Volunteers of America Northern New England Breaks Ground on 4.2 Million “Cabin in the Woods” Housing Project for Homeless Maine Veterans

Volunteers of America Northern New England, Cabin in the Woods, Homeless Maine Veterans

Cabin in the Woods to provide permanent housing for homeless Maine veterans and their families

MAY 19, 2017 | AUGUSTA, ME – Twenty-one Maine veterans and their families will have brand new, energy-efficient, ADA-accessible cabins to call home once construction is completed on the “Cabin in the Woods” development being created by the Volunteers of America Northern New England.

The Brunswick-based non-profit broke ground today on the $4.2 million project located on the grounds of the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta.

“Some of our military veterans need a quiet place to help them transition into a daily routine. Cabin in the Woods, along with other support services will help them achieve that,” said June Koegel, President and CEO of Volunteers of America Northern New England. “Permanent housing with easy proximity to the services available at Togus is invaluable to someone struggling to re-establish their place in society.”

When completed the Cabin in the Woods development will have 16 one-bedroom and five two-bedroom cabins spread over 11 acres, each with its own wooded, private setting, available to homeless Maine veterans—both men and women.

The project is funded primarily through Maine Housing with additional donations from The Home Depot and TD Bank Charitable Foundations, as well as funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The land for the Cabin in the Woods development was acquired through the Department of Veterans Affairs Enhanced Use Lease Program, where the VA leases underutilized real estate to the private sector for the purpose of developing housing for homeless veterans.

Today’s event also was attended by:

  • Ann LePage, First Lady of Maine
  • Mark Weisendanger, Director of Development, Maine Housing
  • Mike Michaud, Former Asst. Sec. of Labor
  • Bill Burney, Field Officer, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
  • Ryan Lilly, Center Director, Veterans Administration Health Care Systems, Togus

Maine Academy of Country Music award winner Debbie Myers sang the national anthem.

Volunteers of America Northern New England already operates two successful veterans programs in the Saco-Biddeford area; The Arthur B. Huot House, which provides co-ed transitional housing for homeless veterans, and The Veterans Career House, which serves homeless male veterans.

Media Contact: Jill Valley-Orlando jill@knightcanney.com 808.271.3624

Real Pirates: An Exhibition from National Geographic

Portland Science Center, Real Pirates, Real Pirates: A National Geographic exhibition, Pirate ship Whydah, Captain Sam Bellamy

This is a story of the making of America—a true story more powerful than fiction.

– Jeffrey Bolster, UNH professor of early American and Caribbean history

May 25, 2017 | PORTLAND, ME – The classical age of piracy comes to life in Maine when the Portland Science Center welcomes Real Pirates: An Exhibition from National Geographic. The 7,000-square-foot interactive exhibition showcases more than 150 artifacts, including everyday objects, personal items, and treasures, from the first fully authenticated pirate ship ever to be discovered in U.S. waters.

Real Pirates is organized by National Geographic and Exhibitions International, a leading producer of touring exhibitions.

Real Pirates tells the true story of the Whydah, a pirate ship that sank off the coast of Cape Cod 300 years ago. The exhibition features treasure chests of coins and jewelry, as well as technically advanced weaponry of the time; 18th-century cannon, pistols, and swords. These artifacts were painstakingly recovered from the ocean floor over the last 30 years and form the core of this exhibition. “This isn’t fantasy. It is the real pirates’ treasure that bears witness to this ship’s fate,” said underwater explorer Barry Clifford, who discovered the Whydah wreck.

Pieces of eight touch 4

Visitors are provided with an unprecedented glimpse into the unique economic, political, and social circumstances of the early 18th-century Caribbean. Highlighted throughout the exhibition are compelling true stories of the diverse people whose lives converged on the Whydah before its demise. Multimedia galleries showcase this period of history, including the slave trade, based in West Africa and the economic prosperity in the Caribbean. Visitors can get a sense of everyday life aboard the Whydah pirate ship, and meet Captain Sam Bellamy, one of the boldest and most successful pirates of his day. Visitors continue on the journey with Bellamy as he sails, looting dozens of ships before a violent storm sank the vessel off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts on April 26, 1717.

