100 Years Ago: 1923

A poultry killing and packing demonstration was held Tuesday morning at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Spear, conducted by County Agent R. N. Atherton. Twelve birds were killed and packed for the Boston market and 12 birds were shipped alive. This demonstration is held for the purpose of determining the net proceeds of dressing poultry over live weight. A culling demonstration was also conducted Thursday afternoon by County Agent Atherton at the home of Levi M. Ross.

50 Years Ago: 1973

The new dog control law which becomes effective throughout the state Oct. 3 will be strictly enforced by Auburn’s dog officer, Louis H. Pinette. Any dog “owner” who does not comply with the new law will find lots of trouble including stiff fines, and even the sad (to some) possibility of losing his pet. The law, which was passed by the legislature last June, states that the owner of any dog found running-at-large, may be fined from $25 to $100. It’s not a leash law, however, it does come close. Animals must be accompanied by a responsible person, at least ten years of age, when they are not on their owner’s property. Pinette pointed out today that he will have the authority to pick up any dog, licensed or not.

25 Years Ago: 1998

Richard Dennis didn’t mind relocating 15 times in 27 years because he loved his job as a special agent for the FBI.


“It was truly a fascinating job. I met a lot of interesting people. But it was very stressful, and it’s nice to get away from that. A critical factor in anyone’s job is would you do it again, and I would,” he said.

An Auburn native, Dennis is retired and living in Strong with his wife, Judy. He said he joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the height of the Vietnam War. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up, but it sounded cool, and I looked into it,” he said. “And it was at a time when the bureau wasn’t so popular.”

His first assignment was a two-month training stint in Texas where his primary detail was taking complaints in an eight-man field office.

“It was hilarious because Texans couldn’t understand me, and I couldn’t understand them. Texans speak very, very slow, and Mainers speak very fast, and I was forced to spell words for the sheriffs over the phone.”

In his 27 years with the FBI, Dennis only pulled his gun once. Although dangerous situations did develop, life as a special agent “was not as it is depicted these days in the movies,” he said. “We’re not like state cops dealing with a surprise situation, like doing patrols on highways, which is probably the most dangerous situation to be in. If we got into a difficult situation, we’re bringing in the Army with us. Local law enforcement doesn’t have that luxury.”

Dennis was eventually assigned to the personal crimes unit out of the Washington, D.C. office. In 1981, he was assigned to the investigation surrounding the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

“When we got the call from the Secret Service, everyone was gone at a retreat. The director and the assistant directors were gone. So, the low-level guys like me were manning the control center 24 hours a day, coordinating the investigation among the various field offices and the Department of Justice and White House to make sure everybody was on the same sheet of music.”

The material used in Looking Back is produced exactly  as it originally appeared although misspellings and errors may be corrected.

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