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.
A pharmacist at the Walgreens on Wilson Street in Brewer prepares to inject a patient with the 2013-2014 flu vaccine.

Four reasons older Mainers should get a flu vaccine now

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 27, 2016, at 11:40 a.m.
A simple, affordable vaccine minimizes the odds of getting sick yourself or of transmitting influenza to others.
Members of the Women's Society for Christian Service make pies on Sept. 16 in the kitchen of the Franklin Street United Methodist Church in Bucksport. The ladies will sell their pies at their weekly bake sale.

Endangered Maine ‘church ladies’ live their faith, support their communities

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 23, 2016, at 10:34 a.m.
“In Maine, there’s a strong tradition of pulling together when someone is in need.”

Four ways to be sure it’s fall, without a calendar

on Sept. 22, 2016, at 12:10 p.m.
This week, without fanfare, summer slipped quietly into fall. Judging by the weather, though, it’s hard to be sure. September so far has felt like a leisurely extension of our balmy summer. Though I worry about the implications of this warming trend, I admit I’m not missing the garden-killing frosts …
The Eastern Area Agency on Aging group Active Agers takes a recent tour of the Orono Bog Boardwalk with a Maine naturalist.

How single Bangor-area seniors are combating isolation, inactivity

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 20, 2016, at 6:23 a.m.
“We learned people really want to get out and do something.”
Stephen Fitz-Gerald metal sculptor with a parts of a large sculpture the "Flame of Inspiration" made by his father Clark Fitz-Gerald. The sculpture was taken down from the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine in Orono when the building was renovated. Stephen refinished and slightly modified his father's work to fit the new space. It will be reinstalled later this month.

After a son restored his father’s work, ‘The Flames of Inspiration’ will be rekindled

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 16, 2016, at 6:23 a.m.
“He hoped the performances here at the arts center would inspire university students and that like flames the inspiration would spread,” the late artist’s son said.

Celebrating marriage at midlife and beyond

on Sept. 15, 2016, at 12:08 p.m.
A lot of couples are celebrating impressive wedding anniversaries these days. Thirty years or more is pretty common among my circle of friends and acquaintances. But Douglas and I know people who have been married 40, 45, 50 years and longer. That’s a lot of accumulated wisdom, presumably, about the …
Ann Davidoff (right) opens a box containing copies of "Senior Yellow Pages: Local and State Services for Seniors in Greater Bangor" at PrintBangor on Central Street. Davidoff is the board president of Gateway Seniors Without Walls, a nonprofit organization serving older residents of the Bangor area. Looking on at left is PrintBangor owner Elena Metzger.

Why a new directory is giving Maine seniors freedom to age in place

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 13, 2016, at 8:35 a.m.
“Senior Yellow Pages: Local and State Services for Seniors in Greater Bangor” is available free of charge to Bangor-area individuals and families, community groups and public facilities like libraries and town offices.
Bangor City Council Chairman Sean Faircloth discusses efforts underway to establish Bangor as one of the "most livable" cities in the U.S. during his introduction of House Speaker Mark Eves during the Bangor stop of the speaker's statewide senior listening tour.

Maine House speaker tells seniors to ‘keep heat on’ issues that affect them

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 09, 2016, at 1:13 p.m.
Audience members, who came from Bangor and surrounding towns, offered questions and comments, confirming the need for more affordable housing options, caregiver support and transportation services but also raised other issues.
Amateur naturalist Dana Wilde recently talks about writing about the vast universe, from the stars in the sky to the spiders in his yard, from the perspective of his home in Troy.

This Maine writer shares his backyard universe

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 09, 2016, at 10:21 a.m.
Dana Wilde, 63, has been observing and documenting the world around him, intimately and affectionately, for years.

Losing a country cat

on Sept. 08, 2016, at 2:02 p.m.
Our small, tiger-striped cat, Madeleine, hasn’t been seen for a week, and we fear the worst. In the year and a half she’s lived with us, we have come to appreciate her finer qualities, especially as compared to our cranky, disheveled senior cat, (M)Alice, who has been around forever. Madeleine …
Esther Rauch, longtime advocate for education and the arts, will be honored at the opening night gala of the Collins Center for the Arts for her work in promoting opera.

Maine educator to be honored for promoting opera and the arts

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 07, 2016, at 12:04 p.m.
“People have always loved opera without realizing it was opera,” Esther Rauch said. Now, if they would just come to the Collins Opera Outreach Committee’s talks, she said, they’ll discover a new level of enjoyment.
Meg Haskell

When the ‘think system’ fails, it’s time to get real about fitness

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 02, 2016, at 12:35 p.m.
Meg Haskell: “A positive attitude is a good starting point, the think system doesn’t actually work. So, this week I cut my losses and invested in a more substantive approach.”
Meg Callaway (center), coordinator of the Piscataquis Thriving in Place Collaborative Project, helps 85-year-old Dolores Buzzell (right) of Milo navigate the construction site of a new adult day services program while Dr. Lesley Fernow, longtime area geriatrician and president of the Maine Highlands Senior Center, looks on on Aug. 25 in Dover-Foxcroft.

How history buffs, old-age advocates are collaborating to support aging Mainers

By Meg Haskell on Sept. 02, 2016, at 6:18 a.m.
“There is a tremendous need in this area for adult day services and senior services.”

When the ‘think system’ fails, it’s time to get real about fitness

on Sept. 01, 2016, at 11:42 a.m.
I’ve been trying lately to lose 20 pounds, drop a dress size and get really lean and fit in the process. Strengthen my bones, build endurance, become more flexible, improve my balance and straighten my posture. Maybe drive down my cholesterol while I’m at it. I’ve actually been working at …
Raised garden beds filled with various plants can be seen on Aug. 25 at the Brewer Housing Authority.

Garden research project yields veggies, satisfaction for Maine seniors

By Meg Haskell on Aug. 31, 2016, at 6:25 a.m.
“This project has brought them together in a shared activity, and they’ve made friends with each other.”
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.

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 …
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.

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 …