“This unique and extraordinary exhibit defines the best of exploration,” said John Norman, of Exhibitions International. “From an archaeological perspective, we have the discovery of the shipwreck, its excavation, and the process by which it was authenticated. From a cultural perspective, we explore the rich history of the Caribbean trade routes during the 18th century and the inextricable link between the slave trade and piracy. This is the first time that this amazing story, with all of its interconnected layers and characters, will be presented in such an illustrative and educational format.”

Cannon 1

Visitors can enter the ship as the pirates did, by ducking through a large wooden door and going “below decks” of the Whydah in a life-size replica of the ship’s stern.

Real Pirates personally relates to visitors by sharing the stories of four members of the Whydah crew, people who ended up on the same pirate ship for very different reasons, such as John King, the youngest-known pirate on board the Whydah, who was believed to be younger than 11 years old at the time of the shipwreck. King’s piracy began when the ship he was traveling on with his mother was captured by Captain Bellamy, and he joined the pirate crew despite his mother’s objections.

Whydah History

The three-masted, 300-ton Whydah was built as a slave ship in London in 1715 and embodied the most advanced ocean-going technology of her day. She was easy to maneuver, unusually fast and, heavily armed and ready for battle. She was built to transport human captives from the West Coast of Africa to the Caribbean but only made one such voyage before being captured by pirates in February 1717. Soon after the ship’s slaves were sold in the Caribbean, Bellamy captured the Whydah near the Bahamas. His crew quickly hoisted the Jolly Roger, signaling to others that the slave ship was now a pirate ship.

On April 26, 1717, the Whydah, heavy with stolen goods from more than 50 captured ships, sank during a powerful nor’easter storm off the Massachusetts coast. All but two of the 146 people on board died.

“This was a unique period in our history,” said Jeffrey Bolster, professor of early American and Caribbean history at the University of New Hampshire and member of an advisory panel composed of academic and other scholarly experts that assisted exhibition organizers. Bolster added, “Through the cache of artifacts [from the ship] we see a world generally undisclosed, one in which the Caribbean was the economic center and values were very different, an era before civil rights, before individual liberties, and before democracy was institutionalized. Without the slave trade and the wealth of the region, piracy would not have existed. This is a story of the making of America – a true story more powerful than fiction.”

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About Exhibitions International – Founded by John Norman in 2003, Exhibitions International is the world’s preeminent museum exhibition producer. Under Norman’s direction, the company was entrusted with the most valuable treasures from earth and sea, including objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun, relics from Cleopatra’s Royal Palace, Princess Diana’s Royal Wedding Gown, and the only authenticated pirate treasure in the world. These riches are the heart and soul of breathtaking museum experiences created by Exhibitions International. Each unforgettable experience has mesmerized audiences at the finest art, science and history museums worldwide – totaling more than 30 million visitors.

About Barry Clifford – Barry Clifford is among the world’s best known underwater explorers. Born in 1945 on Cape Cod, Mass., Clifford has been involved in underwater surveys and excavations most of his adult life. Clifford is the author of four books: “The Pirate Prince,” “Expedition Whydah,” “The Lost Fleet” and “Return to Treasure Island.” He is currently working on a book about his search for the Santa Maria and his experiences in Haiti. Clifford’s work has been the subject of numerous television documentaries and features, including “Black Bellamy’s Treasure” (PBS), “Search for Pirate Gold” (Nova), “Sea-Raiders” (Turner Broadcasting), “The Hunt For Amazing Treasures” (NBC), “Lost Treasure of King Charles I” (Discovery Channel), “Sea Tales” (A&E), “Pirates of The Whydah” (National Geographic), “The Lost Fleet” (Discovery Channel/BBC-One), and “Quest For Captain Kidd” and “Quest for Columbus” (Discovery Channel). In December of 2016, it was announced that Casey Sherman, the New York Times bestselling author of The Finest Hours, acquired film rights to Clifford’s story of how he and first mate John F. Kennedy Jr. discovered and salvaged the Whydah Galley.

