Black Cat

Aug 15, 2011
Pirate Pete is a well-known screenplay writer, local citizen, father and columnist for this newspaper, but this summer he be a buccaneer on set at Crane's Beach in Ipswich, Mass., taping a national television commercial for Dragon software. He'll return a gentleman o' fortune with tales to tell, we're sure, but not for the lily-livered, for he is also on another job down thar in Mass., working for Dunkin' Donuts, flinging pumpkins off catapults.

High Summer has settled into the Midcoast, vegetable gardens are getting heavy with tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers, boats are getting used, and all kinds of visitors are thronging the area, with festival after festival filling weekends. After a lot of July angst, local tourism has picked up and restaurant owners are singing much happier tunes. On Sunday, Aug. 7, it rained hard, filling the ground with much-needed moisture, and when the sun returned on Monday, even the dark clouds lining world economies and staggering stock markets were not thick enough to hide fair weather smiles (true... we were not in the board rooms of local banks or investment firms).

Of course, it's not all roses, especially when we hear over the scanner that a vehicle is broken down on the Wiscasset bridge. Anyone traveling north or south over that bridge in August knows exactly what that means. Just a week ago, some of us were backed up in traffic on Route 1 a few miles north of Wiscasset, waiting on the second hill, not the first hill, for cars to inch forward past Red's Eats.

Speaking of roads: A local woman mentioned to us how nice it would be if Camden repainted the little triangles on the pavement at crosswalks, inside which words advise us to 'stop, wait and wave.' It made the town a little friendlier, she said. Those crosswalks, however, are in the process of getting redesigned, so stay tuned.

Out, out damn strife

While the markets and Congressional antics are ushering in another round of cold air over the economy, there is an immediate piece of botanical business one organization is hoping we can remedy. It is the time to control purple loosestrife before it goes to seed, we are told by the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Loosestrife is a purple-spiked invasive species, easily identifiable this time of year. Purple loosestrife was introduced from Europe into the U.S. and Canada in the 1800s for ornamental and medicinal uses. It is now growing throughout Great Britain, across central and southern Europe to Asia, China and India and in the U.S. The problem, according to botanists, is that it is aggressive in wetlands and replaces native species like cattails and native grasses. It takes over! We are advised to dig it up, bag it and take to the transfer station, not the compost pile.

Maddocks family of Appleton

A reader from Massachusetts is seeking help to locate a missing relative. Suzanne (Maddocks) Gagnon Douglas writes: "Hello, I have been searching for family history records and I am at a loss. Maybe someone in Maine would be able to help me to solve the puzzle. My great-grandfather was Jacob G. Maddocks. So far, the history I have found reads like a cross between "Pirates of The Caribbean" and "Little House on the Prairie." What I can not find is any record of his birth or parents. I do know that he watched his children born and die. His business fell apart. He lost their home in court. The authorities were after him. The draft wanted him. Then he disappeared for three years. Did he join the Navy? Did he serve time as ordered by the court? I still have a lot of hunting to do. I have been to Maine, Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. The records I do have say that Jacob G. Maddocks was born in Maine in 1825. He married Elizabeth Linscott in Appleton in January 1844. He moved to Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He purchased a property in Sheffield, Mass., (lease to own) with Joseph Maddocks, who was married to Elizabeth Maddocks (married in Hallowell, Aug 17, 1852). Perhaps a reader might have information that will fill in the blanks."

If one can help her, email Suzanne at


Vinalhaven breaks emergency records

We hear from the View, esteemed chronicler of island news, that Vinalhaven had a busy time of it, emergency-response wise, at the end of July, when first responders recorded their busiest 48 hours ever. We also learn that July overall was the busiest month ever for island emergency responders.

The View reported: "Patient confidentiality prevents details, but there were car and ATV accidents, illnesses, serious falls; a broken ankle stretcher recovery, nearly a mile in deep woods; runs to private homes, to the fire station and on rain-slicked night hour roads with fire company assists, as Fox Island Electric crews labored all night to replace a key fallen pole, with downed live power lines. Some were treated here, some were flown to Pen Bay Medical Center, and one went by ferry boat in a late night stormy run. It was a bit wild for our medical staff, emergency EMS and fire/rescue volunteers." To help out, there is a concert on the island on Aug. 13 at Smith/Hokanson Memorial Hall.


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