Articles by Kathryn Olmstead

Debbie Currier (from left), daughter Lauren Walker and husband Chris Currier of Stockholm stand in front of a poster honoring Russell Currier, who will compete in biathlon events at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Aroostook County community helps send Olympic biathlete Russell Currier’s parents to Sochi

By Kathryn Olmstead on Jan. 30, 2014, at 6:17 p.m.
Cold weather did not deter local supporters of biathlete Russell Currier from pouring into Caribou High School on Jan. 26 for a benefit supper to help send his parents to Sochi, Russia, to see him compete in the 2014 Olympic Games. The temperature was zero outside, but the excitement of …
The Island Falls home built by William Wingate Sewall in 1865 is now a yoga retreat operated by Sewall's great-grandaughter Donna Davidge and her husband, Kent Bonham.

Like Roosevelt, visitors to Sewall House in Island Falls finding physical, emotional benefits

By Kathryn Olmstead on Jan. 16, 2014, at 4:51 p.m.
Comments of visitors to a historic house in Island Falls echo those expressed more than 130 years ago by the man who would become the 26th president of the United States. “I owe a personal debt to Maine because of my association with certain staunch friends in Aroostook County, an …
Farm for ME supporters gathered last spring to erect a sign identifying the program site. Joining in the celebration were (from left) Frank Beaulieu, neighbor and Farm for ME steering committee member; Martie Pritchard, landowner; Jim Krysiak, Catholic Charities warehouse manager; Dixie Shaw, Catholic Charities program director; Jim Pritchard, landowner; Jeff Tiner, Catholic Charities chief operations officer;  Chip Beckwith, Casella Organics field rep and Farm for ME steering committee member; and Bright, the golden retriever.

Need to feed the hungry exists year round, not just over the holidays

By Kathryn Olmstead on Dec. 19, 2013, at 2:30 p.m.
It might be the season of food baskets and charitable giving for many of us, but at Catholic Charities Maine, it’s business as usual. “Attention to need appears to be prevalent at this time of year with all the talk of turkey and sugar plums,” said CC director Dixie Shaw, …
Former Maine Commissioner of Education Stephen Bowen called the Aroostook Aspirations Initiative a "model for the state" when he addressed a launch ceremony at the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle in April.

Aroostook initiative trying to connect more local youngsters to college

By Kathryn Olmstead on Nov. 07, 2013, at 4:02 p.m.
Aroostook County has one of the highest high school graduation rates in Maine, but one of the lowest rates of college completion. This fact is one of a number of discouraging trends that has inspired a multifaceted effort to improve educational and career opportunities for Aroostook County students. Called the …
Lucy would not even look at me when I called her to come in.

Dog reminds writer of the importance of exercise

By Kathryn Olmstead on Oct. 10, 2013, at 6:05 p.m.
It’s 7:30 a.m., and I am practicing my Bach for an upcoming piano lesson. My chocolate Labrador retriever Lucy tiptoes into the living room and sits down close to me behind the piano bench. Could she be ill? She usually retreats to the farthest reaches of the house when I …
Dr. Narayana Prasanna, Lil Costello, Larry Berz and Grier Ostermann approach the 35-mile mark in Easton on their 50-mile hike from Littleton to Limestone Aug. 31 honoring the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's call for national fitness and vigor.

Aroostook County astronomy teacher hikes 50 miles in 1 day — Houlton to Limestone — in memory of JFK

By Kathryn Olmstead on Sept. 12, 2013, at 1:43 p.m.
Anyone old enough to remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy can tell you where they were and what they were doing Nov. 22, 1963, after shots rang out in Dallas and the nation came together around the television set to share the loss of a leader and of …
Carl Robert Langley (named for his Langley and Milliard grandfathers) at age 12, the year a malignant  brain tumor took his life.

Aroostook boy lives on through benefit ride, hike

By Kathryn Olmstead on Aug. 15, 2013, at 9:56 a.m.
Carl Robert Langley was 8 when he learned he had a rare malignant brain tumor. Headaches, vomiting and low blood sugar counts had been attributed to sinus infections several times before it was discovered that a pinealoblastoma was creating irreversible pressure on his brain. The life of the Fort Fairfield …
The Francis Malcolm Science Center in Easton has launched a $1.5 million fundraising campaign with a postcard declaring the center will be forced to close in less than two years without an infusion of donations.

Easton science center is ‘exciting educational resource’ worth saving

By Kathryn Olmstead on June 20, 2013, at 12:26 p.m.
Francis Malcolm never entered the building that bears his name in his hometown of Easton, but the vision it represents makes him familiar to thousands of people he never knew. He would be saddened to know that the future of his legacy is at risk. Founded in 1983 with an …
A 10.5-foot-tall moose sculpture graces the entrance to the new U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry in Van Buren.

Aroostook moose sculpture: symbolic artwork or undue expense?

By Kathryn Olmstead on June 06, 2013, at 2:30 p.m.
When Glenn Hines of southern Aroostook created a life-sized bronze moose in 1998, he was not seeking to replicate the animal that prances across Maine highways without regard for traffic. He wanted to capture the essence of a creature that is “both comical and majestic at the same time.” An …
Expansion of the hydroponics greenhouse is one of the many future projects that excite Luke Shorty, executive director and academic dean of the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone. Shorty is also an alumnus of  MSSM.

