A flight like Icarus?
On Friday afternoon, amid continued cloudy skies with just the occasional pop of sunshine, a LifeFlight pilot radioed to his ground crew that, while he didn’t want to seem like he was rubbing their noses “in it,” he felt compelled to report “there is a sun up here.”
Not so on the ground, where the sunshine was skimpy at best.
After weeks of soggy June weather, early July brought more rain and worry that traditional Fourth of July festivities would have to be postponed or canceled. The Lewiston-based LifeFlight crew flew a couple of runs Friday, including one that brought at least one LifeFlight crewman a brief glimpse of the sun.
Let’s hope it’s a sign of a better, brighter July.
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Not a good sign
RUMFORD — While using his police cruiser to help block flood-damaged Andover Road at its intersection with Route 2 on June 27, Sgt. David Bean spotted an unusual pedestrian crossing the highway.
A large beaver climbed the bank from the Androscoggin River side onto Route 2 and waddled across the highway, headed uphill into woods.
“You know it’s not a good sign when the beavers head inland,” Bean said, moments before rapidly rising water from a second flash-flood washed over Andover Road toward the river that was already over its banks.
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Practice blast too much for hairdos
KINGFIELD — Prior to the start of the Kingfield Pops concert on June 27, the 80-member Casco Bay Concert Band practiced their final number: Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”
It was their debut with extreme percussionists: the Maine Army National Guard and their World War II 75 mm pack howitzer.
It was also the Guard’s first time “playing” the cannon during a concert to live music.
That’s why a practice session between the two groups was requested.
The music called for 15 blasts from the howitzer — using 1-pound canisters of gunpowder — because the musicians needed to experience “extreme percussion” before the show.
It’s a good thing they did.
After the single practice-blast, a band percussionist told fellow band member and cannon “director” Karina Babcock that the “extreme percussion” blew her hair all askew.
She told Babcock the shock wave traveled between two moving trucks backed up against the stage and air-blasted her. She wanted the trucks gone.
Although it would have been easier to move the trucks, the accommodating trio of Guardsmen from the 488th Military Police Co. of Waterville instead pulled and pushed the 700-pound howitzer farther away from the stage.
“This is our first experience on a rock stage with a howitzer,” Babcock later said.
That’s why she sympathized with her band mate.
Babcock was standing near the rear of the howitzer, keeping tune with the music and directing the Guardsmen when to fire. She wobbled briefly during the practice blast.
“The sound wave hits your body and your entire body reacts,” she said. “We’ve done it with fireworks before, but this is a step up the ladder for this band,” she added.
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Packing a cannon
KINGFIELD — Thank Carrabassett Valley police Chief Scott Nichols for bringing a World War II howitzer to Kingfield on June 27 to perform the cannon blasts for Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” during the Kingfield Pops concert.
Nichols corresponded with Maine Army National Guard Maj. Gen. John Libby in seeking a real cannon for the score instead of locals shooting shotguns into steel drums.
The request was approved and three members of the Guard’s 488th Military Police Co. of Waterville brought their 75 mm pack howitzer to the show.
Standing with the camouflage-clad soldiers, Nichols smiled broadly prior to the Casco Bay Concert Band’s practice with the military percussion team.
“This is going to be outstanding,” Nichols said. “I think by the end of the night, we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
“I think some folks in Kingfield will be thinking that the fireworks will be going off and it will be this thing,” he said. “When they hear it, they’re going to be thinking the Iraqis have come.”
Of course, Nichols had prepared for that, too.
“I already warned the Sheriff’s Department of it if they get any reports of loud explosions in Kingfield,” he said.
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Maine Army National Guard members of the 488th Military Police Co. of Waterville move a 1941 World War II 75mm pack howitzer parallel to the rear of the Kingfield Pops stage behind the trucks at left on June 27. The change in location was prompted after a Casco Bay Concert Band percussionist said the shock wave from a practice firing of the artillery piece blasted her hair. Band member and “cannon director” Karina Babcock, right, watches 1st Sgt. Stephen Soucy, left, and Pvt. Kyle Murcin move the howitzer.

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