BOOTHBAY – An open house will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, at Bigelow Laboratory, 180 McKown Point Road, West Boothbay Harbor.

The private marine research organization is home to oceanographers and marine scientists. There will be hands-on activities and demonstrations outdoors as well as in the lab’s conference room and facilities.

All activities are free and will be held rain or shine. People can call 633-9600 for more information or visit the Web site at

Agriculture tour

AUGUSTA – The Maine Grange will sponsor an agricultural bus tour on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 9 and 10. The cost is $168 a person, double occupancy. Reservations must be made by Aug. 15.

The tour will leave Augusta at 7 a.m. Sept. 9, and return in the early evening of Sept. 10. It will include: a tour of John Ingraham’s dairy farm in Knox; a visit with Steve Tanguay, “Teacher of the Year in Agriculture in the Classroom,” at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast; a tour of Shakaree Red Deer Farm in New Limerick; and a tour of potato and broccoli harvesting, packing and processing in Aroostook County.

The cost includes round-trip motor coach from Augusta to Presque Isle, overnight accommodation at the Presque Isle Inn and Convention Center, and meals.

For more information, people can contact Janet Spear at 563-8101.

Family session

ROCKPORT – The second annual Child and Family Symposium will begin with a free evening for parents on Monday, Aug. 18, followed by a full-day paid seminar on Tuesday, Aug. 19, designed primarily for professionals whose occupations bring them in frequent contact with preteens and teens.

Registration for the seminar, which is also appropriate for parents, is $99 including a continental breakfast, a boxed lunch and a book written by Dr. Robert Brooks, “Nurturing Resilience in Our Children.” Applications for professional continuing education credits are being processed.

The site is the Strom Auditorium at Camden Hills Regional High School, Route 90. To register, people can call the Mid-Coast Mental Health Center Community Relations Department at 236-3813 or log onto Works.

Tickets on sale

UNITY – Tickets for the Common Ground Country Fair are available at advance sale ticket outlets throughout the state. Many of the participating outlets also sell copies of the Common Ground Country Fair poster, which features farm tools.

The fair will be at the home of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association on Sept. 19, 20 and 21. Gates will open at 9 a.m. each day.

All fairgoers with advance tickets may go to the front of the ticket lines. Admission prices are the same in advance as at the gate: $8 each day for ages 13 through 64; $6 for ages 65 and over; free all weekend for children 12 and under, MOFGA members and handicapped citizens.

For more information, people can call 568-4142, e-mail [email protected] or visit

Concern for loons

FALMOUTH – Maine Audubon is seeking the help of residents and visitors to assess the impact of a Massachusetts oil spill on loon populations in the state.

In April, the Bouchard Barge 120 spilled 98,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil into Buzzard’s Bay. The spill occurred during migration of several bird species, particularly the common loon. Approximately 200 dead loons have been recovered since, according to Maine Audubon.

Scientists are concerned oiled birds may have reached their summer habitats on freshwater lakes but may be still be suffering from the adverse effects of oil. Suspected oiled birds have been found in central New Hampshire and coastal Maine.

Maine Audubon is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and BioDiversity Research Institute to conduct an assessment of potentially oiled loons and to identify impacts to loon populations in Maine. The organization is asking Maine residents and visitors to report any sightings.

Sightings should be reported by e-mail to Kate Taylor at [email protected] or by phone to Theresa Daigle at 576-1950.

Reports should include the date and time the bird was seen, a detailed description of the location and pertinent details about its behavior and condition, particularly the amount and location of any visible oil.

Consumer info

AUGUSTA – The Maine Public Utilities Commission has a new consumer bulletin telling consumers how to protect themselves against “slamming” (the unauthorized change of their local and long-distance telephone service providers).

It has information about carrier “freezes,” an option that helps prevent a customer’s phone service from being switched to another carrier without the customer’s approval.

Carrier freezes are available for local, instate toll, out-of-state toll and international carrier selections. The process is simple and free.

To request a copy of the bulletin, people can contact the PUC at 1-800-452-4699 or 287-1597 or download the bulletin from

Open house

FARMINGTON – The Gold Leaf Institute, which is associated with the University of Maine at Farmington, will hold its fall open house and kickoff from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the UMF student center.

Neighbors together

PORTLAND – A new coalition of neighborhood leaders is planning a statewide conference to help give citizens and policymakers information on how to shape and sustain the livability of Maine communities.

The conference, “Sustainable Living: Neighbors Working Together,” will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. Registration is $25 a person, payable by Sept. 24.

Details, including brochures, are available at (click on GPNC Conference brochure), or by calling 772-3243.

The conference is being held under the auspices of the newly formed Greater Portland Neighborhoods Coalition.

The coalition also is scheduling a fall brown bag lunch series and plans to establish the Center for Maine Neighborhoods, which will provide ongoing support to neighborhood leaders and their organizations.

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