Reporters notebook: Webster called a snow day


LEWISTON — It finally happened on that epic Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, 2014.

Bill Webster — the superintendent who camps at Baxter in the winter, who has been known to say, “This is Maine; it snows. Get out of bed and get to school” — relented and called a snow day.

He had his doubters. One student tweeted “Bill Webster ain’t canceling school.”

Another posted, “For everyone who thinks we have a snow day tomorrow, remember that we have Bill Webster as a superintendent.”

And my personal favorite, one student said that he was “willing to start a ‘Bill Webster trip to Europe fund’ so Jarvis can make calls.” (When Webster was in Europe in December, Assistant Superintendent Tom Jarvis called a snow day or two.)

But at 4 a.m. on Feb. 5, Webster said he was told by a meteorologist that 9 to 12 inches of snow would fall all day. Webster tweeted, “It’s official. NO SCHOOL TODAY.” Later, he said it was “nice to have a very easy decision” due to the forecast.

Students were overjoyed, no doubt. One tweet read, “Did Bill Webster just say ‘no school’? He’s been influenced by Tom (Jarvis).”

— Bonnie Washuk

Singing school cancellation challenge

Speaking of school cancellation, did you catch this funny no-school-today closing announcement?

On Feb. 3 in Burlington, Ky., Stephens Elementary School principal James Detwiler and drama teacher Chad Caddell posted their pre-recorded, catchy no-school announcement to the tune of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” On their post, they wrote “we like to have fun at our school,” and their winter-weary “awesome parents deserve this chuckle.”

It’s cute. It’s a hit, making the news nationwide. If you haven’t seen it, it’s at:

Hmmm. Our region has plenty of talented students and educators. Anyone? — Bonnie Washuk

How to help schools feed hungry children

On Feb. 7, we had a story about how Lewiston school teachers and principals sent food home over the weekend because students had told them they had nothing to eat at home and they were hungry.

We got some reactions to that story. Maine Credit Union spokesman Jon Paradise reminded us about the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger, a three-year, $75,000 commitment to expand programs like school food pantries and backpack programs.

Another reader seemed annoyed by young ones having no food at home, adding that she knows parents who use their welfare cash for unnecessary things (cigarettes, alcohol and hair styling) instead of food for their children. Others wanted to know how they could help.

The Lewiston School Department has just started a Lewiston Food Fund so that teachers don’t have to spend their own money to send food home with students. The contact is nutrition director Alisa Roman, who may be reached at 795-4106 or by email at [email protected]

Farwell Principal Althea Walker, along with other principals, said she’d welcome  donations of healthy, individually wrapped snacks (crackers and peanut butter, cereal, granola bars and fruit cups). She may be reached at 795-4110 or by email at [email protected] — Bonnie Washuk