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  • Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

    “Protecting the Urban Forest”

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  • Producer/Host: R.W. Estela
    9/12/2016 — R.W. Estela, A Word in Edgewise

    Transcript:

    This past week President Barack Obama signed a proclamation that Friday, September 9th through Sunday, September 11th be recognized as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance — to honor and remember the victims of 9/11 and their loved ones.

    Some of us who teach college-aged students realized quite clearly this semester that our incoming freshman know virtually nothing about the events of September 11th, 2001 other than what they have been told — for the simple reason that they probably would only have been three years old at the time.

    That Tuesday morning fifteen years ago was clear and bright with a fair breeze. Not much would have suggested that by noon that day the north and south towers of the World Trade Center in New York would have collapsed, that a sizeable portion of the western edge of the Pentagon in Washington DC would have been destroyed, that a commercial airliner would have crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and that 2,996 people would have been killed and an additional 6,000 would have been injured, and that an estimated $2 trillion worth of physical damage would have been done.

    Fifteen years and two days ago, an Egyptian terrorist, Mohamed Atta (the purported ringleader of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers) and his sidekick, Saudi terrorist Abdulaziz al-Omari were staying at the Comfort Inn in South Portland, Maine and running a few errands to local ATMs and to the Wal-Mart.

    The next morning — the morning of 9/11 — they would catch an early flight from the Portland Jetport to Boston’s Logan Airport to board American Airlines Flight #11, which they would hijack soon after takeoff and subsequently pilot into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

    What most people do not know, however, is that during the five years prior to 9/11, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari lived together at two different loactions in Orono, Maine — one on Allen Road off College Avenue and Park Street, and the other on College Avenue.

    Bob Sutkus, a fishing buddy of mine and our former mailman, delivered mail to Atta and al-Omari at both locations — and was interviewed by the FBI in the days following 9/11.

    Atta and al-Omari lived at the first locale in 1996 — five years before the 9/11 attacks.

    They were posing as students on leave from the United Arab Emirates Navy, in Orono to study at the Intensive English Institute on the University of Maine campus.

    Our mailman was accustomed to delivering mail to LOTS of international students, and he did not find Atta and ol-Amari to be like any international students he had ever dealt with.

    Closer to 9/11, in 2000, Atta would try to rent an airplane from Acadia Air at the Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton, Maine.

    My friend Tina, daughter of the Fixed Base Operator, Bob Bouffard, was working the front counter of Acadia Air at the time, and when Tina informed Atta of the FAA documentation he would need to furnish and the check-ride he would have to do with Acadia Air’s chief pilot, Sandy Reynolds, Atta became argumentative. When Tina asked Atta to hang on a moment while she fetched her dad to clarify things, Atta left the scene.

    This past Friday the United States federal government marked its return to the rebuilt 1 World Trade Center by moving its New York City offices back to Lower Manhattan for the first time since the original World Trade Center collapsed into rubble fifteen years ago.

    We have asked ourselves many questions since then. How many have been the right questions and how many have been the wrong questions remains a matter of conjecture.

    Also this past Friday the Obama administration was dealing with a different sort of terrorism, a type of corporate terrorism assisted by United States District Judge James Boasberg in Washington, who rejected a request from Native Americans for a court order to block a pipeline being built in North Dakota by Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners LP.

    Stay tuned to forthcoming editions of A Word in Edgewise for additional developments among the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota — including the support they have been drawing from 200 other Native American tribes as well as activists and celebrities.

    But meanwhile, let’s remember fifteen years and a day ago — in a collective effort of awareness as who we are and why we should take care in whatever we do.

    From Orono, Maine, here’s to a great day!

    rwe edgeword @ 2016

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  • Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

    “Drone Tag”

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  • Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

    “A New National Monument on the Best of Known Possible Worlds”

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  • Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

    “Around Blueberry Raking”

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  • Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

    “Of Dragonflies & the Rio Olympics”

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  • Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

    NOTE: “A Word in Edgewise” did not air this week, as the station was off the air due to a lightning strike. Host R.W. Estela has provided this transcript of the comments he had intended for that day’s feature:

    8/8/2016 — R.W. Estela, A Word in Edgewise

    [aired live ~730 EDT on WERU-FM 89.9 & 99.9 & streaming at weru.org]

    ((note: due to a lightning strike at WERU-FM ~7/22-23/2016, the studio phone line became inoperable for over a week, so that 7/25/2016 AWIE was archived by PDF only; subsequently no attempt was made to create an 8/1/2016 AWIE))

    Toward the end of this past week the slender-though-waxing crescent Moon slid directly below Mercury and then Jupiter a day later, with Venus in close pursuit.

    One of the advantages of our relatively rainless days and nights here in Down East Maine lately is the clear evenings we’re afforded. Something about that crescent Moon past sunset last night seemed so much a ready handle upon which to hang a hope or two for today.

    Coping with this summer’s drought would be one such hope: if the farmer and the gardener have sufficient water available, a hot dry summer will make for good crops.

    For several years now, my girlfriend and I have been big into second plantings of corn, squash, beans, carrots, peas, lettuce, and spinach. We have also become accustomed to waiting until late June to sow pumpkins and summer squash.

