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.
Rene Collins, 74, has been running for more than 30 years. She has run in 16 Boston Marathons and is training with her team for the third annual Down East Sunrise Trail Relay in July, a 102-mile, overnight relay race. Collins is one of the oldest members of her local running group called Maine Running Fossils. Collins was training at the track at the Brewer Community School on Tuesday morning.

‘There’s a choice to make here:’ These ‘fossils’ still lace up their sneakers for races

By Meg Haskell on July 01, 2016, at 6:52 a.m.
The Maine Running Fossils, a group of about 30 runners ranging in age from their mid-40s to well into their 70s, will field a team of 16 to take part in the third annual Down East Sunrise Trail Relay.

Goodbye to a dear companion, hello to new possibilities

on June 29, 2016, at 6:45 p.m.
For the first time in my adult life, I am without a dog. And though it feels shocking and a little disloyal to say so, at 61, I’m kind of okay with that. It was on May 19 that I made the difficult decision to let my sweet girl Lucy …
Wendy Taggart (left) never thought she'd be raising a child again in her 50s, but situations changed when Taggart's son could no longer care for his daughter. Taggart and her husband stepped in, and Kaylee has been living with them in Levant since she was 15 months old.

When young families fail, grandparents step forward

By Meg Haskell on June 29, 2016, at 11:49 a.m.
When Wendy Taggart and her husband, Chip, built a dream home for their retirement years, that dream did not include raising a child there. But just a few months after they moved in, nearly 8 years ago, their 15-month-old granddaughter, Kaylee, moved in, too — and she stayed.
Cheryl Melvin (center) contemplates her next word during a women's Scrabble tournament at Markel's Bakehouse in Castine Tuesday. The competition brought 16 high-level players from across the country to Castine for a three-day tournament.

World-class wordsmiths at the top of their game in Castine tournament

By Meg Haskell on June 24, 2016, at 8:42 a.m.
Top competitors from across the country traveled to Castine from New Mexico, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado and other parts of the country to play in in this small tournament.
Bangor resident and businessman Orlando Frati meets country music star Dolly Parton backstage before her performance at Darling's Waterfront Pavilion on Saturday, June 18. Frati last saw Parton, and snapped the photo he is carrying here, 47 years ago when she was the relatively unknown opening act for country star Porter Wagoner at a performance in Bangor.

‘To Orlando, love, Dolly Parton’: This Bangor man got the autograph of a lifetime

By Meg Haskell on June 23, 2016, at 11:47 a.m.
“She was beautiful,” Orlando Frati, 84, said. “She had on a beautiful dress, and she was all glittered up.”

Summer is short. Here’s one way to make every day count.

on June 23, 2016, at 10:34 a.m.
    Though I love all the seasons in Maine and look forward to their particular pleasures, I have to admit that summer is my favorite. By the time spring, that fickle flibbertigibbet, is wrapping up her teasing routine of early peach blossoms and surprise ice storms, I am more …
A ferry in Penobscot Bay carrying vehicles and passengers from Islesboro to Lincolnville.

Why ‘aging in place’ poses a special challenge on Maine islands

By Meg Haskell on June 21, 2016, at 4:22 p.m.
“Everyone wants to stay on the island and in the community as they age; it’s their home,” island resident and Boardman Cottage board member Sharon Daley said.
Sleep technician Jordan Qualey (left) helps Corky Potter with a belt that will monitor his chest movements while he is sleeping at the St. Joseph Healthcare Center for Sleep Medicine in Bangor.

How insomnia makes us sick, and how to put the problem to rest

By Meg Haskell on June 17, 2016, at 9:20 a.m.
“There are three essentials in life: water, food and sleep,” Dr. Ganesha Santhyadka said. “Sleep really is an essential thing.”

What not to buy your baby boomer dad, or his dad, for Father’s Day

By Meg Haskell on June 16, 2016, at 2:29 p.m.
Rather than searching for a material expression of that sentiment, Cliff Singer suggests adult children find meaningful ways to spend time with their dads on Father’s Day.

