NatGeo to air at Jay mill
National Geographic Channel carpenter-collector Jay Chaikin and his two-man crew feature the former Otis Paper Mill in next week’s episode of their popular “Abandoned” TV show.
Chaikin is riding the wave of reality junk-hunting shows and travels the country in search of abandoned buildings to collect — and then sell — what he calls “unexpected ‘gems’ of history with shockingly high values.”
In Jay, according to the NatGeo episode guide, “at an abandoned paper factory the size of several football fields, the guys hope to score a touchdown with an assortment of historic objects.”
And, they do.
The trio finds fire hoses, a Fairbanks scale, customized lockers and a pair of temperature gauges. But, according to NatGeo, “Just when the score is in their favor, Ricki (Chaikin) warns that the job might get sacked. The property owners are planning to turn the factory into a museum and may hesitate to sell certain objects.”
The Otis mill, while featured as “Abandoned” by NatGeo, is not abandoned. It has been owned by Jay Selectman Tim DeMillo and his wife, Mary Howes, since October 2009, now being operated as Otis Mill Ventures. Last March, the couple announced that the building’s renovation is moving along, with former accounting offices at the mill well on the way to becoming a restaurant with a cathedral ceiling and chandelier-style lights.
The couple is committed, they have said, to a complete renovation of the mill and getting the people of Jay back to work. They are using local contractors to renovate the 650,000-square-foot mill and hope, over time, to turn the place into a business complex.
“Abandoned” will be broadcast at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, on the National Geographic Channel. For more information, go to http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/abandoned/
— Judith Meyer
Out of order
CANTON — Just when I thought I'd covered every inherent format for traditional Maine town meetings and special town meetings in more than 15 years of journalism, Canton throws in a variation on order Thursday night.
First, it was highly unusual in that a rogue town meeting was called to seek funding when selectmen chose not to honor a petition brought by a group of citizen activists seeking more stringent oversight of selectmen conducting town business.
But the meeting itself, led by businessman Chris Dailey, lacked oversight in that people crowded into the old town office meeting room without anyone checking to ensure they are Canton residents and thereby allowed to vote.
Then, Dailey started the meeting, not by following his special town meeting warrant that he hired a lawyer to draft, spending about $2,000 for that and the meeting petition.
Instead, he told the standing-room-only crowd they first needed to elect a secretary. Linda Williams was nominated and elected by a show of hands.
Next, Dailey started with the warrant, seeking nominations for moderator. Ben McCollister was nominated. But, before he could be elected, a woman shouting from the back asked Dailey what the vote tally was for Williams.
"I have no idea," Dailey said.
The woman, who didn't identify herself, loudly asked what type of rules he was running the meeting with. Dailey answered Robert's Rules of Order.
That prompted the woman to proclaim that Dailey started the meeting out of order because he didn't follow the warrant and elect a moderator first, so thereby the meeting was moot.
Unfazed, Dailey shot back, "Then I'm out of order," ignored her, and finished the process with McCollister and got into the warrant. None objected.
— Terry Karkos
Freshmen 'Ice Storm babies'?
AUBURN — I heard a funny name for this year's high school freshmen class. They were referred to as the "Ice Storm babies."
On Sept. 5, Superintendent Katy Grondin gave the Auburn School Committee enrollment figures for the start of school. Overall enrollment is up, 3,655 from 3,617 last year. The difference is the high school freshmen. "It's a large class," Grondin said.
Committee member Laurie Tannenbaum said two words: "Ice Storm."
That got everyone laughing, as we remembered the Ice Storm, when many went for days or weeks without television and other comforts electricity allows. The Ice Storm was in January of 1998, about 14 years and nine months ago.
— Bonnie Washuk
Running a fowl of the law
Never a dull moment in the life of Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout.
On Friday morning, the creature-catcher was sent to Lisbon Street in downtown Lewiston where a rooster was reportedly running wild. Escapee from a cock-fighting ring? Somebody's runaway dinner?
"Nobody knows," Strout said.
The rooster had no intention of being taken. Wendell gave chase, conjuring images from the movie "Rocky" where the pugilist was tasked with catching a scrambling rooster to boost leg strength and coordination.
Strout does not intend to add rooster wrangling to his daily workout.
"It had us running all over the place," he said later in the day. "There were four of us out there trying to catch that thing."
Nobody escapes justice for long in Lewiston, not even barnyard fowl. Eventually the bird was taken into custody. And as soon as it was contained, a man rushed over from the sidewalk to offer Strout money for the animal. No sale. The bird was taken to a farm in Auburn where it will likely reside in peace and happiness.
— Mark LaFlamme