you to not only manage all your social media profiles in one place but it also allows you to monitor social media for mentions, all from one easy dashboard. Google Alerts will limit you to what's being said on websites and within blogs, Sprout Social (or most other social media management tools) will display alerts from all your social networks also! With Sprout, you can even respond to people who didn't tag your brand (based on their privacy settings) but did mention you in a status, tweet, post etc.

How you could benefit: Think of a list of short phrases that may be buying signals that your community may say online or on Twitter. Add those phrases to your social media management tool and look for ways to add value - without being a pushy salesman. 

For instance, one of our clients is a firearms manufacturer so instead of just depending on customers tagging us with their questions we are constantly monitoring for buying indications that don't even mention the client, such as "Looking for a new rifle." We also monitor our competitions’ mentions so we can look for ways to answer questions about their products - ultimately showcasing our expertise in the field and exposing us to new potential customers.

BuzzSumo: This website is an awesome tool for finding trending content and the most shared content across the web. You can sort by topic or search by phrase. The free version will limit you to about 10 searches a day but the paid version is unlimited and offers a plethora of additional tools to analyze your social media content, Facebook page performance, and even help you find influencers. Check it out at 

How you could benefit: I have found the ability to see the most popular articles from around the world for the industries that my clients serve, to be extremely helpful. Not only for the never ending search for curated content but also for my own blog idea inspiration. Try out the search tool and you’ll have instant access to the trending and the most shared articles around whatever phrase or word you want to search.

Knowing when someone is talking about you, your brand or your industry is extremely helpful when trying to grow your business and showcase your expertise. Give these tools a try and never miss a mention or news item again!

The Advice Chief: A janitor's lesson in leadership by Jeff "Chief" Urbaniak

William Crawford was the janitor at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1970 to 1997. For years cadets barely spoke to him as he quietly and diligently cleaned their dormitories to an impeccable standard. He was practically invisible until one day in 1976, when one of the cadets came across his story while conducting research for a term paper about World War II.
The Advice Chief

It turns out William Crawford was a Medal of Honor recipient who risked his life to single-handedly take out two German machine-gun nests to save the lives of his squad. He was eventually captured during another military operation and was held as a prisoner of war until liberated in 1945.

After the cadets realized their janitor was a Medal of Honor winner, their attitude toward him changed. They tried to get to know him better and invited him to their formal functions.

They also learned a lot about leadership from his performance as a janitor and personal character. One such cadet, James Moschgat, while serving as the 12th Operations Group Commander in 2001, decided to share the unforgettable leadership lessons he learned from William “Bill” Crawford. He wrote:

1. Be Cautious of Labels.
Labels you place on people may define your relationship to them and bound their potential. Sadly, and for a long time, we labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more. Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, “Hey, he’s just an Airman.”  Likewise, don’t tolerate the O-1 who says, “I can’t do that, I’m just a lieutenant.”

2. Everyone Deserves Respect.
Because we hung the “janitor” label on Mr. Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others around us. He deserved much more, and not just because he was a Medal of Honor winner. Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team.

3. Courtesy Makes a Difference.
Be courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or position. Military customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a team. When our daily words to Mr. Crawford turned from perfunctory hellos to heartfelt greetings, his demeanor and personality outwardly changed. It made a difference for all of us.

4. Take Time to Know Your People.
Life in the military is hectic, but that’s no excuse for not knowing the people you work for and with. For years a hero walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it. Who are the heroes that walk in your midst?

5. Anyone Can Be a Hero.
Mr. Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard definition of a hero. Moreover, he was just a private on the day he won his Medal. Don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who rises to the occasion when duty calls. On the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are down, but don’t ignore the rest of the team. Today’s rookie could and should be tomorrow’s superstar.

6. Leaders Should Be Humble.
Most modern-day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your hero meter on today’s athletic fields. End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we’ve come to expect from sports greats. Not Mr. Crawford--he was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be well served to do the same.