About National Geographic

About the Portland Science Center

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68 Commercial Street – Maine Wharf – Portland, ME

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Jill Valley-Orlando jill@knightcanney.com

Portland Science Center Hosts Area Art Students for a talk with “Dinosaur Portfolio” Artist

Artist Philip Carlo Paratore talks with MECA students and others to reveal the inspiration and methods behind his unique exhibition

Dinosaur Portfolio, Portland Science Center, Dinosaurs Unearthed

PORTLAND, ME | FEBRUARY 28, 2017 – Since it opened in November 2016, thousands of New Englanders have experienced the Portland Science Center’s Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibition, a multi-media, interactive immersion in dinosaur discovery. As an added bonus, attendees have also been treated to an exhibition of work by adjunct University of Southern Maine art professor, Philip Carlo Paratore, whose “Dinosaur Portfolio” is evocative of the spirit of exploration and the science of discovery.

On Monday March 6 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and again from 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Professor Paratore will lead Maine College of Art (MECA) students and others, on a journey through his “Dinosaur Portfolio” to reveal his inspirations and methods for creating his unique body of work.

He will also provide an “artists talk” at The Portland Science Center on Thursday, March 9 at 5 p.m. for the general public.

Dinosaur Portfolio, Portland Science Center, Dinosaurs UnearthedWhat makes dinosaurs such superlative expressions of nature? Their fossilized bones assembled for us in museums excite our imagination, reminding us of nature’s richness and creative exuberance. At this series of talks, art students will hear about the history of the Dinosaur Portfolio as well as how and why it came to be. Attendees also will have the opportunity to talk with Paratore about his goals and methods as an artist. Students will be invited to sketch dinosaur models from Dinosaurs Unearthed.

“Soon after I began working with dinosaur images, I realized how naturally they get us thinking about serious themes such as evolution, extinction, conservation and Time itself. Of course, everyone will get something a little different from my paintings, but that is the fun and beauty of art.”

Philip Carlo Paratore’s story begins as a ten-year old boy when his two favorite things to do were draw pictures of animals, especially dinosaurs, and take trips by subway to the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. These early childhood experiences led eventually to a decades-long artistic venture known as The Dinosaur Portfolio, now being presented at The Portland Science Center.

Over the years, his interest in science, especially the Natural Sciences, increasingly influenced his work, both in and out of the classroom. It has also led to journeys to Stonehenge; the Paleolithic caves at Lascaux and Fonte de Gaume, Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, the Serengeti, archeological sites in Central America, and Pithecanthropus sites in Solo, Indonesia. Whether in his studio or in his travels, the primary goal is to make connections between contemporary art and natural science.

The Dinosaur Portfolio has been presented in art and science museums around the United States and Canada including The Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology at Alberta,Canada, The Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia, The Michener Museum of Art, The Morris Museum of Art, The Virginia Museum of Science and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. 

Downloadable photos & video of Dinosaurs Unearthed here

About the Portland Science Center

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Media Contact: Jill Valley-Orlando jill@knightcanney.com 808.271.3624

Portland Science Center 68 Commercial Street – Maine Wharf – Portland, ME

Community coalition reaches agreement to move forward with the purchase of Saddleback Mountain

Saddleback Mountain, Saddleback Community Foundation, Peter Stein

RANGELEY, MAINE | October 27, 2016 -New life is being breathed into Saddleback Mountain this week as a group of ski lovers have joined forces to purchase the mountain in Maine’s High Peaks. The Saddleback Community Mountain Resort, LLC is now moving forward with a plan to raise enough money to purchase the mountain and re-open the ski area.

Peter Stein is leading the effort and said: “ We have been working with the owners of the mountain, the Berry Family on this for awhile and we now have their verbal agreement on the terms of a transaction and a roadmap to acquire the ski area. We need to raise $4 million and we will close on the deal. When we originally looked at the community purchase we had immediate interest with several people making financial commitments – now we will turn that passion into power to buy the mountain.”

