As a military wife, I have been away from home since I was twenty-four years old. Down East keeps me connected to my roots in Maine and I look forward to every issue. I often recognize the "Where in Maine?" photos and they bring a smile to my face, but today when I opened the June issue I was suddenly home again in Winslow, Maine. Fort Halifax has been the center of every celebration in our little town through the years, especially our bicentennial in 1976 when I was just thirteen years old. Back then we could climb all through the fort and hang out the windows to have our picture taken to commemorate the occasion.
My husband and I were on our first military assignment in Texas when our town put together the puzzle pieces of Fort Halifax after the Great Flood of 1987. History was saved for all of us!
-Rachel Pellerin BoernerMaking Movies
Cape Coral, Florida
I'm not sure I understand Joshua F. Moore's "Talk of Maine" article in your May issue about moviemaking in Maine. He seems to be saying Maine should pay movie moguls (or somehow defray their costs) to get movies made in Maine. He mentions that many of Stephen King's early films were made here. I'm sure Mr. King could still create incentives for his films to be made in Maine, but could it be that he's since figured out something you haven't?
I assume you are counting on the movie people to spend tons of money during filming, and that the film itself will encourage more tourism. But how much monetary gain is there after the kickback to the moguls? And doesn't the fact that people think a movie like The Mist was made in Maine encourage tourism, assuming the image created is favorable? I suspect On Golden Pond did more for Maine tourism than did In the Bedroom.
If Maine wants to throw money around to encourage tourism with giveaways to out-of-staters, I suggest random days in July be chosen to hand a twenty dollar bill to every car with out-of-state tags that enters the I-95 tollbooth headed north. The free publicity from the media and the recipients might make it a bargain, and it would be way more fun than bribing Hollywood fat cats.
Jeff Clark's article "The Vanishing Point" in your May issue did a fine job shining a light on the loss of Maine's working waterfront to private development. We would, however, like to make a correction regarding the work of Holbrook Community Foundation in Cundy's Harbor. The success of the campaign to Keep Holbrook's Working was made possible by many, many partners including the Trust for Public Land, the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, the Genesis Community Loan Fund, and more than six hundred individuals, businesses, and foundations. The Trust for Public Land provided early support by helping a small number of concerned citizens turn their vision for preserving and permanently sustaining their community's center - working waterfront, a general store, affordable, year-round apartments and seasonal restaurants - into a reality. While the Trust for Public Land purchased the option to buy the privately held parcel, the Genesis Community Loan Fund made the urgently needed bridge loan of seven hundred thousand dollars to complete the sale before the option deadline of December 31, 2006.
-Beth McPherson, Executive DirectorLions, oh my!
Genesis Community Loan Fund
At the risk of being linked with those who have been aboard alien spacecraft, I would bet the farm that - contrary to your recent "Don't Believe Your Eyes" article ["Talk Of Maine," June 2007] - my wife and I have encountered a mountain lion in Maine. It was three, possibly four, years ago on Six Mile Lake in Marshfield. We were in a canoe. The animal was on the wooded shore about fifty feet away. We watched each other for a good fifteen seconds while I cursed that fact that I'd left my camera behind. We blinked and it was gone - not to be seen again that year or in subsequent years.
I am not a wildlife biologist, but this animal easily topped a hundred pounds and it was definitely not a house cat, dog, deer, moose, bear, or large lobster.
East Brookfield, Massachusetts
That big cat I saw? It definitely was a cougar. I saw it several years ago while I was getting ready for work. Sitting in my living room, I saw a mountain lion run past my window and out of sight behind my barns. I only saw it from the back, but there's no doubt what I saw. Since then my husband and I have talked to three or four people who also have seen a mountain in this area. It's not anyone's pet unless someone from away stuck it in his or her car and took it for a ride.
I have just finished reading the article about mountain lions in the June issue of Down East. I can tell you with great certainty that I saw a mountain lion on the road to Squaw Mountain Lodge/Inn sometime between 1978 and 1982. I was driving there to check on a site for the Maine State Nurses annual convention and a very large tawny animal with a long tail crossed directly in front of my car. I called Gene Letourneau at the Morning Sentinel and described my experience, and he confirmed that he had received other calls and sightings in the same area. So while there may not be mountain lions in Maine now, there surely were some twenty-five years ago.
-Nancy ChandlerA Good Life
Green Valley, Arizona
With regard to Down East's June cover line questioning Helen Nearing's authenticity, I would invite you to consider what she did with the monetary resources she had. Throughout their time in Vermont, and more so in the later years in Maine, Helen and her husband, Scott, made themselves available to people who would travel to their homestead seeking knowledge and advice. At times they received, and made time for, thousands of visitors a year. Helen even fed many of them. Prior to Helen's death in 1995 she made arrangements to have her and Scott's third and final homestead preserved in trust and made available as an education center for those in search of their own "good life." Since 1998, the Good Life Center at Forest Farm has provided more than 15,000 people with workshops, summer courses, guest speakers, events, and tours.
Suggesting that Helen Nearing may have been a "fraud" belittles the on-going work of the Good Life Center, as well as the contributions of someone who devoted her life to giving, teaching, and working hard.
-Bob St. Peter, Executive Director
The Good Life Center at Forest Farm