7. Life Won’t Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve.
 We in the military work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right? However, sometimes you just have to persevere, even when accolades don’t come your way. Perhaps you weren’t nominated for junior officer or airman of the quarter as you thought you should--don’t let that stop you.

8. Don’t Pursue Glory; Pursue Excellence.
Private Bill Crawford didn’t pursue glory; he did his duty and then swept floors for a living.

9. No Job is Beneath a Leader.
If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and smile, is there a job beneath your dignity? Think about it.

10. Pursue Excellence.
No matter what task life hands you, do it well. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “If life makes you a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be.”  Mr. Crawford modeled that philosophy and helped make our dormitory area a home.

Yard and bake sale to send WMS Orchestra and Band students to the Great East Music Festival

On Saturday, August 12, the Windham Middle School (WMS) Boosters will hold a community wide yard and bake sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Windham Middle School.

The yard sale will include many: fidget spinners, brand new in the box, toys, art supplies, bikes, clothing, electronics, housewares, sports items and fresh baked goodies.  

All proceeds help send the WMS Orchestra and Band students to the Great East Music Festival that will be held in Nashua, New Hampshire in May 2018. The cost is about $100 per student to attend. 
The music festival includes performing for judges, a clinic with the judges, extensive feedback and receiving a plaque with rating. This last year WMS Band earned gold and WMS Orchestra earned silver! 

Please support your local musicians by visiting the yard and bake sale.

Schoolhouse Arts Center prepares for summer education program shows

Schoolhouse Arts Education Program is gearing up for its much-anticipated summer youth Dinosaurs Before Dark Kids” performs Friday August, 4 through Sunday August, 6 followed by “Once on this Island Jr.” performing August Friday, 18 to Sunday, August 20.

During each two-week session, campers pull together an entire show while focusing on stage presence, character development, vocal technique, performing a story and working with their fellow performers. Preparing the next generation of performers is not something Mr. Bates takes lightly.  “It’s important to instill solid technique and theater etiquette while maintaining a fun learning environment. It’s never too early to learn good habits.”

Talking to campers, his philosophy seems to be working.  “I always have fun, no matter what.  I love working with Dillon and my talented peers, “said Nicole Adler, age 9 of Falmouth.

“I get to be someone new.  It’s fun!” – Spencer Pahigan, age 6 of Saco.

 “Working with Dillon is an adventure,” said Montana Leslie, age 11 of Gorham. “ He is the perfect amount of learning and fun. I’ve been coming to camp for 3 years, and I always learn something new.”

Want to check out their hard work for yourself? Tickets for these fun filled shows are available on the schoolhouse arts website at

productions. Under the guidance of Dillon Bates, Education Director and director of summer programs, the young thespians are preparing for 2 exciting shows. “

Libby shares the natural wonder of Niagara Falls by Michelle Libby

Niagara Falls is labeled one of the top natural wonders of the world. For that reason, I have dreamed about going there for years. It’s one of the top 1,000 places to see before you die and the documentaries and stories I’ve seen made me want to explore the area. 
The opportunity to visit came last week as we scheduled college tours for my son. A few colleges in Massachusetts and then off to Rochester to see RIT. With Niagara only 60 miles beyond RIT there was no way I was letting the opportunity pass to visit the famous falls. 

We stayed in Buffalo about 15 minutes from the epicenter of the commotion. The whole experience was different than I expected.

Niagara Falls generates power for much of New York, and some of New England, as it runs through huge hydro-power generators in the shadow of the falls. The amount of water that goes over the falls is astronomical. The topography of the underwater areas around the falls is carved into the limestone and bedrock to depths of 215 feet at some points. Even the class six rapids before The Whirlpool have a depth of 125 feet with waves shooting into the air up to 30 feet at times. Because of the power it generates, power lines crisscross Buffalo and spider web out from there to bring electricity to 100s of thousands of people. I found this shockingly industrial for one of the nation’s natural wonders. 