Maine School of Science and Mathematics alumni drawn to give back to magnet school

By Kathryn Olmstead on May 23, 2013, at 2:07 p.m.
Alumni of the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone are giving new meaning to its identity as a magnet school. Founded in 1995, the school’s first graduates are reaching an age when giving back is a way to express appreciation for valuable experiences. For some that means returning …
Art lovers of all ages flocked to the Wintergreen Art Center in Presque Isle on May 3 for an art auction to benefit a forthcoming Northern Maine Cultural Center. Pencils in hand, bidders vied for 70  12-inch-by-12-inch canvasses donated by artists throughout Aroostook County and County-lovers from the West Coast, Midwest, southern Maine and other New England states.

Art walks revitalize downtown Presque Isle

By Kathryn Olmstead on May 09, 2013, at 2:24 p.m.
Let’s see if I can explain this. The first Friday of every month is art walk night in Presque Isle. But as the event grows in scope and popularity it has become more and more challenging to take in all that is offered. May 3 was particularly complicated for me. …
Greg and Joy Johnson welcome visitors to the log home that was dismantled in New Sweden and rebuilt on their salt water farm in Harpswell.

Navy admiral finds Swedish roots in Aroostook log home

By Kathryn Olmstead on April 11, 2013, at 11:46 a.m.
Adm. Gregory G. Johnson never forgot his Aroostook County roots. His career in the U.S. Navy took him all over the world, ultimately as commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, headquartered in London, and commander of Allied Forces in southern Europe, headquartered in Naples, Italy. But the Westmanland native …
Kathryn Olmstead

Visitors experience wonders of Aroostook County

By Kathryn Olmstead on March 28, 2013, at 2:05 p.m.
Every month, Portland-based Maine magazine takes its readers to a different part of the state through a regular feature titled 48 Hours. For the March edition — also the Food Issue — Editor Susan Grisanti and Associate Publisher Steve Kelly traveled to Aroostook County; Susan to Presque Isle and Steve …
Gail Maynard of Orchard Hill Farm in Woodland welcomes Rep. Carol McElwee of Caribou to a gathering of small family farm owners and Maine legislators March 9 at The Whole Potato Cafe and Commons in Presque Isle.

State lawmakers visit Aroostook County family farms

By Kathryn Olmstead on March 14, 2013, at 2:12 p.m.
It started in a conversation around a dining room table in Woodland last year. It culminated last weekend in a visit to Aroostook County by members of the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The initial conversation focused on Aroostook County agriculture and the future of …
A trio of 3-year-old red deer stags mug for a visitor at Shakaree Red Deer Farm in New Limerick.

Aroostook home to largest, oldest red deer farm in country

By Kathryn Olmstead on Feb. 28, 2013, at 11:55 a.m.
If you search for information on red deer farming on the Internet, one of the first websites to pop up will be Shakaree Red Deer Farm in New Limerick, Maine. With a herd of 1,000 animals on 500 acres of pasture in southern Aroostook County, Shakaree is the largest and …
Terry Kelly of Mapleton designed this contemporary rod-back armchair to be a blend of beauty and function.

Aroostook County man crafts artful chairs, furniture

By Kathryn Olmstead on Feb. 14, 2013, at 5:37 p.m.
When Terry Kelly graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a degree in English in 1995, he dreamed of writing fiction and poetry, and still does. But his focus changed after he began working at his father’s mill, Kelly Lumber, when he returned to Ashland, where he grew …
Alpacas are gentle, curious and well suited to life in northern Maine where conditions are similar to their native habitat in the mountains of Peru. These three reside at Spudland Alpacas in Blaine.

Alpacas well suited to northern Maine climate

By Kathryn Olmstead on Jan. 17, 2013, at 6:28 p.m.
I have wanted to visit Spudland Alpacas ever since I noticed the sign on Route 1 just south of Mars Hill pointing to the farm and store on the Bubar Road. That would have been around 2003 when Richard Porter decided to add animals to his farm in Blaine. A …
Kathryn Olmstead

Downtown Presque Isle a hotbed of art on first Fridays

By Kathryn Olmstead on Jan. 03, 2013, at 7:11 p.m.
Downtown Presque Isle was abuzz Friday night, Dec. 7. Merchants on the Corner offered wine and beer tastings. The Reed Gallery at the University of Maine at Presque Isle hosted a reception in honor of six artisans featured in the month’s exhibition of “fine craft of northern Maine.” Live music …
Bright beads of solder float on a flat slab of marble as Stephen Boody of New Sweden seals the fine seam on one of 256 pipes he is making for a pipe organ to be installed in North Carolina.

New Sweden man crafts voices of pipe organs heard around the world

By Kathryn Olmstead on Dec. 06, 2012, at 3:01 p.m.
The pipe organ at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tenn., has 2,974 pipes. The organ in Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas has 5,535 pipes. The organ in the Cathedrale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland, has 6,654 pipes. A significant number of the pipes for these and dozens of other …
Kathryn Olmstead

Fort Fairfield looking to revive glory days

By Kathryn Olmstead on Nov. 22, 2012, at 2:25 p.m.
Brent Churchill remembers when he was growing up in Fort Fairfield and drivers could not find a place to park on Main Street any Friday or Saturday night. The town was bustling with activity, drawing people from surrounding towns on both sides of the Canadian border. “Fort Fairfield was the …