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2020--The Cancelled Year

One of the most delightful aspects of living in rural western Maine is the ebb and flow of the changing seasons. Each quarter of the year has its own characteristics, from snow to rain to Opening Day to colorful gardens to late summer sunsets to foliage. And then back to snow again to start the cycle all over.

Most months have an annual event or two that you look forward to attending. It is a way to see friends, to catch up on local news and very often support a non-profit organization trying to make money to fund helpful projects. It is a way to mark time from one year to the next.

2020 started out like every other year with snowmobilers, skiers and ice fisherman enjoying the winter weather. But suddenly in March things started to change, slowly at first and then rapidly. No flights permitted from certain countries and then the NBA and NHL suspended their season. Spring training ended with the hopes that the schedule would start again in May. And then there were the 'Stay at Home' orders with most businesses required to shut down. Countless meetings on Zoom as we worked from home Everyone agreeing to Flatten the Curve.

But then the weeks dragged on. The Boston Marathon postponed and later cancelled. Our annual trip to DC for Legislative Meetings cancelled and conducted remotely. Summer camps closed. The Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library closed down with its re-open date still uncertain. The Arts and Artisans Fair was cancelled as well as just about every festival throughout the state. The entire schedule for the Brick Church for the Performing Arts schedule GONE. The Lovell Old Home Days 5k Run and Parade was cancelled. And now the Granddaddy of them all: the Fryeburg Fair. No Maine Association of REALTORS convention at Samoset. No concerts at Stone Mountain. Saco Valley Fire Department canceled its August Chicken BBQ.  And on and on and on. Our neighbor couldn't make this up in one of his novels.

One benefit of living in our western Maine town is the easy access to the outdoors. We can go for a nice walk by opening our front door. I can split wood and add to the long stack or pull weeds from the garden. Not sure how people, like our daughter, are surviving in places like Brooklyn.

I am confident that we will survive and prosper. It may not snap back quickly but before long we will return to some sense of normalcy. Until then, let's respect each other and work together to get there!

 

Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library and COVID-19

COVID-19 has wreaked death and economic destruction around the globe. All communities have been impacted, even here in rural western Maine. Uncertainty abounds regarding the upcoming summer tourist season.

Here in Lovell, we have been living with a 'stay in place' order for more than a month and we still have a few more weeks before it may or may not be lifted. And even our beloved community institution, the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library, is feeling the pain. Over the past few days, the Board of Trustees has made the decision to close the doors, lay off all employees and suspend all operations.

Per their request, I am posting the Board's statement regarding their difficult decision with the hope that it can help get the word out to a large number of people. KezarLife is posting this statement but does so without advocating for closing the Library or keeping it open.

Please click here for a copy of the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library's statement.

LCpl Jordan C. Haerter

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April 22nd is a very important date in our family. In honor of Cpl Jonathan T. Yale and LCpl Jordan C. Haerter, I am reprinting a KezarLife post from August 2017. Please take a moment to read the extraordinary story of these two men. By giving their lives, they saved many others. One of those Marines saved was our son Ben.

In Jordan’s Honor

I tend not to get too personal in these pages. Maybe a couple of posts about various trips or family updates but, for the most part, I like to keep things focused on Lovell and Kezar Lake. However, this past weekend was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. We have always been proud of our son Benjamin, but over the last few days, Rondi and I discovered quite a bit more about his commitment to others, the commitment to his country and the overall respect he has earned from his peers.

In early 2008, Benjamin was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq. His station was comprised of United States Marines and Iraqi police. In the early morning of April 22, 2008, two Marines, Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale and LCpl. Jordan Haerter, standing guard at their posts, stopped a suicide bomber from killing 50 US Marines and additional Iraqi police officers. Our son was one of those Marines saved.

Over the years, there have been several memorial bike rides in Jordan’s honor but 2017 marked the inaugural “Jordan’s Run: Veterans’ Memorial 5k Run” which is part of a Veteran’s series on Long Island. Having run in, worked in and organized multiple races over the years, I was very impressed by what this race committee put together. Major sponsors (Macy’s), great t-shirts, lots of food, friendly volunteers, support from police, fire and rescue service departments. It was clear, as the participants went through residential neighborhoods as well as the downtown commercial area, that the entire town of Sag Harbor was there to support the event.

One of the realities of having a child serve in the military is that they will be placed in harm’s way. There is no avoiding this. Over the weekend, we met several Gold Star parents and it is difficult to express my gratitude to their sacrifices. In addition to meeting the Platoon Commander, we also met a number of Marines who were with Ben on that dark day. But most important to me, was meeting Jordan’s mother JoAnne Lyles. It is amazing that she has worked so hard over the past nine years, through the memory of her son Jordan, to help many others. And that is her vision, that every year runners and walkers will come together to not only honor Jordan, but to help many others. With 358 finishers in the very first race, I am confident that it will continue to grow for many, many years.

As the proud parent of a Marine, I ask every reader of KezarLife to take a few minutes to read the transcript of the speech given by Lt. General John Kelly about these two brave Marines. And to then take a moment and reflect on what this great country means to you and the people who protect our way of life.

Click here to read Lt. General Kelly’s speech.

 

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    2020 Kezar Realty Calendars

        Happy New Year! The 2019 edition of the Kezar Realty magnet calendar is now available.

