Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Story in Two Parts

by Desiree Dunn

Retrospective show features Millonzi

Advertiser Democrat
NORWAY — "The Journey," a Retrospective Art Show by Nikki Millonzi, is on display at the Norway Savings Bank Operations Center, 356 Main Street in Norway.
“The Journey” can be seen during the month of October and includes a dozen pieces created over a span of 27 years at Nikki’s studio on Pikes Hill. Her self portrait was her first adult framed piece and it was done in the early '70s under the tutelage of Lajos Matolsky, a well known artist and teacher. Nikki worked with Lajos for two years and then studied with Jean Randall of Otisfield, another gifted printmaker, artist and mentor.
“Requiem for Clara, a Good Laying Hen” was another early work from this period. Gradually her work became bolder and included collage as a technique. She often created things, then tore them up and collaged them back together to make something new. “Rainbow Warrior,” a collage expressing outrage over the treatment of native Americans at Big Mountain, is included in the show.
For three years Lisa Moore and Nikki collaborated, melding poetry and images in the form of poster calendars. As part of this series, they collaborated on the Millennial Quilt – each of the quilt’s squares were made into a month for the 2000 calendar. About this same time, the town of Norway commissioned Nikki to create the artistic map of the downtown area that is on display at the kiosk across the street from the Service Center.
As a founder of the Commons Art Collective at Fare Share Co-op, Nikki organized The Art Doll Collaboration. This was a year long project with a dozen artists each starting an artist doll, then sending it along to another artist who worked on it for a month before sending it along to the next person. This resulted in a wonderful show at the Collective gallery, and Nikki’s piece “My Hoose” is part of the retrospective.
Most recently Nikki has been intrigued with the “Touch Printing” process and making prints generally. “The Gates of Winter” was done this past winter incorporating those prints into a composite piece.
Everyone is invited to visit the Norway Saving Bank Operations Center at 356 Main Street to view the diverse works, ranging from the whimsical to the sublime - expressions created over nearly three decades of working in Norway. These art shows are hosted by Norway Savings Bank and are organized by the Western Maine Art Group.
For more information or comments, please contact Nikki at

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Breaking a Record

By Crissy Lewis

How easy is it to break a school record? Apparently for Tyler Pelletier, at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School (OHCHS) it was pretty easy. Pelletier just beat the school’s record for race-walking, and he is going to be competing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference (KVAC) and States.

Race-walking is a foot race, obviously, but it’s different than running. When you are race-walking you need to make sure you always have one foot on the ground, unlike running where that doesn’t matter.  Race walking can be a little uncomfortable because “you have to push up with your heel,” Pelletier says, and after awhile your shins can start hurting.

Pelletier joined the track team when he was in 7th grade. That year he began race-walking also. After that year, he decided to drop race-walking and concentrate more on the other events he was in. In his sophomore year he picked up the event again and made it to the KVACs. Ever since then he has been competing. Training has been a big thing with Pelletier. He’s had to train to get better and faster to beat his opponents. Pelletier had the chance to meet and talk with the Maranacook track coach Tuesday at their meet where the coach gave him some advice on his race-walking. He told him to lengthen his strides and to lower his shoulders.

The previous record, held by Josh Grenier in 2005, was 8:02. This year in 2011, Pelletier broke the record with a significant difference with a 7:20. Not only does he compete in race-walking, but he also does the 400 meter and the 4X4 relay here at OHCHS.

Tyler Pelletier is a senior at OHCHS and has been working hard to get ready for the KVAC and States.  He says, “I’ve worked on my form and pushing myself harder.”  The KVAC meet is next Saturday, May 28, at Morse High School, and the States is going to be held at Windham High School on June 4th. Pelletier is now ranked 1st in KVACs and 3rd in States.