The falls are huge, but they are dwarfed by the casinos and hotels in the area. I was surprised by the Made in the USA stores and the hotels vying to have the best views of the falls. We took a wrong turn trying to find our way to the Maid of the Mist, which we were told not to miss, and wound up on The Rainbow Bridge on our way to Canada. I wish I hadn’t been driving at the time because the few glances I had of the falls from the driver’s seat were amazing. 

Knowing that we were going to need our passports to go to Canada, we were prepared and passed through Canadian customs without issue. My guess is that a lot of people go to Canada for the day in that area. 

For those who have never been to Niagara Falls, there are two sets of falls. The American Falls, which are smaller and have eroded faster, causing the bottom of the falls to be filled with rocks that the water cascades around. It also includes the Bridal Veil, which is a lovely straight waterfall that is between the larger falls and Goat Island, which is accessible, but I’m not sure how. 

The other part of the falls is the Canadian Falls or the Horseshoe Falls, which is so named because of its shape. It is the more dramatic falls and from the Canadian side, is breathtaking to behold. 

Parking is expensive regardless of which side you are on. We were lucky and found a parking spot where we had lunch. We were then able to continue parking there for the rest of the day. Granted, we had six blocks to walk down to the falls and then more to get where we were going, but for free parking, we sucked it up. We passed places that were $40 for self-parking or $50 for valet parking.

They were making some great money that day.

The sidewalks and walkway near the falls and river were very busy. Some people were strolling along, but most were hustling to their next destination. We were one of the hustlers. I stopped, took a photo and then moved on. I did that a lot since it was very hot and humid. 

My favorite part of the trip was what we were told not to miss. At some point Maid of the Mist sold the Canadian part of the business to Hornblower Niagara Cruises. This was what we chose to do. We bought our tickets online to save a little money and time at the ticket booth. The Hornblowers have the process down tight, herding hundreds of people onto boats that were on a rotating schedule. One pulled out full and the next one pulled in to disembark the passengers and pick up new ones in time for the first one to return. 

We were given red rain ponchos to wear because we would get wet. We leaned on the railing and I was looking forward to the soaking, so my son and I agreed not to wear ours. My husband wore his poncho. The tour took us to the base of the American Falls, past Goat Island and then into the swirling water at the base of the Canadian Falls. 

I did what I usually do and took pictures until my camera decided that it was too wet to continue. With water dripping off my hair and soaking my shirt, I asked for my husband’s phone to continue taking pictures. The whole cruise took 20 minutes, but it was thrilling. The power of the falls and the beauty as it cascaded toward us was magnificent. It truly is the best way to experience the falls. 

The trip was worth the time and effort. I wish I could have sat near the edge of the Canadian Falls, right where the water goes over the cliff, to observe. I felt like we’d rushed through everything and we should have reserved more time to take it all in. 

My advice, if you should take the long drive to the western corner of New York State, is to experience the Maid of the Mist or Hornblower tour. (They’re virtually the same.) And then spend some time sitting on the grass or leaning on the railing watching the flow of water over the falls. It’s an unbelievable sight. The commercialism of the area surprised me, but in the end, the beauty of the falls won me over as I’m sure it does for all of those who visit.

Next week Part 2: What we do to our environment – the secret of The Love Canal.

Broadway and Beyond: An annual crowd pleaser! By Elizabeth Richards

On Saturday, July 29, an annual tradition once again delighted an almost full house at the North Windham Union Church, as the talented Broadway and Beyond ensemble took to the stage for a lively evening of laughter, fun and great music. 
Emily Cain, Kelly Caufield, Matthew Small

This concert never disappoints. Accompanied by Dr. Laura Artesani on piano, this year’s performance featured Matthew Small, Emily Cain and Kelly Caufield. With music that ranged from show tunes and old standards to the Indigo Girls and a pop song, the balance was just right. Each performer had their own style, and the three melded together to create engaging entertainment that the audience wished didn’t have to end.

