Olympic medal a possibility for Burke

Posted Dec. 21, 2009, at 9:45 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:27 p.m.

So many topics, so little space. Sit back for a few minutes and we’ll take a quick trip through a number of outdoor-related topics.

First, how about that Tim Burke?

Who’s that, you ask?

Well, outside of biathlon circles, Burke isn’t a household name. An important thing to consider, however: Depending on how well Bode Miller and Seth Wescott do in the upcoming Vancouver Olympics, Burke may well be this state’s best bet for a medal.

OK. He’s not really, truly, officially a Mainer. He’s actually from Paul Smiths, N.Y.

But he lived and trained in Fort Kent, at the Maine Winter Sports Center, for two years before the 2006 Games. And he loves to fly fish. So we’ll take him.

If you missed the news, over the weekend, Burke vaulted into the overall lead in the individual World Cup standings.

For the record, that’s the first time a U.S. athlete has ever held that lofty position in biathlon.

It’s also a good reason for Mainers to start paying attention to their own … well, sort of … hometown boy as we count down to the Olympics.

Bamboo, anyone?

I can recall a day, not too many years ago, when any reporter at the BDN who wanted to access the Internet had to do so in our library, at a single Web-ready computer we all shared.

Now, the Internet has become such an important part of all of our lives — professionally and personally — that some of us have nearly forgotten how we got along without it.

Luckily, we don’t have to.

And luckily, no matter what your interest, there’s something on the Internet for you.

Us outdoor-oriented folk regularly utilize a variety of Web sites where we can learn new skills, share information or get to know other like-minded people.

While browsing one of those sites last week, I saw a message board thread that I knew I’d have to keep monitoring. I suspect many of you may want to do the same.

A frequent poster at the flyfishinginmaine.com site is quite a craftsman, and is explaining, step by step, how he goes about building bamboo rods.

He has included photos of the process, and is engaging his fellow site members in conversation about the project as it progresses.

Simply put, it’s fascinating stuff … even for a not-so-handy guy like me, who is not likely to ever embark on such a project myself.

Maine has a sizeable group of bamboo enthusiasts, and they make a point of meeting for a weekend each year to talk about their craft.

If you end up with a few extra minutes over the holidays, you may find the site just as fascinating. You might be inspired. And you might even have the manual skills to act on the inspiration.

Just go to ww.flyfishinginmaine.com, click on the “forums” link, and look for “Bamboo Rod Build.”

Come on in, the water’s fine

Since Monday was the shortest day of the year (and since the weather’s been a bit nippy lately), I figure it wouldn’t hurt to spend a few minutes thinking about … summer.

Specifically, swimming.

More specifically, becoming a lifeguard.

The Maine Department of Conservation’s Bureau of Parks and Lands sent out a press release urging prospective lifeguards at state parks to work on getting the proper certifications over the coming months.

The BPL typically hires about 42 lifeguards each summer. The positions are full-time jobs that last about 12 weeks and pay $10.43 a hour to start.

Brian Murray, who runs the state parks’ Lifeguard Academy, urges college students and others to seek certification through colleges, local YMCAs, the American Red Cross or local recreation departments.

Those interested in applying for a job can begin the process now, Murray said. Applicants must be 18 by the time they start work, and can get an application through the state government’s Direct Hire Web site.

For more information, contact Murray at 389-1335 or Brian.J.Murray@maine.gov.

Learn to tie flies

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to tie your own fishing flies — or if you already know how and just want to be able to spend some time with other tiers — the Penobscot Fly Fishers have a deal for you.

The group will again offer their beginners fly-tying course at the Bangor Parks and Recreation Building this winter. The class will meet for eight Thursday evenings beginning Jan. 7.

The course fee is $30, which includes the use of necessary equipment and materials.

Class size is limited but seats are still available.

For more information, call Joe Beaulieu at 991-9586 or e-mail him at jpbeaulieume@gmail.com.

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