Monday, May 23, 2011

OHCHS tells it's tale

Norway and South Paris, the biggest rivalry in the county. In the 1950's the Norway Rams and the South Paris Cardinals, each their own respective high schools, were cross town rivals that one could walk to and from within fifteen minutes. When 1961 came around the two rivals joined forces and became one mega school. Why might they do such a thing? The state wanted the smaller schools to consolidate and form one school to improve course offerings. By 1967, all the towns joined the new high school, which include; Norway, South Paris, Oxford, West Paris, Hebron, Harrison, and Otisfield.

The name for the school was widely debated on. Some wanted Hanible Hamlin High School, and the others Pleasant Valley High School. Until one man thought of something different, these were the ones to be voted on. One man did though. He mentioned Oxford Hills High School, and the committee lost their marbles. When voted on, it was a sure fire winner. The colors of the school and the mascot was also an issue. They can't favor blue or red because those were the colors of the old schools. The furthest off of those colors were green and gold, and since Norway had a history of Scandinavian settlers they decided to have the mascot of the school the Vikings. An intimidating name to say the least since they were ruthless on the battlefield.

The first athletes who wanted to put on Viking  jerseys for the first time could play football, field hockey, cross country running and golf in the fall. Basketball, wrestling, skiing and gymnastics in the winter. Softball, baseball and track in the spring. Later in the years gymnastics was cut and soccer was put in place. Then lacross, hockey and tennis followed.

Oxford Hills had it's own technical school in the years previous to 1998. Kids would take a bus over to Vocational Region 11 and learn their classes their. When 1998 came around, the school was bigger and had access rooms, so they combined the two locations and the Comprehensive part of the school came into play.

Some fun facts about the school is that it is shaped as a dog. The first principal of the school was Kieth Cunningham. Some alumni of the first graduating class of the new school refer to the class as "going to different high schools together".

Friday, May 20, 2011

Creative Read -a- thon

At the Norway Public Library on a cold and rainy Wednesday night, students  from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School  brightened up the town. Mrs. Chodosh's period 3 and 6 classes came up with their own pieces to read to a small crowd of family and friends. These pieces ranged from short little lyrics, long rants and stories, and songs played and sung on guitar. Funny, serious, inspiring and a bit creepy, all pieces were read aloud and were followed with a round of applause. Not all pieces were hand written though, one reader chose to speak her mind through a quote from a famous book called "Waiting for Alaska."

Although the reading was simple, the overall impact is much larger.

"It's more than just writing and sharing pieces. This is a Library. It's a real life setting. It adds another layer to the writing experience when students have to read their pieces to the public," Ms. Chodosh said.

Architecture - Library of Congress
Thirty pieces of original writing was read by twenty students. Group readings, which consisted of a class reading one poem line-by-line, was a different approach to reading aloud.

"I liked that these poems were experimental," said Chodosh. We needed more time to practice and make the poems better, but the point was we did them anyway." The group readings just as well as the individually read pieces. However, some pieces were read not performed. An awkwardness in the voice turns the listener away and a shot at learning about the reading is lost. Some of these readings did lose the listener. With a tad bit more practice on how to use the voice, these pieces could have been great.

A decent turnout of over 50 people was a good amount for this small library space. The crowd self seated in wooden chairs which formed a half circle around the readers' podium. We all sat rather clustered but no one complained. The room was comfortable despite the lack space to walk. Students sat in the front and guests sat in the back, due to the students each taking turns reading their pieces.

The night went well. Almost all the students read and each had his or her own little spin. The two pieces that caught my attention were one done by Kristina Rogers and another by  Bradey Newman. Rogers's reading was about what inspired her to go into a field of forensic science. The inspiration, although shocking, immediately made me fascinated. Right down the road from Rogers's house a family was brutally murdered, and the killer, just smiled as he was sent to jail. She asked herself why he could do such a thing, and how he could just smile it off.

Newman's piece was a bit more, humorous. He wrote about himself in Wal-Mart as he was attacked by monkeys. It was called Monkey Attack. Although the poem was in no way inspirational, it did grasp my attention. The absolute ridiculousness of the writing and how he put a picture in my mind about an actual attack in Wal-Mart by monkeys actually lead me to believe that this could happened.