        I will be sending the calendars out via mail and they will also be on the counters  in local stores  Or pick one up at the Kezar Realty office. You may also send me an email at stan@kezarrealty.com and I will be happy to drop one in the mail for you.

        This year's aerial photo is used with the permission of Kirk Erickson of      MaineScape Media (mainescapemedia.com, kirk@mainescapemedia.com, 207-330-0828).

        As always, not only is the calendar functional but it sure dresses up your refrigerator!

    Toys for Tots

    Marine Toys for Tots Program

    Kezar Realty is proud to serve as a collection point for this year's 'Marine Toys for Tots Program'. You can drop off unwrapped toys here at the office (224 Main Street, Lovell). If no one is here, feel free to leave them at the front door. The last day for collection will be December 13th. The Toys for Tots charity began in 1947 and annually delivers more than 18 million toys to needy families. Find out more about the program here.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    2019 Bowls & Brews, Lovell, Maine

    It isn't very often that one gets to help organize an event that not only provides an enjoyable evening but also raises awareness AND money for an important local charity--The Sunshine Backpack Food Program. Over $1,800 was raised for this important program. Even bigger is that this money is going to build next year's budget!

    Here is the recipe for success: Invite people and local businesses to cook their favorite chili or chowder; solicit beer donations from Maine craft brewers for the beer tasting; have the powerful musical trio of Jed Wilson, Dave Kobrenski and Craig Bryan play, have the accomplished local bakers donate cookies, pies and bread and set-up tables and chairs for people to enjoy the evening. Thank you very much to the Lovell VFW for the use of their facilities.

    This year's BOWLS & BREWS had close to an equal mix of chili and chowder entries. All of them were outstanding! There are two categories of winners. Judges and Peoples Choice. The first place winners are awarded a specially designed apron created by students at the Molly Ockett School in Fryeburg.

    Janice Sage, Mark Moulton, Bob Drew and Ethel Hurst were this year's judges. Very hard work but they never complained and did a terrific job! The attendance for this year's event was probably double the number of last year. That created a lot of extra ballot counting for Jeanne Bonner and Sue Hamlin.

    Exciting news for next year's event! The Lodge at Pleasant Point has agreed to host the 2020 Bowls and Brews! See you there next November!

    Here are the winners:

    Judges Choice for Chowder:

    1) Pleasant Point Inn; 2) Paula Hughes; 3) TIE--Melissa Holden and Meg Dyer

    Judges Choice for Chili:

    1) Shelley Pilsbury/ KLWA; 2) Tom Hughes; 3) Stephen James

    Peoples Choice for Chowder:

    1) Pleasant Point Inn; 2) Jean Hunter; 3) AMC--Pinkhan Notch

    Peoples Choice for Chili:

    1) Stephen James; 2) Tom Hughes; 3) Shelley Pilsbury/KLWA

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      2019 Bowls & Brews!

      Calling all Chili and Chowder aficionados! The Second Annual Bowls & Brews will be held on Saturday, November 9th from 4-6 pm at the Lovell VFW Hall on Smart's Hill Road. This event will provide an opportunity for both professional and amateur chefs to compete for top awards and bragging rights.

      Bowls & Brews donates all profits to MSAD 72's Sunshine Backpack Food Program. This Program sends weekend food home to children in need in the three elementary schools within the system.

      Residents, businesses and organizations throughout western Maine and Mt Washington Valley are invited to participate. There are two distinct categories: People's Choice and Judges' Favorites. Special awards will be given to all winners.

      Building on last year's large and enthusiastic turnout, the well-known musical trio of Dave Kobrenski, Jed Wilson and Craig Bryan will be playing.

      Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for ages 12-17 and free for children 11 and under. In addition to the variety of great chili and chowder, a number of Maine craft breweries will have their beer available for tasting. This lineup includes: Atlantic Brewery -- Bar Harbor; Rock Harbor Brewing -- Rockland; Lake St. George Brewing -- Liberty; Norway Brewing -- Norway; Saco River Brewing -- Fryeburg and Oxbow Brewing-- Newcastle.

      And local bakers will be contributing delicious deserts for the popular bake sale!

      For more information regarding the Second Annual Bowls & Brews, please contact Stan Tupaj at 207-925-1500 or stan@kezarrealty.com. Click here to print an entry form.

            

      2019 Lovell Old Home Days 5k Run

       

      How could this be the 15th year! Come join the fun and sign up for the 15th Annual Lovell Old Home Days 5k Run Saturday, July 20th! As always, runners lead the parade on a fun and fast course down Route 5 and ending at the Lovell Athletic Field. A second water table will be on the course, just past the VFW on Smarts Hill Road. Great prizes and t-shirts to the first 100 registered runners. Register early to guarantee your t-shirt designed by Fryeburg Academy student Grace Marshall.

      Click here to register online.

      Memorial Day

      Thank you very much to the Lovell/Fryeburg VFW Post No. 6783 for conducting today's Memorial Day service. Please do not forget that Memorial Day is observed so that we can remember all the men and women who died in active military service. It was great to see such a large turnout. Next time you visit the library, please take the time to visit the monument and reflect on the number of people who not only have served our country but lost their lives in battle.

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