Bethel July 8
Through July 21 at Gould Academy: Music with Borders International Piano Festival, Trustees Auditorium of McLaughlin Science Building every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Continuing at Angevine Park— summer swimming lessons.
Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11— annual Mineral and Gem Exhibit and Fair at Telstar.
Wednesday, July 14— the Artistic Endeavor Custom Frame Shop and Gallery opens at 312 Mayville Road, BearHaven Crossing.
Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19— the Molly Days. 6 p.m. Saturday, Band Concert on the Common.
Part Two: Maine Minerals, Gems and Memorabilia Museum: Last Thursday Larry Stifler and Mary McFadden hosted a dinner reception at the Sudbury Inn to present their plans for a new museum to a group of people interested in such a museum. They have purchased Kennett Realty’s building at 103 Main Street next to the old Odd Fellows Hall. This step has enabled them as the founders to make specific plans for how the museum will be arranged internally. Their goal is to see it open in two years.
As the building’s conversion takes place Kennett Realty will continue to operate from their present offices. Museum remodeling activity will start in the basement. When the museum opens the basement level will contain a mineral and gem work area, a laboratory and a secure vault. Equipment will be installed for actual jewelry making from raw gem stones.
Upstairs, the museum proper will consist of display areas and a gift shop which will occupy 3,300 square feet of the main and second stories.
Before any remodeling is started, the Stiflers will be consulting with experienced, successful designers of museums. They want the display areas constructed in a way that gives visitors an optimum presentation of the exhibits. They will also be seeking suggestions from other principal eastern U.S. museums, such as those at Harvard, the American Natural History Museum and the Smithsonian. Part of the floor design goal is how to best position a gift shop within the museum floor plan.
In the overall plan, gift shop sales are looked upon as the main source of income to pay for the museum's operating expenses.
During the anticipated 24 months it will take to prepare the building for opening, the owners will also be focusing on locating, acquiring and returning to Maine specimens and collections that have left the state but could potentially be returned.
Lawrence Stifler, PhD, founded and is president of Health Management Resources, a national health company. He and Mary McFadden have been engaged in land conservation initiatives for many years; it was the suggestion of a friend that preservation of old mines, many of which had been lost to abandonment, construction and development, would be a valuable adjunct to their interest in conservation activities. That suggestion led the Stiflers to acquire and restore the Bumpus mine in Albany.
Part three: will outline plans for academic and general teaching programs to be hosted by the museum and how museum programs will involve use of the Bumpus mine. The mine’s restoration and use as a field museum will continue. Additional lots of land along Route 5 have been purchased to preserve approaches to the mine’s entrance.
Bethel pavement manufacturing: Friday I visited the Bruce A. Manzer Company’s Bethel Plant located in the Douglass Sand and Gravel pit off the North Road. After the Bethel Water District ceased taking water from a well in the pit, the Manzer Company of Anson installed its Bethel plant for manufacturing asphalt pavement during the summer of 2008.
Jody Manzer showed me around the plant and explained how it works. Most of the big components were moved from a location in the south and installed here. We started at the “control tower” which is equipped with brand new computer systems. From the control tower one person runs the show from the mix of ingredients to billing the customer.
The Bethel plant serves paving customers from all over western Maine and eastern New Hampshire. The plant’s components asphalt tank, vacuum cleaner, mixing drum plus sand, aggregate hoppers and loading tower-cover an area about the size of the Casablanca building, train station/chamber office plus the street and parking next to the buildings. In addition a similar amount of land is used to stockpile stone aggregate and sand.
The Bethel plant can use recycled pavement, up to 20 percent of a new mix, to save on virgin asphalt and rock aggregate. Another new feature of the plant allows them to manufacture warm pavement rather than just a hot asphalt mix. Each job calls for a special recipe just like making a cake. Paving a road on a steep hill takes a different mix than pavement for a driveway. The control tower operator sets up the mix formula to start the process which ends with pavement released from a hopper tower into a truck body. It is quite an operation— in many ways similar in its use of hi-tech systems to the Hancock Lumber Company saw mill at South Bethel.
Summer festival time on the Common:
The 2010 Bethel Art Fair kicked off the summer season of on-the-Common events. From the point of view of a long-time onlooker, the festivals seem to all look alike. So the challenge is to browse through “Exhibit Park” and find something really special. At the art show there is usually a photograph or painting that jumps out as especially eye-catching to me. My find this year was a photograph by a young man from Auburn, Chris Bilodeau. His exhibit had a photograph that reflected the “real Maine” as I remember it. It evoked an Andrew Wyeth image and feel, a very simple scene of a row of old fence posts in an open field. Chris told me that the scene he had captured so well was a field in Byron. We had probably driven by it a number of times.
Bethel Porch Plays 2010: Thorton Wilder strikes again. In Wilder’s play “Our Town,” actors play the part of fictional, but based on real characters, of a small New Hampshire town; in the porch plays town characters are the cast. This year’s theme of painting porches was a tribute to Helen Morton, who in her wide-brimmed sun hat and dress of long sleeves and full skirt spent days and hours painting Bethel village porches and entrances.
“Driving Miss Daisy” was a nice addition to this year’s plays. The huge, black Lincoln of the Gideon Hastings House brought back memories of seeing Mrs. Upson being chauffeured around town in her big, black Caddy. Even our editor, Mike Daniels, became part of the opening play side by side with Ross Timberlake on the Bethel Village Motel second floor porch. Tom Coolidge keyboarded an attention-getting ruffles and flourishes number for the motel scene in the opening play. He had a brief starring role as the Balladeer for the last play at the Town Gazebo.
Of historical interest, maybe, the Thorton Wilder play is supposedly based on a composite of three New Hampshire towns: Jaffrey, Peterborough and Dublin. Two of Bethel’s early settlers, Eleazer Twitchell and Moses Mason, came from Dublin.
Cemetery Tree Removal: Wednesday, June 30, Rice Tree Service of Waterford took out three dying spruce trees at Riverside Cemetery. Sunny, dry weather helped prevent any ground damage from use of heavy equipment. A Bancroft truck mounted heavy-duty hydraulic crane was used to lift upper tree sections away from gravestones as trees were cut. Sheldon Rice was the man up in the branches with chainsaw. After the trees were down a Chadbourne Tree Farms truck with loader hauled away trunk and branch sections— all in all a very clean job. Donald Rice, Sheldon’s father, was a member of the tree service crew as well. By 3 p.m. the job was done.
Bethel Airport has a new sign to replace the previous one. The sign still says that the elevation is 674 feet and it is still named for Colonel Dyke.
Proud parents: Jeff and Patti Parsons went to the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia last weekend to see their son Jonathan graduate from Marine Officer Candidate School. He is now Second Lieutenant Jonathan Parsons, USMC.
4th of July afternoon: We checked out the traditional Sunday River swimming and picnicking spots: Artist Bridge, Letter S pool and Twin Bridges. By three o'clock, eight to ten cars were parked at each area. It is heartening to see young families with active youngsters enjoying the fresh air, water and rocks that families have enjoyed for over a century. It is an experience these kids will long remember.