People interested in participating can go to www.skisaddlebackme.com beginning later this week to contribute to the purchase. In the meantime, a team of people will be re-contacting interested participants to convert their financial interest into commitments. A survey and other fund raising probes conducted over the last year between July and September, showed more than 800 people interested in keeping the mountain open and more than $5 million in commitments.

Meanwhile, the impact of another idle season at Saddleback has hit the Franklin County community hard. Bald Mountain Camp owner Steve Philbrick says, “With Saddleback closed Rangeley and the greater surrounding area as a whole suffers because we have less to offer the tourism industry. When Rangeley suffers, the state of Maine suffers, Franklin County suffers and the economic wheel in Maine suffers. In short, Saddleback Ski Area is a crucial part of Maine’s economy as well as Rangeley and Northern Franklin County.”

Part of this deal includes the Trust for Public Land, which, partnering with the New England Forestry Foundation and others, intends to purchase 3249 acres of adjacent forestland as a separate but related transaction. Conservation partners want to see that the land is permanently conserved for long-term sustainable forestry and habitat values. Maine State Director Wolfe Tone said, “This is the coming together of the benefits, of land conservation, community economic development and community well-being. Conservation today is more than dollars and acres, our work is about focusing the outcomes of land conservation to benefit people and communities.”
Peter Stein added, “We are now poised to build a great foundation for Saddleback and the surrounding community. We are ready to go!”

Dinosaurs Unearthed Opens at the Portland Science Center

*FIRST TIME IN NEW ENGLAND*

Exhibit of life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, skeletons, and fossils

Added Attraction: Art exhibit by local artist Philip Carlo Patatore

Dinosaurs Unearthed, Portland Science Center

PORTLAND, ME | NOVEMBER 17, 2016 – For the ultimate “Throwback Thursday” Portland Science Center today announced that its exhibition of animatronic prehistoric life, Dinosaurs Unearthed, will open tomorrow.

Dinosaurs Unearthed is a multi-media, interactive immersion in dinosaur discovery. Its arrival at the Portland Science Center marks the first time this immensely popular exhibit has ever opened in New England.

The exhibit opens November 18, 2016 and will run through early Spring.

(For information on the exhibition and to purchase tickets, please visit portlandsciencecenter.com.)

“Thirteen of the dinosaurs are fully animatronic,” says Joe Gold, President of The Gold Group, which owns and operates The Portland Science Center. “The creators of these dinosaurs consult with paleontologists and researchers to ensure the most scientifically accurate result. The dinosaurs move smoothly and realistically—it’s really riveting.”

Powered by customized mechanical technology and a dynamic jointing system, the dinosaurs, ranging from a Velociraptor to a Triceratops to a juvenile T-Rex come to “life” in Dinosaurs Unearthed. The exhibit places each creature in naturalistic indoor landscapes and challenges our understanding of how dinosaurs lived, looked, and sounded in their pre-historic time. In relatively recent years, paleontologists have come to believe that some dinosaurs are the ancestors of modern birds—leading to the hypothesis that some dinosaurs may have been feathered.

“The exhibit includes a feathered Tyrannosaurus Rex,” added Gold. “This may be one of the most striking for people to see.”

An added, unique component at the Portland Science Center will be an exhibition of work by University of Southern Maine art professor, Philip Carlo Patatore, whose “Dinosaur Portfolio” is evocative of the spirit of exploration and the science of discovery.

In addition to the animatronic creatures, the exhibition will feature full-sized skeletons: a Yangchuanosaurus and a Tuojiangosaurus, as well as myriad simulated—and real—dinosaur fossils.

Dinosaurs Unearthed also features interactive stations such as a “Kids Dig Table” and “Dinosaur Digestion.”

Since the very first bones, teeth, and fossils were discovered, dinosaurs have fascinated humans. Dinosaurs Unearthed is designed to appeal to all ages.