Articles by Kathryn Olmstead

Kathryn Olmstead

I hope I will have a chance to clean out the basement before I die

By Kathryn Olmstead on June 21, 2012, at 4:39 p.m.
My mother often said she hoped before she died she would have a chance to clean out the basement. Well, she didn’t. She was busy until the day a stroke took her unexpectedly in 1984. After my father died six months later, my sister and I spent a month in …
Kathryn Olmstead

Nocturnal visitor to bedroom elicits scream

By Kathryn Olmstead on June 07, 2012, at 5:23 p.m.
At first I thought I was being awakened by raindrops on the window. But when I looked out, the sky was full of stars. Maybe it’s a moth caught under the storm window propped open to let in the cool night air. I lay back, appreciating the breeze off the …
An employee (right) at OneSteel Recycling, Inc., in Caribou weighs in a load of scrap metal on Monday, May 21, 2012.

New, old methods combine to deter scrap metal thefts in Aroostook

By Kathryn Olmstead on May 24, 2012, at 1:43 p.m.
It took a while, but I got over the theft of the enameled cast iron sink I had been saving to install in a renovated log cabin. Perhaps I shouldn’t have left it in the yard. But when I discovered old farm equipment salvaged from the barn was missing too, …
Kathryn Olmstead

Beware car warranty scams

By Kathryn Olmstead on May 10, 2012, at 2:34 p.m.
The envelope resembled those that contain rewards coupons or important tax information or even checks — the mailers with tabs on the edges reading: “Remove both side stubs first. Fold, crease and remove this stub at perforation.” But screaming in capital letters above my name and address were so many …

Border issues require added planning for World Acadian Congress

By Kathryn Olmstead on April 26, 2012, at 5:32 p.m.
It is possible that on Aug. 15, 2014, visitors to Madawaska, Maine, will enlarge the town of 4,000 by six or seven times. No one can say for sure how many people will travel to the St. John Valley for the 2014 World Acadian Congress, but organizers are planning for …

Towns that lose newspapers lose a gift of democracy

By Kathryn Olmstead on April 12, 2012, at 12:04 p.m.
The Houlton Pioneer Times calls itself “the only newspaper in the world interested in Houlton, Maine.” That’s no exaggeration. The claim can be made by any small-town newspaper, and its significance takes on new meaning as towns such as Belfast and Bar Harbor lose weekly newspapers. As staffs and resources …
On March 20 rapidly flowing water was carving a dark channel through the ice on the Aroostook River in front of my house.

Record-breaking temperatures cause unprecedented early ice-outs in Aroostook

By Kathryn Olmstead on March 29, 2012, at 3:50 p.m.
I couldn’t believe it. I returned from a late afternoon walk March 20 and rapidly flowing water was carving a dark channel through the ice on the Aroostook River in front of my house. Could it be? I can’t remember an ice-out before April since I moved here in 1992. …
Creative Aroostook County residents have found various ways to protect their mail boxes from the snow plow or other potential threats. Among the inventive ideas that can be seen just off various roads in The County is this levered mail box with a weight on one end that keeps the box high in the air until the user pulls on the rope to lower and fill or empty it.

Inventive Aroostook County residents find creative ways to protect mailboxes

By Kathryn Olmstead on March 15, 2012, at 6:45 p.m.
Anyone who travels the roads of Aroostook County has to appreciate the lengths to which people go to protect their mailboxes from the snowplow and other threats. I have not had a mailbox for years. Between Halloween pranksters and winter snowplows, I just can’t keep one standing. So I have …

Maine gardeners, growers asked to help feed the hungry

By Kathryn Olmstead on March 01, 2012, at 5:19 p.m.
Maine is the most food-insecure state in New England — ninth in the nation. That means one in five children under the age of 16 in this state lives in a household uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough nutritious food for all its members. This information, based on …

Aroostook ties run deep, pay big dividends

By Kathryn Olmstead on Feb. 16, 2012, at 10:28 p.m.
Generosity is not a trait typically associated with the nation’s wealthy in this age of anger among the “99 percent.” Yet recent and past gifts to Aroostook County provide a counterpoint to popular stereotypes of the affluent. I remember back in the 1980s when townspeople in Easton were surprised by …
Maliseet Chief Brenda Commander (left) of the Houlton Band presents native baskets made by tribe member Bill Tomah to officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in gratitude for their participation in the opening of a new multifamily housing facility on tribal land Feb. 9. Under secretary Dallas Tonsager (right) came from Washington, D.C., for the ceremony and State Director Virginia Manuel came from Bangor.