Backyard planting looks to the future, honors the past

on June 15, 2016, at 1:29 p.m.
  Last Saturday, with a light drizzle falling from the sky, Douglas and I transplanted a little white pine tree, moving it from the steep hillside behind the barn to the top of the gentler slope that runs from the rhubarb patch down toward the road. Our goal was very …
Bangor native Orlando Frati, 84, shows off some of the photographs he has taken over the years on Wednesday at his pawn shop on State Street in Bangor.

Decades after Dolly Parton’s Bangor debut, photographer, 84, dreams of meeting her again

By Meg Haskell on June 10, 2016, at 8:23 a.m.
Somehow, Orlando Frati hopes to once again make his way to the foot of the stage and, this time, meet the star he last saw when she was just starting out on her long journey to fame.

Once a nurse, always a nurse. Here’s why I keep paying to renew my license.

on June 09, 2016, at 3:10 p.m.
Renewing those life lessons is at least as important as renewing the license itself and well worth the cost.
Somerset Place, an affordable senior housing complex, can be seen on Monday in Brewer. The Brewer Housing Authority recently renovated the former Brewer Middle School and turned it into affordable senior housing, while leaving intact elements of the old school.

This historic Brewer schoolhouse offers affordable housing for seniors

By Meg Haskell on June 09, 2016, at 8:14 a.m.
“Being a historic building, we wanted to leave as much as we could while bringing it up to date for our residents.”
Women from the Deborah Lincoln House in Belfast sit down to lunch last Friday. The house is a private, independent assisted living home for six women in Belfast, established in 1903 by a private benefactor.

Would you give up your life savings for guaranteed care until death?

By Meg Haskell on June 03, 2016, at 10:37 a.m.
Whereas most nonprofit assisted living facilities accept Medicaid, the Deborah Lincoln House does not. Its unusual funding mechanism, a holdover from earlier times, requires each resident to sign all her financial assets over to the organization when she is admitted.

Some questions and lessons from the tragic death of Geraldine Largay

on June 02, 2016, at 2:15 p.m.
It got pretty quiet in the newsroom last Wednesday afternoon when we learned that, according to a new report from the Maine Warden Service, Appalachian Trail hiker Geraldine Largay may have been alive for almost a full month after she went missing back in July of 2013. Reporters tend to be …
A flu shot is administered to Sandy Boynton in Bangor, Oct. 31, 2007.

These 3 vaccines could save your life, protect those you love

By Meg Haskell on June 01, 2016, at 12:16 p.m.
Many seniors aren’t receiving these vaccines, leaving them more vulnerable to serious illness — and raising the possibility of sickening loved ones and others in their lives.

Encore boomers: the way Maine should be

on May 25, 2016, at 3:53 p.m.
  There was a lot of good energy flowing at the annual summit of the Encore Leadership Corps, held this past Monday at the Maple Hill Farm Conference Center in Hallowell. A small fraction of that energy came from me, as I grappled with some technological difficulties and then led an …
Flo Hawkes (left), 70, looks at the raised garden bed she just finished planting on Tuesday at the Brewer Housing Authority senior housing in Brewer. University of Maine assistant professor of nursing Kelley Strout wrote a grant last year to have the raised beds installed for the residents to be able to grow their own vegetables.

Maine seniors will grow fresh veggies for UMaine research

By Meg Haskell on May 25, 2016, at 11:24 a.m.
“If you give older adults in subsidized housing the opportunity, will they grow a garden and eat more vegetables?”
Jeanne McLeod's waterfront property has been her family since she was in eighth grade.

Last summer at the lake? How to pass your camp or cottage into new hands

By Meg Haskell on May 20, 2016, at 7:04 a.m.
Many Maine families find themselves facing difficult decisions about the future of these cherished vacation properties, many of which have been in the family for generations.

The ‘divorce diet’ — why it works and how it makes you sick

on May 18, 2016, at 3:10 p.m.
Back in 2008, when I was 55, I found myself negotiating an unexpected divorce from my husband of 28 years. There’s almost nothing good I can say about this period of my life. I had always thought of myself as cheerful, resourceful and self-reliant, but our separation and eventual divorce …