Before it was dirt, it was money.

That’s the memory of a 94-year-old woman who says a time capsule buried 76 years ago beneath St. Mary’s Church in Lewiston contained, among other things, a canceled $5,000 check.

The money helped build the Little Canada landmark, says Margaret Duncan of Lewiston. In 1927, she was a 17-year-old office clerk at the nearby Continental Mill. The check was written by her boss, mill owner H.B. Estes.

No remnants of the check remain.

On Monday, a group that is renovating the old church building opened the capsule, but its contents had turned to dirt. The seal on the metal box had broken, allowing water and age to destroy everything inside.

Duncan didn’t know what else might have been inside, she said.

The day the capsule was buried, Estes sent his office workers to the church. Duncan watched as officials filled the box.

“I saw them put the check inside,” Duncan said. “It was all I was interested in.”

– Daniel Hartill
Baklava or cannoli?

Hmmm. Maybe it’s the equivalent of the Sports Illustrated cover curse.

Yankee magazine published its 2003 Travel Guide to New England this month. A press release sent a few weeks ago indicated that the only local attraction was Lewiston’s “Maine ArtsMuseum,” which doesn’t exist.

But now that the actual publication is sitting on a newsroom desk we find a few other local spots: Bethel Historical Center in Bethel, Kawanhee Inn in Weld, Poland Spring Preservation Park in Poland, Quisisana Resort in Lovell, Raft Maine in Bethel and Sabbathday Lake/Shaker Village and Museum in New Gloucester.

Seems like slim pickin’s for an area rich in recreation and culture. But the saddest thing was this: Marois Restaurant (misspelled as “Marios”). The local culinary landmark, featuring fabulous Greek and Italian cuisine, announced this week that it will close by the end of the month.

– Carol Coultas
Ice, ice

Like a sea captain, John Coburn scans Sabattus Pond each spring for ice. This year the ice went out on April 21 at 3 p.m.

“It was completely gone by then,” Coburn said. “There wasn’t a piece of ice I could see anywhere in the lake.” But as late as noon on April 21, parts of the lake had fairly thick ice, he said, adding that a heavy wind that day made for good melting.

Earlier in April, Coburn predicted May 1 as this year’s ice-out date. But “three days of heavy, heavy wind” made for an earlier ice-out than he had anticipated.

Coburn patrols the perimeter of the pond with his vehicle to check for ice after inspecting both ends of the lake.

“It looks very good,” Coburn said of the pond. “The water is high.”

And who is Coburn’s heir apparent, anyway?

Dan Guerette.

“Dan has been very, very interested in this lake for years and years,” Coburn said. “I figured he’d be a good man for the job.”

– Seth Golden

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