The concert began with the trio making a high energy entrance while singing “Seize the Day.” From there, they began a rotation through solos, with occasional duets interspersed throughout. Both acts began with the three together and they joined again for the final song and encore. It was a nice balance, and I could have listened to all three of them perform together all evening; their voices blended in lovely harmony, and it was clear to see how much they enjoy sharing a stage.

One of the things endearing about this concert each year is that there is no “star” of the show. It’s a true group effort. Even though Cain hadn’t participated in the show in several years, it was clear they have all spent considerable time performing together in the past. The ensemble comes together for Broadway and Beyond with little rehearsal time and puts on an amazing show year after year.  
The whole show felt like hanging out with friends who just happen to be performing. The banter and personal stories drew the audience in, creating a feeling of connection and camaraderie. The songs they selected offered a nice range: silly, serious, moving and just plain fun. Each song was quite different, but the flow from one to another, bridged with the stories the performers shared, was smooth.

Small and Caufield have been performing together since they were in the 8th grade, and were in the show “Narnia, The Musical” at the Schoolhouse Arts Center. Their long history sometimes presents a problem, they said, in that it’s difficult to perform a duet without wanting to burst into laughter. 

Despite the challenge (and sometimes it looked like they might not make it) they performed a strong rendition of “Suddenly Seymour.”

After the three sang the last song, a powerful ballad called “One Voice” by the Wailin’ Jennys that earned them a standing ovation, they asked if the audience wanted one more. Met with enthusiastic applause, they broke into a silly routine where each began a different song, but finally landed on “Goodnight Sweetheart.”  It was a fitting song to end the evening, and the audience even sang along.

The concert was the 46th in the Music with a Mission concert series, which has raised nearly $50,000 to support the church and other community organizations since its inception. Part of the proceeds from the Broadway and Beyond concert went to support Special Olympics Maine. For more information or to find out about upcoming shows, visit

Friday, July 28, 2017

Gov. LePage vetoes Sen. Diamond’s ban on driving while using a handheld device

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday told reporters that he would veto a bill banning the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. The bill — L.D. 1089 — “An Act To Prohibit the Use of Handheld Phones and Devices While Driving,” — was sponsored by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham.

Sen. Diamond’s bill bans the use of handheld devices, except to communicate with law enforcement
or emergency responders, while allowing the use of hands-free devices, devices secured to the dashboard and cellphones set to a hands-free mode.

The legislation was endorsed by both the Maine State Police and the American Automobile Association. Research from AAA indicates that use of a handheld device quadruples the chance of an accident, that the recent spike in accidents is directly attributable to cell phone use.

Diamond has championed legislation to prohibit distracted driving in the past. In 2011 he successfully passed a law to texting while driving. However, law enforcement agencies have said the laws are difficult to enforce because other mobile devices uses are not explicitly prohibited. LD 1089 is designed to resolve that ambiguity.
“When drivers get pulled over for texting while driving, there is nothing preventing them from saying they weren’t texting, but doing something else – like dialing in a number or looking up directions. 

Those activities are just as distracting as texting but because there is no current law against them, they can drive off and continue to look at their devices instead of the road, without consequence,” said Sen. Diamond. “While I respect the governor's right to veto bills that get to his desk, I am deeply disappointed that he chose to veto this bill because I know it will save lives and prevent tragic accidents on our highways. I will urge my colleagues to override the veto and enact this law. This bill is necessary to save keep our roads safe and save lives.”

While the Legislature has yet to receive official notice of the veto, Diamond expects the Senate to consider whether to override the veto when it reconvenes on August 2.

Advice Chief – Eliminate clutter and change your life by Jeff “Chief” Urbaniak

When I was younger, I used to leave stuff lying around almost all the time. I’d pick it up or organize it only when I needed to. As a result, I felt overwhelmed almost every day, even when nothing else in my life was driving me to feel that way. It felt like my walls were moving in all around me, making me almost claustrophobic. My energy was virtually nonexistent.

