Articles by Kent Ward

Kent Ward

Farewell at the end of a good ride

By Kent Ward on June 29, 2012, at 5:40 p.m.
When I retired from the Bangor Daily News in October 1991 after 29-plus years with the paper, publisher Rick Warren and managing editor V. Paul Reynolds kindly invited me to continue writing my weekly Saturday morning column that had run since 1967, when I began covering the Maine Legislature as …

My case for a sawed-off broomstick

By Kent Ward on June 22, 2012, at 6:44 p.m.
Early natives of the far north were said to believe that bears were another species of man, albeit a dangerous one. According to, when the natives encountered a bear they would stop, raise their arms, slowly back off and apologize to the animal for intruding on its turf. If …

Walking it back to kick the can

By Kent Ward on June 15, 2012, at 3:40 p.m.
A favorite buzz phrase of politicians and other talking heads on cable television talk shows at the moment is the shopworn “walk it back,” which describes an attempt by someone who has made an outrageous statement to put a better spin on the deal when given the opportunity for a …
Kent Ward

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s war on soft drinks is the food fight flavor of the week

By Kent Ward on June 08, 2012, at 12:32 p.m.
I have pondered the possibility that my turn to buy the farm might well occur when I am driving on a narrow two-lane track in the outback and meet up with a heavily loaded logging truck that swings out of a curve, catches an edge, as we old downhill skiers …

Quoting quotations for delight

By Kent Ward on June 01, 2012, at 2:32 p.m.
I once worked summers with an older fellow who — when someone in the crew got the better of him in the horseplay that seemed to be a part of our seasonal job description in those carefree days — would hint of retaliation to come by warning us, “Remember, laddies: …

Memorial Day a time to be grateful

By Kent Ward on May 25, 2012, at 3:43 p.m.
Like thousands of young American men eager to see action in World War II, Maurice Phair of Limestone enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in May 1941 because the United States had not yet entered the war. After the United States declared war on the Axis powers later that …

An old tale about true Maine grit

By Kent Ward on May 18, 2012, at 3:51 p.m.
Nearly 50 years ago a Maine State Prison inmate escaped from the former prison at Thomaston, disappearing into dense fog and remaining at large for 11 days before state police collared him at Wiscasset. For much of that time he had been holed up in the barn of South Warren …

Guidelines for aging gracefully

By Kent Ward on May 11, 2012, at 1:53 p.m.
When I turned a year older but none the wiser a week ago, I received from a friend by snail mail a clipping of an essay by newspaper columnist and author Roger Rosenblatt that — near as can be determined by the handwritten note in the margin — was published …

Anthology describes hardy breed of Bangor and Aroostook Railroad

By Kent Ward on May 04, 2012, at 4:07 p.m.
“Griswold isn’t even a whistle-stop on the Bangor and Aroostook’s Ashland Branch anymore. The two buildings remaining, formerly occupied by railroad employees, keep a brooding vigil over the grassy clearing and the clear waters of the St. Croix swirling past on the journey to the Aroostook River at Masardis. “The …

A distress call on May Day

By Kent Ward on April 27, 2012, at 2:33 p.m.
“May is a green as no other,’’ the poet Amy Lowell wrote. It is also many other things, she suggested, including soft earth, apple blossoms “and windows open to a South wind.’’ With its welcome greening of the countryside, rebirth of baseball and days set aside to honor motherhood, endangered …

On junking a tax code gone rogue

By Kent Ward on April 20, 2012, at 6:12 p.m.
There is an idea often expressed by frustrated taxpayers after the annual mid-April income-tax-filing frenzy has abated that the ponderous federal tax code should be junked and a new one, short and to the point, be written — this one in plain English. In the words of political satirist and …

Parking lot lost vehicle syndrome

By Kent Ward on April 13, 2012, at 3:43 p.m.
When a downstate friend called earlier this week to regale me with a tale about losing his car in a Bangor Mall parking lot, it occurred to me that most anyone who has driven a vehicle for any significant length of time likely has a similar story to tell. You …

The lengthy shelf life of Maine’s east-west highway

By Kent Ward on April 06, 2012, at 3:51 p.m.
One doesn’t have to poke around in the archives of a newspaper for long before being reminded of the truth of the biblical observation that there is not a whole lot new under the sun. A case in point is the current discussion concerning a proposed privately funded east-west toll …

Our exalted opinion of our own driving

By Kent Ward on March 30, 2012, at 6:33 p.m.
In the midst of the recently expired winter, a down-river friend sent me two newspaper clippings. One was a photograph of a pickup truck perched atop a substantial snowbank as two good ol’ boys — the befuddled male driver and his passenger — stood by, presumably trying to figure out …

A ‘be’ ball up high and inside

By Kent Ward on March 23, 2012, at 11:23 a.m.
Mainers may be impressed with the spectacular grand entrance of spring, but that doesn’t mean we have abandoned a suspicion that the weather gods will somehow extract payment for their unseasonable gift of abundant sunshine and summer-like temperatures. Show me the person who, when talk turns to the run of …

Life without real books, newspapers

By Kent Ward on March 16, 2012, at 8:17 p.m.
The announcement came late last month. Mr. Paperback, the popular bookstore chain that has been a fixture in Maine for 50 years, would go out of business at the end of April because of a shaky economy and technological advances that have changed the public’s reading habits and siphoned off …
Kent Ward

Some names are game-changers

By Kent Ward on March 09, 2012, at 1:38 p.m.
Journalism 101 teaches two basic principles of news gathering. One is that a solid news story provides readers with the who, what, when, where and why of the matter. I like to think that the late poet Rudyard Kipling alluded to the tenet when he wrote, “I keep six honest …

Snowe job applicants check in

By Kent Ward on March 02, 2012, at 1:16 p.m.
Had the lady been a Democrat, I suppose it could have been said that her bombshell announcement on Tuesday that she will not seek re-election to a fourth term in the United States Senate had come straight out of left field. But since Maine’s Sen. Olympia Snowe is a moderate …

A rascal remembered by Mainers

By Kent Ward on Feb. 24, 2012, at 2:25 p.m.
In oral arguments Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court began the process of determining whether the First Amendment protects from prosecution under the federal Stolen Valor Act anyone falsely claiming to have received military decorations and medals. The federal law imposes prison sentences of up to a year for those …

Basketball as relief from winter

By Kent Ward on Feb. 17, 2012, at 3:50 p.m.
For many a rural Mainer, a memorable vehicular encounter with mid-February’s first serious frost heave on the road to the village can be a reminder that soon the dismal mud-splattered snow banks of March will herald the pothole-patching interval that leads eventually to the welcome greenery of spring. We muddle …