Unsinkable Monica Quimby

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TURNER – When interviewed last week for a homecoming story, paralyzed college student Monica Quimby, 19, demonstrated her optimistic outlook she works to keep. She also showed her determination to walk again.

Doctors have cautioned her that, barring a medical breakthrough, she may never walk again. Monica repeats the fact that it takes a year and a half for spinal cord injuries to heal, so she has time to work toward gaining movement.

I told her the Sun Journal would like to check back with her later to see how she’s doing.

That would be great, Monica said.

“You can do a follow-up story on me when I begin walking,” Monica said.

– Bonnie Washuk
Great balls o’ fire

Kirk Lundstrom made the front page last week for an eclectic, electronics collection of antique television sets from the 1940s, but it turns out he’s got a secondary collection that would have made a fun story.

He’s a huge Jerry Lee Lewis fan. Lundstrom’s met the red-haired rocker 30 times.

The voice that ripped through “Great Balls of Fire” in the late 1950s has burnt out a bit.

“He’s got a lot of age on him – he can still play the piano,” Lundstrom said.

He caught Lewis in concert last weekend at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square. According to Lewis’ Web site, he had a date to play over the weekend at Niagara Fallsview Casino and more dates in Spain, England and Germany coming up.

Last weekend, Lewis played for more than an hour. Lundstrom, 45, said he spotted lots of 20-, 30- and 40-year-olds in the crowd, not the older audience you might expect.

“He really rocked up a storm,” Lundstrom said. “He opened with Roll Over Beethoven’ and he closed with Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.'”

Then the Lewiston man got backstage to say hello again.

– Kathryn Skelton
Sure sign of a long walk

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Getting to firefighters at woods fires can be a challenge due to the terrain. Most times, firefighters don’t let you in, if they’ve got a working fire they’re trying to control.

But, some departments let reporters and news photographers ride in the back of an available pickup truck taking supplies or firefighters in, especially if it’s a ways into the backcountry.

Almost always, you have to walk a ways to find them, because, invariably, they’re ahead of the fire or mopping up hot spots.

On Thursday, though, on a ridge off Mount Will in Bethel, I got permission from the property owner to drive in to where the firetrucks were parked.

Walking up to a group of firefighters manning the water pumps, I asked them how far of a walk I had ahead of me to reach Assistant Chief Mike Jodrey to get the particulars. I could see a skidder road headed up the ridge, but I couldn’t see anyone in sight up there where the fire went.

So, it wasn’t a good sign when one of them handed me a full water bottle to indicate how far I had to walk. It’s great, though, that these men and women never seem to lose their sense of humor in tough situations.

– Terry Karkos

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