Meg Haskell

Senior writer

I am second-career journalist with an idealistic commitment to the power of the Fourth Estate. I have a professional background in health care and 60-plus years of life experience that inform my work. I’ll be writing about a variety of issues for the Bangor Daily News, both in this blog and as a reporter, with a focus on matters of interest to readers in the “sweet spot” of their maturity: those productive adult years from 50 to 70 when (maybe) we have the time to pursue our personal interests, the energy to contribute to our communities and the wisdom to steer clear of needless drama.
 
One of three energy-efficient homes can be seen on Aug. 18 on Fern Street in Bangor. Bob and Suzanne Kelly, building renovators, are developing a "green pocket neighborhood" on the site of an old dry-cleaning facility.

In Bangor, a ‘green pocket neighborhood’ adapts new ideas to traditional setting

By Meg Haskell on Aug. 26, 2016, at 6:23 a.m.
This is Bangor EcoHomes, a small but ambitious sustainable-living project developed by husband-and-wife team Bob and Suzanne Kelly.
LIVING IT FORWARD

After a plague of hornworms, the benediction of a tomato sandwich

on Aug. 24, 2016, at 9:43 p.m.
This seems like a banner year for all the plants we harvest for food. “Everything is just going gangbusters,” said my neighbor Karen this morning, when she came over to take some of the ripe peaches that are threatening to break the limbs off the little tree in our side …
VIDEO | POLL QUESTION
Brewer medium Jeannie Hopkins reads energy and spirits during a recent demonstration at the Filibuster Lounge at the Best Western White House Inn in Bangor.

Maine medium provides comfort to the grieving

By Meg Haskell on Aug. 24, 2016, at 11:17 a.m.
“People feel different when they leave. They feel better,” medium Jeannie Hopkins of Brewer said.
Qian Xue, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maine, explains her research into developing a simple blood-testing device for home-bound Mainers at a recent UMaine forum on aging-related research.

UMaine showcases projects under development to help Mainers age in place

By Meg Haskell on Aug. 23, 2016, at 1 a.m.
From a simple well-water purification device to a comfortable, high-tech protector that decreases the likelihood of a hip fracture in a fall, researchers at the University of Maine are all about aging these days.
LIVING IT FORWARD

From Day 59, you can see the end of summer

on Aug. 18, 2016, at 10:03 a.m.
From a hidden beach on the broad shipping channel in South Portland to the far end of secluded Deboullie Lake near Fort Kent, my husband, Douglas, and I have traveled the great state of Maine this summer in full compliance with the rules of the 2016 Summer Swim Challenge. Since …
One of the quilts that Hampden artist Sally Field, 75, made is seen on Aug. 11 at the Boyd Place in Bangor. Field is one of several area quilters whose work is on exhibit at Boyd Place.

Stitch by stitch, Maine quilters bring new life to an old tradition

By Meg Haskell on Aug. 18, 2016, at 6:11 a.m.
“There are a lot of quilters in Maine. Most of us have quite a collection at home,” Callie Lavoie said. “We try to pass them off on all our family members.”
Bangor Daily News features writer Meg Haskell says her part to WABI TV5's Doug Finck (center) while Rodney Devost films at Sea Dog Brewing Co. in Bangor on Thursday. CBS held a competition that's part of a larger nationwide competition to win a walk on role on either "The Bold and the Beautiful" or "The Young and the Restless."

Break a leg: Auditioning for ‘The Young and the Restless’

By Meg Haskell on Aug. 13, 2016, at 8:21 a.m.
My participation was a longshot. Although I’ve enjoyed some opportunities to perform at the community theater level, I’m not what anyone would call an accomplished actor. The camera does not love me, Baby. Also, I am not and have never been a fan of the daytime dramas, as the soaps are now called.
LIVING IT FORWARD

My rash planting triggered this garden explosion

on Aug. 11, 2016, at 10:21 a.m.
  If this is August, it must be green bean season in Maine. Should you have any doubt, you need look no further than my kitchen, where Douglas and I have been up to our elbows in beans for the past week. There are beans in baskets, beans in bags, …
A golfer watches her ball after taking a swing at Traditions Golf Club in Holden on Tuesday morning.  The club hosts a women's league there weekly, and while there are a number of longtime golfers there are lots of newcomers as well.  “"This is not a league of terribly competitive players,”" said golf pro and club co-owner Colin Gillies. “"We try to make it as comfortable and nonthreatening as possible by making up compatible teams with a mix of skill levels.”"

Women’s golf league bringing fun to the fore for retired ladies

By Meg Haskell on Aug. 11, 2016, at 8:19 a.m.
“We try to be fun and easy and accommodate all levels of ability.”
Kathy James, 65, shows off the three-story building on Main Street in Bucksport that she recently purchased Tuesday. James is renovating the space for an arts center -- gallery, studios, classes, supply and gift store. She is retired, widowed, caring for her 90-year-old mother and pursuing her dream to share and create art.