Maliseets bless new six-unit housing complex in Houlton

By Kathryn Olmstead, Special to the BDN on Feb. 10, 2012, at 1:52 p.m.
Families in the Houlton Band of Maliseets have begun to move into new homes in a six-unit apartment complex on Clover Circle in Houlton that was opened officially in a ceremony Feb. 9. Tribal Chief Brenda Commander cut the ribbon held by Undersecretary Dallas Tonsager of U.S. …
Kathryn Olmstead

Global warming forum moves some participants to action

By Kathryn Olmstead on Feb. 02, 2012, at 2:51 p.m.
An OpEd by author and environmentalist Bill McKibben in the Jan. 23 Bangor Daily News probably attracted more readers than it would have had it not appeared on the heels of a Jan. 20 statewide forum sponsored by the University of New England Center for Global Humanities and the Maine …
Passamaquoddy basket maker Jeremy Frey of Indian Township (far right) addresses an audience at the University of Maine at Presque Isle during a presentation on the "Evolution of Basket Making: From Function to Art." Other panelists (from left) are Maliseets Fred Tomah of Houlton and Victor Bear of Tobique First Nation, N.B., Micmac Roldena Sanipass of Presque Isle and Penobscot Jennifer Neptune of Indian Island.

The dying art of making ash wood baskets

By Kathryn Olmstead on Jan. 19, 2012, at 12:36 p.m.
When Roldena Sanipass was a girl she watched her mother weave strips of brown ash into traditional Micmac baskets. She could be seen in the background, pounding ash or cleaning splints while her mother, well-known basket maker Mary Sanipass, demonstrated her craft, but she didn’t have the confidence to weave …
A painting that John Baker of Fort Kent gave to Philomena Baker to help her envision the beauty of Maine hangs on the wall as her mother, Philomene Keller, helps her prepare for her wedding on Aug. 12, 1959, in Amberg, Germany.

‘Naturally, beautifully friendly’ residents of Fort Kent made German bride feel at home

By Kathryn Olmstead on Jan. 05, 2012, at 2:01 p.m.
Just a year ago, the Bangor Daily News was advertising a forum at the Bangor Public Library for readers to talk with Philomena Baker, the subject of a seven-part series of articles titled Flight to Freedom that appeared in the paper between Dec. 25, 2010, and Jan. 1, 2011. People …
Humvees, tanks, trucks, communications equipment, mobile kitchen units and even field laundries have been transported to the Loring Commerce Center in Limestone for repair by local mechanics and auto body experts at the Maine Military Authority, which employs between 150 and 200 people.

Loring structure’s refusal to collapse is symbolic of Aroostook County resilience

By Kathryn Olmstead on Dec. 22, 2011, at 1:01 p.m.
It was to be the largest implosion in the state of Maine. The building that had served as the heating plant for Loring Air Force Base from 1953 until the base closed in 1994 was expected to collapse in on itself in six seconds. Demolition crews had spent weeks removing …
Jim Gerritsen of Bridgewater made his first trip to New York City to address the Dec. 4 “Farmers’ March” to Zuccotti Park organized by the Food Justice Committee of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Aroostook farmer the face of organic growers’ fight against Monsanto

By Kathryn Olmstead on Dec. 08, 2011, at 1:05 p.m.
I have wanted to catch up with Bridgewater organic farmer Jim Gerritsen ever since he was named in October to the 2011 list of 25 visionaries who are changing the world by the national magazine Utne Reader. When I finally succeeded last weekend, he was on his way to New …

Only travel medicine clinic north of Bangor saves Central American trip

By Kathryn Olmstead on Nov. 24, 2011, at 9:25 p.m.
It was not until the week before my departure for a trip to Central America that I read the details about immunization. I had focused on the sentence: “No immunizations are currently required for visiting Belize,” in the materials we received weeks ahead of the journey. When I read on, …
Kathryn Olmstead

Home birth was first in Grand Isle in 40 years

By Kathryn Olmstead on Nov. 10, 2011, at 5:08 p.m.
The Grand Isle town clerk was a little nervous when Marada Cook and Ryan Redmond brought their infant to the town office to be registered July 23, 2007. “Seems we were all three a little nervous,” Clerk Marie Sirois recalled recently. “It was a first-time experience for me.” In her …
A moose seems drawn back to the apple trees, even in the eye of a camera lens.

Moose welcome to visit anytime

By Kathryn Olmstead on Oct. 27, 2011, at 12:27 p.m.
Wouldn’t you know. A moose walks into my front yard and I can’t find my camera. The little case is empty. Where did I put it? I gaze at the huge animal munching on the leaves of the apple trees outside my kitchen window. I guess I will just have …
Kathryn Olmstead

Blowout highlights kindness of residents in Aroostook

By Kathryn Olmstead on Oct. 13, 2011, at 8:40 p.m.
It wasn’t a big hole, but it was deep, very round and too close to avoid after I saw it — a black space in the white line beside the road. My front right tire took the hole squarely with a thud and the warning light on the dash glowed …
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