    When evening temperatures tend toward the 60s, germination occurs quickly, with most seeds sprouting two to three days after planting.

    Fortunately we have a handy spigot and plenty of hoses, so the seedlings then grow rapidly.

    Another upside of the otherwise not-to-be-recommended drought is the near absence of pests. Japanese beetles, for example, an annual bane in our garden, are yet to arrive.

    Obvious indicators of the drought are, nonetheless, not ubiquitous.

    Yesterday morning, for instance, I went for a paddle in Orono on the Stillwater River, that oxbow of the Penobobscot River that forms Marsh Island, upon which the University of Maine sits.

    My usual route is to put in at Webster Park and to paddle upstream as far as the dam at Stillwater Avenue, and then around an island just below the spillway of the dam and then downstream back to where I started. Altogether this makes for about a five-mile workout.

    Owing to the hydroelectric facility at the Stillwater Avenue dam and another hydroelectric facility in Orono just above where the confluence of the Stillwater River with the Penobscot River, the section between the two dams stays at a level favorable to the operation of the two dams. In other words, water is held back at the lower dam.

    The Penobscot River, on the other hand, had a US Geological Survey gauge height at Eddington during the weekend that fell below two feet, meaning much of the Penobscot River between Old Town and Bangor has exposed rocks and is generally known in the paddling vernacular as “bony.”

    So we enjoy the ample sunshine, but we pray for rain — such is the paradox of Vacationland during a drought.

    Next week we’ll be reporting on the Rio Olympics, already underway these past few days.

    Hi, this is RW Estela: For more than a quarter of a century WERU-FM has been like an ever-expanding garden, despite the hardships of an ever-changing economic climate and an assortment of natural disasters such as storms that spell trouble for the station transmitter and the occasional random lightning strike that decimates telephone communication. Through it all, however, WERU-FM has had the generous support of its listeners, be they volunteers or members — or frequently both — who have seen the value of providing a unique blend of music and public affairs to the listening community. Please do what you can to continue the worthy tradition of supporting WERU-FM in its efforts locally and internationally. Thank you.

    From Orono, Maine, Here’s to a Great Day!

    rwe edgeword © 2016

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  • Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

    NOTE: “A Word in Edgewise” did not air this week, as the station was off the air due to a lightning strike. Host R.W. Estela has provided this transcript of the comments he had intended for that day’s feature:

    Unsettled weather had been forecast for the beginning of the weekend, and the Doppler radar screen this past Friday showed various collections of yellow and red among the dark green that was moving at a quick pace across a map of New England.

    Scott Phillips, a fiend of mine from the Penobscot Nation, had earlier in the week sent me an email about the welcoming he and other tribal members were planning for the Hokule’a, the Polynesian double-hulled sailing canoe that has been circumnavigating the globe for the past couple of years.

    “They’ll be arriving quietly at Mount Desert Island Friday night,” he informed me, adding, “And then on Saturday morning around nine o’clock they’ll be ceremoniously working their way up Somes Sound to Jock Williams’ boatyard in Hall Quarry. A bunch of Penobscots and Passamaquoddys and other Wabenaki will be paddling out in birch bark canoes as a welcoming party.”

    He asked me whether I would be able to attend, and I told him it all depended on what we would have for ceilings in the morning. Flying around the middle of Somes Sound is a little tricky regulation-wise, as the national park has guidelines recommending that aircraft be no closer than 1500 feet from park terrain.

    “Well, if you make it,” said Scott, tongue in cheek, “I’ll wave to you.”

    Fortunately Saturday morning arrived mostly sunny with only occasional scattered clouds drifting through.

    About a quarter past nine I made a pass down the middle of the Sound and saw what appeared to be the Hokule’a halfway between Southwest Harbor and Hall Quarry and heading north.

    Just leaving Hall Quarry and paddling south was a flotilla of birch bark canoes, about five in all.

    The dock at Hall Quarry had a couple of dozen folks waiting, with additional spectators gathering.

    Within minutes the Hokule’a and the flotilla were gamming temporarily, and then two of the canoes went to the starboard side of Hokule’a, and two went to the port side, and one went out front to take the lead.

    Before long they were all pulling into the boatyard dock. I snapped a few more aerial shots and began heading north for my return flight to Old Town.

    On the return trip to Dewitt Field, I thought about this group of Polynesian sailors who had been working their way around the planet since 2014 as ambassadors of peace and exploration, and I thought what a contrast their endeavors are to so many other efforts many of our fellow humans are making at the moment.

    I thought, for example, about a cartoon by Clay Bennet of the Chattanooga Times Free Press that appeared this past weekend in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

    The cartoon depicts a middle-aged fellow wearing a sweatshirt that has the name Trump circled with a diagonal line run through it. Out of one side of his mouth the fellow says, “I’m not crazy about Clinton . . . ,” and out of the other side of his mouth he says, “. . . but I’m not crazy.”

    Ah, and we’ve still got a good couple of months to see and hear and feel way more of this sort of thing than most of us would ever care to . . . . But for alternative excursions, stay tuned to forthcoming editions of A Word in Edgewise.

    From Orono, Maine, Here’s to a Great Day!

    rwe edgeword © 2016

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