One woman’s faith, artistic vision are breathing new life into downtown Bucksport

By Meg Haskell on Aug. 04, 2016, at 2:12 p.m.
Bucksport is struggling to reinvent itself. And as it does, 65-year-old seasonal resident Kathy James has seized the opportunity to realize a life’s dream.
LIVING IT FORWARD

Can we talk? Here’s why this Baby Boomer loves her job

on Aug. 04, 2016, at 1:22 p.m.
It was a year ago this week that I returned to the Bangor Daily News after a four-year stint in public relations. In the newsroom, journalists refer to the move to PR work as “going over to the dark side.” They’re sort of joking around, because they don’t want their …
VIDEO | POLL QUESTION
Suzie Hockmeyer (center) smiles while listening to one of the guides go over the white water rafting trip down the Kennebec River in The Forks on Tuesday. Hockmeyer and her former husband, Wayne Hockmeyer, are widely regarded as the founders of whitewater rafting in Maine. Now in her mid-60s, Suzie is still a registered whitewater guide, taking groups on adventures from Northern Outdoors in The Forks.

First woman licensed as whitewater rafting guide has led groups down Maine’s wildest rivers for 40 years

By Meg Haskell on Aug. 04, 2016, at 12:28 p.m.
Clearly at ease and in her element as the group set out, Suzie Hockmeyer, 65, strapped on her yellow helmet and green life preserver, grasped her plastic paddle and helped hoist the heavy rubber raft down the long stairway to the foot of the Harris Station dam.
Kay Beal smiles and sings along while listing to a customized selection of music on her iPod on Tuesday in the common area at Narraguagus Bay Health Care in Milbrige. Beal is involved in the Music and Memory program aimed at tapping into the memories of people with dementia.

How music is improving life for dementia sufferers in Maine

By Meg Haskell on July 28, 2016, at 6:17 a.m.
There are 40 facilities in Maine in the process of bringing the program on board thanks to a national effort to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes and some grant funding.
LIVING IT FORWARD

How my mother-in-law conquered the Kennebec and won my heart

on July 27, 2016, at 1:32 p.m.
As I write this, I’m preparing to head northwest in Maine, over to The Forks, for a story about whitewater rafting. I bought a drybag so I can bring my cell phone, a notepad and a fleece vest on my trip down the Kennebec. I’ve packed my bathing suit, water …
People gather to watch a free movie on July 22 in Pickering Square in Bangor.

How Bangor plans to become more ‘age-friendly’

By Meg Haskell on July 25, 2016, at 4:35 p.m.
“My goal is for Bangor to raise its status and become one of the best small cities in the country.”
Organic farmer, writer, philosopher and former Equity theatre stage manager Mort Mather laughs while washing lettuce in his back yard in Wells. The greens, grown on his land, are bound for his restaurant, Joshua’s, in town.

How homesteader, activist, writer Mort Mather found happiness in Maine

By Meg Haskell on July 22, 2016, at 6:16 a.m.
“We didn’t know we were part of a movement,” Mather said of the early days. “We were just living our lives.”
LIVING IT FORWARD

Raspberries: capturing the sweetness of summer for the winter ahead

on July 21, 2016, at 2:20 p.m.
Last week, I emptied out the little chest freezer in the basement, which was still harboring bags of kale, tubs of pesto and a few packets of deer meat from last fall. I carried all the food up to the kitchen freezer so we will eat it up. Then I …
Dr. Ralph Siewers, a retired physician from Sedgwick, settles in with a jigsaw puzzle at The Vicarage by the Sea in South Harpswell.

How this home in Maine is giving normalcy to people with dementia

By Meg Haskell on July 20, 2016, at 11:16 a.m.
The Vicarage aims to keep residents meaningfully engaged in their world as long as possible and to meet their changing needs on a day-by-day basis with flexible care plans, regular group and individual outings and a high staff-to-resident ratio that promotes security, spontaneity and personal interaction.
VIDEO
Rita Bridge (right) concentrates while participating in a public tai chi demonstration and class on the Bangor Waterfront last summer. The event was sponsored by the Bangor-based Eastern Area Agency on Aging, which uses an evidence-based tai chi program to help prevent falls by improving seniors’ strength, balance and coordination.

How to keep failing eyesight from causing falls in older Mainers

By Meg Haskell on July 15, 2016, at 6:04 a.m.
It is estimated that one in three Americans 65 and older fall each year, many suffering serious injury, hospitalization or even death.
LIVING IT FORWARD

What I learned on my summer vacation

on July 14, 2016, at 11:38 a.m.
Just a few minutes after launching our kayaks in the tiny village of Sinclair and ducking under a low concrete bridge, Douglas and I rounded a bend in the quiet waterway and glided to a halt. “Uh-oh,” said my husband of not quite one year. A few yards ahead, stretching …