Jeff "Chief" Urbaniak

This continued until I took the advice from a reliable mentor of mine: Joe Vitale. He basically told me: “The more clutter in your room, the more clutter in your mind.” And my mind certainly felt cluttered. He suggested that I pick up and organize my things and to clean out my closets, garage, office, car, and any other rooms or places I spent time in.

His overriding message was that energy moves when blocks are removed, and that clutter equals blocks. So, wanting desperately to remove my blocks, I gave it a try.

I began gradually picking up and organizing my stuff. I had to do it gradually because the thought of doing it all at once was too overwhelming. As I inched closer to getting my clutter situation under control, I noticed a different kind of feeling from within that gave me more motivation in life. started doing more outdoor activities like swimming and hiking. I stopped being a couch potato. I
didn’t feel like hiding from the world. I stopped worrying about trivial things. I was able to think more clearly. And I fell asleep much faster at night as my clutter-free life led to a clutter-free mind.

According to organizational expert Lynne Gilberg, clutter is bad for a person’s physical and mental health. Victims of clutter will often use terminology like “suffocating” and “I can’t breathe,” when they feel overwhelmed. They are more prone to having emotional meltdowns, feeling depressed, or suffering from unexplained weight gain. And medical doctors have concluded that clutter leads to higher amounts of dander and dust in the home; which has been proven to be a major contributing factor to allergies and asthma. can even give you a bad reputation. A human resource manager once told me his company did the oddest thing in determining whether new applicants would truly possess some organizational traits they were looking for in their employees. Hiring agents would walk by applicants’ cars and look inside them. If the inside was filled with tons of fast-food bags, empty soda bottles, stray shoes, clothes, and so on, it became a negative check-mark for that applicant. On the other hand, if the car was somewhat neat and clean, it resulted in a positive check-mark.

He claimed those who had neatly kept cars typically maintained or produced neatly kept office spaces, neatly kept files, well organized reports, and easy to follow presentations and they also seemed less stressed on a daily basis.

So if you feel bogged down, scatterbrained, overwhelmed, emotionally drained, or stressed out, try eliminating the clutter around you a little bit at a time and see if things in your life improve. I bet they do!

‘A diamond in the ocean’ – A story of a local man who finds his dad by Rachel Robles

This article, originally published in The Mountaineer, is reprinted by permission.

WAYNESVILLE, North Carolina - The last thing Henry “Jimmy” Ford Shade Jr. expected when he went to fight in Vietnam was to fall in love. Raised in Canton (North Carolina), this 1966 graduate of Reynolds High School joined the Army after graduation and served three tours with the 82nd Airborne.

Jimmy Shade
Shade said he was “a young guy running wild in Vietnam” in 1969 when he met a Vietnamese woman named Nhung Nguyen in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). Unable to correctly pronounce her name, he nicknamed her “Thu.”

“We formed a relationship, and I’d sneak off the base and go visit her and we’d stay with each other as much as we [could],” he said.

During the course of their relationship, they ended up saving each other’s lives. Nhung hid Shade under her bed when the Viet Cong came to her house and he rescued her from the Viet Cong when she was taken because she was out past curfew.

Their relationship ended on March 17, 1972 when Shade was shipped back to the States. Unbeknownst to Shade, Nhung was three months pregnant.

“She didn’t get to tell me and I didn’t get to say goodbye,” he said. “I had no idea I was going to be a father at all.”

Jimmy returned to Canton and after serving with the N.C. National Guard's 211th Military Police based in Clyde, he went to work for a paper mill. He met his current wife, Sarah, and they settled into a blissful domestic life, completely unaware that he had a Vietnamese son. They had two children together, Canton Police officer Tyler Shade and Anna Shade.

