This note is to let you all know that I have decided to discontinue my North by NorthEast column and photos submissions to The Rangeley Highlander. The reasons can best, be described as simply “editorial differences”.

Hard to believe, but the column started with an essay I submitted to The Highlander back in December of 2002. It sufficiently impressed the then owner/editor, Kevin Bree, that he asked if I would be willing to write a regular column for his newspaper. I figured I had 3 or 4 months of worthy topics rattling around in my head, so I said OK. My first column was printed in early January of 2003.

It had continued with Kevin and his successor(s) until early 2009 when I decided I needed a venue change. The Original Irregular in Kingfield/Carrabassett Valley welcomed me with open arms (and pages). The column did not skip a beat for three years from January, 2009 through 2012. During that time period, I submitted my columns and photos from the summer of 2011 through 2012 via my vantage point in Colorado while I continued to apply my physical therapist/ workplace consulting skills with Xcel Energy the large power company based in Denver.

When Xcel Energy asked that I continue with them for an additional year, I informed The Irregular that I would be willing to continue on from Colorado. We mutually decided that it would be best to discontinue the column for a year, since it, admittedly, was gradually taking on more and more, a Rocky Mountain “flavor” rather than from the mountains of Maine. The plan was to resume North by NorthEast upon my return to Maine in 2013.

Upon returning, I learned that The Highlander had another change of management, so I asked if I could resume the column closer to Gull Pond once again. so we agreed, and I was back at it in this bimonthly publication.

All that being said, from 2003 through most of April, 2021 (with the exception of that second year in Colorado)…I have kept on with my writing about various topics that interested me and my always curious mind, and apparently also that of many loyal readers. Do the math: with an average of 24 columns per year…that amounts to about 17 and one-third years of columns, or about 415 columns in total. Whew!

As most of you know, for the past dozen years at least, I have ended the column with a great quote from a favorite Minnesota writer and radio host, Garrison Keillor: “We need to write, otherwise nobody will know who we are”. Well, by now most of you certainly know who I am, …for better or worse. Hopefully, mostly for the better.


Regular readers also know that for the past year, I have added another “statement” at the conclusion of my columns: “Respect Science, Respect Nature, Respect Each Other, and Respect the Truth”. I believe that statement with all my heart, and looking back, I believe my columns have reflected that set of beliefs as well. Respecting the truth has especially taken on an even more important part of our lives in recent years…as we all must know, at least in our hearts…I hope.

During about three years in the past decade concurrent with my column submissions, I also created and wrote: “Ten or so Questions with….” That effort was a large measure of added satisfaction for me. It was an opportunity to learn much more about, and share with readers the lives, goals, and accomplishments of interesting and/or consequential residents living here in the Rangeley area. All of them, I felt, helped make this Rangeley Region the rich and close community of interesting and valuable community members that it is.

I wrote about a lot of new or re-focused businesses and non-profits in the area, and the people in charge of each. I chose which to write about. I never chose a topic based on someone else’s behest. Yes, a suggestion may have rattled around in my mind to a point whereby I did a column….but it always was a topic of my choosing. Any undue pressure was “the kiss of death” insofar as the topics of my columns or “10 Questions With…” features were concerned. That also goes for answering the question “What are you writing about now?”. The answer was always: “You will read about it this coming Friday”.

I always felt it was a distinct privilege to be able to put my thoughts on paper for all to read, if they so chose, for so many years. Insofar as the future is concerned….I will be sure to let you know when and where I will next put pen to paper (more exactly: “fingertips to keyboard”).

Life in general, adventures in particular, and the people I have gotten to know professionally (for the most part) and personally…have all been topics of richness. And there are still a few topics or projects rattling around in my head, just as there were back in 2004.

Thank you again. You have all honored me by your readership and your thoughts and comments as well.


Allen Wicken

North by NorthEast columnist


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