A couple of people decided not to read. Instead they had others read for them, This didn't take away anything from the show.

At the end of the show, drinks and snacks were offered and the book "Bits and Pieces" was on sale for $5 dollars. "Bits and Pieces" is a book comprised of pieces written by the students, most of which were included in the reading.

Creative Writing was an elective before becoming a core class in 2009. Seniors can now take this course if they love to write and get a full credit in English. "The class has become a popular choice for seniors," said Chodosh. Next year there are going to be three full classes of people who want to write.

These types of public readings should never be swept under the mat. This should certainly happen more often. Maybe with three classes there will be more than one opportunity to hear writing from our OHCHS seniors.

Good job to everyone who wrote and read.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is so scary because as long as you have your phone or computer, it can follow you anywhere. Cyber bullying is anytime someone is threatened, humiliated, harassed or tormented through the internet, phone, or any other digital communication. Teens are the main target of cyber bullying, and sites such as Formspring and Tumblr where it's an option to send messages anonymously, make it easy for the bullies.         Alex Flood, 15 of New York is a popular teen blogger on Tumblr. Although he gets hundreds of nice messages, he's also been a victim of cyber bullying as well. "Feelings don't go away over the internet" he explains, "with the click of a button, you can make someone feel bad about themselves".

According to, 43% of teens have been cyber bullied. Although some sites provide the anonymous button option, most don't and in those situations the bullies keep their identity which in some ways is worse because it becomes personal. The internet provides a shield for bullies, so that they can say to someone what they don't have the nerve to say in person. This isn't something that just exists in big cities, it can happen anywhere and to anyone.

Cyber bullying has even occurred right here in Oxford Hills. A few months ago a smut list formed through Facebook. A smut is a nasty word used for someone who has low self respect form themselves and is known for "getting around". Although the school did what they could and eventually had the site taken down, it was still embarrassing for those who made the list.

Once something has been uploaded to the internet, it will always exist even when deleted. Unlike in-school bullies, you can't escape a cyber bully unless you're willing to delete the account you're being victimized on and disconnect your phone. However, there are steps you can take to avoid being a victim of a cyber bully. Before creating an account on any social networking site, be sure turn on all privacy settings and only accept friend requests from people you know. Try to avoid accepting requests from profiles that seem sketchy or fake. Turn off the anonymous button on websites where they're available. Although it's tempting to read them, immediately delete an email the moment you sense any cruel intentions. Block the person who send you the message, and report them to the website's staff which can usually be found at the bottom of the website's homepage. Don't give your phone number to anybody you don't trust, and tell someone who cares about you if you still need help.

Parents, if you feel like your teen may be a victim of cyber bullying, have a talk with them. Most teens who are cyber bullied are too ashamed to ask for help, which can lead to life threatening consequences such as depression and suicide. Cyber bullying can happen to anyone, and can stay with you forever. A mean or hateful message can be saved, which can torture someone for the rest of their life.

The internet can be a fun way to meet people and socialize, but remember to be aware of privacy settings, who you accept into your networking site, and who you exchange contact information with.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Saving the world, one School at a time

by Tyler Pelletier, Elizabeth Gemme, Crissy Lewis and Abby Shanor

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="249" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]EnergyGreenSupply[/caption]

Lately the entire Earth has been going green, in all sorts of ways. Whether it be planting trees or making chip bags biodegradable, the Earth is trying to save itself. With the world at war with oil prices, there is cause to "go green" in this area too, that's where bio mass furnaces come into play. Bio mass heaters use waste products. For example wood chips are used to heat buildings for a much cheaper cost. Annually the cost is around $2,750  for the bio mass (the cost for what?mention the same thing in next sentence). An average household will cost around $15,000  annually. So the  difference is monumental. After talking with Bud Raymond, Head of Maintenance at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School (OHCHS), he gave me more information about the school's biomass furnace that's being put in.