Across the world, Nhung gave birth to her son, Phuoc Minh Nguyen in 1972. His mixed-race heritage
Phuoc as an infant
earned him the distinction of being an Ameriasian, the child of a Vietnamese woman and a U.S. military father. As such, he faced difficulties growing up.

He was an outcast in his community and endured racial slurs and substandard treatment, and his mother faced persecution for having a child with an American soldier.

In 1989 when Phuoc was 17, he heard about the Ameriasian Homecoming Act on the radio, a U.S. law that gave preferential immigration status to children in Vietnam born of U.S. fathers. The law also allowed immediate relatives, like his mother, refugee benefits.

Phuoc was 18 when he and his mother arrived in the United States in 1990. He was encouraged to pick a nickname; by complete coincidence, he chose "Jimmy." They were sent to Portland, Maine, where he attended the local high school and worked as many jobs as he could to support his mother.

In 2000, Phuoc met his wife, Renee and the two were married in 2004. They have two daughters, Quynh and Tien, and reside in Casco, Maine with his mother. [Renee now works at Construction Consultants in Windham, ME.]

In 2003, Phuoc and Renee went to the American Red Cross because they were told the nonprofit might be able to help them locate his father.
The Red Cross was unable to help because, for safety reasons, his mother didn’t list the name of his father on his birth certificate. So Phuoc took the DNA test offered by

“For him, I knew we were only going to get the father’s side because they don’t send the test overseas (at the time), said Renee. “So I knew I would be getting the right results.” 

Phuoc said Renee “went a long way” to help him find his father, spending two to three hours almost every night on, combing through documents to find a connection.

“She wanted to find my father, but didn’t know how,” he said. “How do you find a diamond in the ocean?”

Renee searched for three years until last fall, when she found a cousin, Ashley McClelland, who connected her to Charles Hill, another cousin. He offered to put the picture of Nhung and Phuoc on the Shade Family Reunion Facebook page on Dec. 25, 2016.

Meanwhile, in Waynesville, Sarah Shade was scrolling through the Shade Family Reunion Facebook page in March 2017 when she came across the picture Renee had posted. According to her, Jimmy suddenly said, “I know her!”

"Thu", Jimmy and Phuoc reunited
Sarah sent a message to Renee, and before long Renee had the Shades’ phone number.
“One of the first things Jimmy asked was, where my mother-in-law was, and he asked to talk to her,” said Renee.

Before allowing the two to speak, Renee said she needed more information. She asked Jimmy what he called her mother-in-law. He replied, “Thu.”

The next day, Nhung confirmed that that was the name Jimmy called her, and Renee excitedly told Phuoc she had possibly located his father.

“I was shocked,” said Renee. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to get [Phouc’s] hopes up. I wanted to be 100 percent sure. I was happy, but I was shocked.”

According to Sarah, the next time the Shades spoke to Renee, Jimmy “jumped out of his chair” upon hearing that Renee’s mother-in-law’s nickname had been “Thu.”
“It was the connection,” said Sarah.

Confirmation and meeting

An old picture and anecdotal evidence, though strong, wasn’t enough to convince the Tyler and Anna Shade, Sarah and Jimmy’s children, that Phuoc was the real deal. Out of love and a sense of familial protection, they requested a legal paternity test in April.

“Within two business days, we had the results,” said Renee. “It was a 99.9997 percent chance they were father and son.”

To raise enough money to make the trip to Waynesville, Phuoc, who works in the construction field, took on a second job. He worked night and day for two weeks. The family left Casco, Maine on June 9 and arrived in Haywood County on Saturday, June 10.

 “It was just like a miracle,” said Jimmy, “All this time, and to finally be able to touch him. It was deeply felt. I didn’t think I’d ever see her again, either.”

“I don’t think we could have asked for a better outcome,” said Renee. “Everyone has been so accepting of it. [Phuoc’s] new stepmom Sarah, his stepsisters, his uncles, they’ve taken him in. We came and within a number of hours, we’re like family.”