Talk of the Towns 1/8/20: Knitting as Craft, Knitting as Life Force

Producer/Host: Ron Beard
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Key Discussion Points:

What led each guest to knitting and how does it factor into their lives now? As members of a weekly knitting group at the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, what are the benefits you and other members see. What community projects have been successful?

What do we know about the history of knitting, both for functional clothing and as a craft? What periods in history brought knitting to the forefront?

What led to the founding Knit Fit at the Mount Desert Island YMCA (participants knit while walking for light exercise) ?

How did Dayana Knits come to be as a facebook page and blog… what is the audience and response?

What was the experience of traveling to the Shetland Island with a focus on the wool and knitting community there?

How would someone wanting to learn knitting get started… what are the basics? Where can a beginner get support… on their own and in groups? What are your favorite on-line resources?

Jill Goldthwait, former State Senator
Michelle McCann, originator of Knit Fit, MDI YMCA
Dayana Krawchuk, blogger Dayana Knits
Jen Crandall, MDI High School

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Talk of the Towns 12/13/19: Peninsula Free Health Clinic

Producer/Host: Ron Beard
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Key Discussion Points:

What motivated folks to create Peninsula Free Health Clinic in 2013?
What services do you provide and who provides them? Where are you located?
Describe array of patients (geography, socio-economic background, health status)
What might a typical day at the clinic look like?
If the clinic is filling gaps in the present health care system, what is needed to better address those gaps? What policy/practice changes are needed, including at the state level?
What are your biggest challenges and how can the community help?
What lessons might be useful for other communities?

Jan Snow / Peninsula Free Health Clinic Board President /
Lucy Rowe / clinic volunteer non-medical /
Marti Brill / clinic patient /
Joe Perkins / board member
Dr. Michelle Perkins
State Rep Representative Sarah Pebworth, District 133 Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Sedgwick and Surry

Talk of the Towns 11/8/19- Art Amazes, Craft Satisfies: Early History of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts

Producer/Host: Ron Beard
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Key Discussion Points:

What were some of the larger conversations in the world of art and craft that gave rise to Haystack? Art vs. Craft, Cranbrook, the Bauhas, Black Mountain, other antecedents?

What was the enduring philosophy that undergirds Haystack from creation to present?

Who were the principle “forces” of what became Haystack (Francis and Priscilla Merritt, Mary Bishop, Marni Sewell, Estelle and William Shevis) and how did they shape it?

What led to the original location of Haystack in Liberty Maine?

What were the first summer sessions like… what was taught? Was there an underlying philosophy to the teaching and learning?

What was the arc of the story of Haystack in Liberty? What were the main points of success? Where was there tension (e.g. summer vs year-round)? What issues did the trustees wrestle with?

What led to the relocation of Haystack from Liberty to Deer Isle?

What was the process of designing the new campus at Sunshine?
Ed Barnes and Fran Merritt, with construction by Basil Bray

Alana VanderWerker, Waldoboro, ME artist, author Haystack at Liberty, 2019

Talk of the Towns 9/13/19: Acadia National Park: It’s Mission, Programs and Challenges

Producer/Host: Ron Beard
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

What is the long-observed inherent tension in the park service mission and how does that play out in Acadia? What is this summer’s experience?

What is the role of interpretation for the park service and how does that take form in Acadia? What are Acadia’s best loved traditional interpretive programs and what would a visitor from earlier times be surprised to find in today’s array? How do you link science and research into interpretive programs? How do interpretive programs help create an ethos for how people relate to their environment, and in particular to the natural resources of Acadia?

What is the role of Friends of Acadia… how was Friends created… is there a parallel between Acadia’s creation story and how FOA resonates with year-round and summer residents? What were some past successes? What are your signature programs now? What is the FOA role in advocating for Acadia in Washington?

Acadia, like most national parks, is highly visited… and for years, park planners have worked on plans that will moderate the impact of so many visitors moving around the park… talk about the current transportation plan and where you are in the process… what options are you exploring and what changes are likely?

Kevin Schneider, Superintendent, Acadia National Park
Laura Cohen, Chief of Interpretation, Acadia National Park
David MacDonald, President, Friends of Acadia

Talk of the Towns 8/9/19: Exploring the Roles of Small Town Newspapers

Producer/Host: Ron Beard
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Tom Groening, Editor, Working Waterfront News
Liz Graves, Editor, Mount Desert Islander
Becky Pritchard, Reporter, Mount Desert Islander

Talk of the Towns 7/12/19: A Conversation with Roxana Robinson about her novel, Dawson’s Fall

Producer/Host: Ron Beard
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

The backdrop for the action of the novel is the period in Charleston, following defeat of the Confederate army by the Union. Referred to as “redemption” by the those who supported “the Lost Cause”, you write of this time as a reassertion of the violence that kept slavery in place. What are the key elements of that period?

You write that the violence that underlies that geography and that time was rooted in “700 years of border wars between Scotland and England”, codes of honor for both the upper and under classes (dueling), and the need to keep slaves from rebellion.

You link violence against former slaves to violence by which some men hold women in place… both patterns continue to thrive today. Drawing from real life, you use one of Dawson’s neighbors to illustrate the misogyny of that time, a Dr. McDow. In what ways does your story allow him to represent underlying attitudes about women?

As a New Englanders, I suppose you and I absorbed the notion that our nation was founded on principles of justice… all being equal and encouraged to pursue life, liberty and happiness…. that there was an honest and virtuous basis for the rule of law. Is Dawson’s Fall an admission of how far we have all fallen from the ideals and values that we aspire to in our nation’s story?

Roxana Robinson, is author of Dawson’s Fall, published by Sarah Crichton Books / FSG in 2019. Roxana is the author of five previous novels, including Sparta and Cost; three collections of short stories; and the biography Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life. . She was president of the Authors Guild from 2014 to 2017. She teaches in the Hunter MFA program and divides her time among New York, Connecticut, and Maine.

Talk of the Towns 6/14/19: Conversation with Scott Planting, former President, Maine Sea Coast Mission

Producer/Host: Ron Beard
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

What is the primary work of Maine Sea Coast Mission?
What were the highlights of your work there?
What led you to your work as a pastor in the Congregational church?
How did your work as a pastor inform own approach to “community building”?

Guest: Scott Planting, former President, Maine Sea Coast Mission

Talk of the Towns 5/10/19: The Abbe Museum and the Road to De-Colonization

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Key discussion points:

How has the Abbe board, staff and stakeholders used your strategic planning process to better define the direction and aspirations for the Abbe

What is “decolonization” and how have you worked on that at the Abbe?

What differences might we see and feel in a museum that is down the road with decolonization?

The Abbe has been at the forefront of decolonization… what responses are most gratifying as you work with colleagues around the world?

One aspect of your strategic plan, and your efforts toward decolonization is the upcoming Abbe Museum Indian Market on May 17-19 in Bar Harbor.

What is the history of Indian Markets, including the earliest sales by Native Americans to summer visitors to Mount Desert Island up to the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market in Phoenix… is the Abbe an East Coast echo to the Heard event?  ?


Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, President and CEO, Abbe Museum

Gabriel Frey, Abbe Board member, Passamaquoddy Basket Maker

Suzanne Greenlaw, Abbe Native Advisory Council, Maliseet Tribe, Doctoral Candidate, UMaine, research on sustainable harvest of sweetgrass, basketmaker