As anyone at Lewiston’s Montello Elementary School can tell you, third-grade teacher Michael Parker gets excited about authors.

Really excited.

For years, he and his students have written to authors and often have received letters, autographed books or pictures – and occasional visits.

But the May 16 visit of famed children’s author and illustrator Steven Kellogg was too good to be true.

Getting someone as big as Kellogg was no small ordeal. Parker first wrote to Kellogg in 2004. The next September, Parker’s class sent birthday cards to Kellogg. He responded with a big package of books and materials, and he gave Parker the contact to schedule a visit.

Finally, Parker was told Kellogg would visit.

When the day arrived last Tuesday, Montello’s driveway was decorated with balloons. Inside, Kellogg posters and books were everywhere.

“It’s such a great pleasure to be here,” Kellogg said to a gymnasium full of children.

Parker stood to the side, beaming.

Later, he described the day as “fabulous. A lot of students now want to be writers and artists.”

– Bonnie Washuk
No reading and driving, ma’am

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, releases “The Communicator” each Friday. It’s a weekly look at Maine State Police highlights across Maine.

One item this week was eye-catching.

McCausland said a woman was stopped on the Maine Turnpike for reading as she passed a state trooper. The University of Southern Maine professor was reading student research papers as her weaving car drove past Trooper Duane Doughty.

“Her final grade will be determined in court,” McCausland wrote.

– Bonnie Washuk

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