The biomass furnace is a wood chip boiler. We are not the only school in Maine with this new technology. This idea came from Dr. Eastman, OHCHS's former Superintendent. Eastman wanted to change and invest in this eco-friendly boiler so that we weren't so heavily dependent on oil; Eastman was able to get a grant for the school to do this. A performance contract is in effect, which means that the money which the school is saving through this new type of technology will be paid back. OHCHS has been working to put this in the school since August 2010. Many things had to be done before building it, including adding a new building, installing new sprinklers and pipes. It will allow the school to produce energy much cheaper and  much more Eco-friendlier. The burning of wood chips will produce the energy to heat the school.

Mass amounts of wood chips will be needed to make this method successful. During heating season, 25 tons to 50 tons of chips will be needed a week.  A giant tracker trailer truck will come to the school and unload a pile of wood chips about six to eight feet high, and that's only a two weeks supply. The job is labor free once it is unloaded from the trucks. Moving the supply into the furnace is from the moving floor that's on hydraulics that will pull them into a pit. “From there, there is an auger that is going to push them into the next room which is the boiler room”, Raymond says. Raymond thinks that having a biomass in the school is great idea. The chips go through each auger and that pushes them to the boiler. The Biomass itself is big and there are two sections to it. “ The bottom part is the fire-box, the top part is where all the water tubes are. So the fire-box will heat up the water tubes and the water will come to the large storage tank and that's what will heat the school”. There are ash bins on the side of the boiler. The wood ash will automatically be augured out and put into the bins. One idea of where the waste of wood ash can be put is on gardens. Wood ash makes a great fertilizer in gardens, just like fish compost. OHCHS Superintendent, Mr. Colpitts, says that the school has recently voted to apply for five more grants for the middle school and elementary schools to have a different type of boiler. This will most likely be a pellet boiler as well.

"When it's running, you won't see much of anything coming from the chimney" says Colpitts. According to faculty, the new biomass furnace being installed in the lower A wing of the high school wont be much of a distraction or disturbance to the students and the building. At this point, complications are limited. High School Principal Ted Moccia says, "students will benefit by having a school that is completely heated with a renewable energy source".

However, students won't be the only ones benefiting from this biomass furnace; the high school's budget will also be saving more than $200,000 in heating costs. There also won't be any hazardous or unwanted dirty smoke being produced from the furnace. Cathy Coffey
describes the process, "you'd here like a poof and instead of smoke it was almost like fairy dust, is the best I could describe it. It's particles, it's not smoke but it's particles". According to Superintendent Colpitts, the high school spends $280,000 each year on 100,000 gallons of oil to heat the building, but now with the new biomass furnace which uses wood chips for fuel, the school will only be spending about $67,000. The idea of having a biomass furnace installed in the high school was Dr. Eastman's, the National Furnace System issued a grant for $750,000 to help with expenses, and Colpitts said that it took about seven months for the boiler to be built and shipped to the school. Oxford Hills is not the only school in Maine with a biomass furnace. Leavitt, Poland, and Falmouth high school also have them installed.

With the pros outweighing the cons in whether or not the biomass is better, these pros for the bio mass furnace may help. The bio mass furnace is CO2 neutral, meaning that trees can regrow within a couple of years while oil grows within millions. With these furnaces having waste material running them, you wouldn't have to rely on foreign countries. The money spent, whether it be for wood chips, the people running it, or the people building it, would stay in the area, instead of going out.

Another interesting fact that makes this project cool is the inclusion of  the solar panels, installed this past fall on the roof of the school. “The solar panels are going to pre-heat the water before it goes into the boiler so the boiler works less on getting the water up to temperature before it goes out”, Raymond says. The school doesn't want the boiler to be firing up cold water. If the school fills up their oil tanks with 95,000 gallons of oil, that costs the school about $40,000. The biomass is most efficient when it's running a lot. It will run when the temperatures are under 40 degrees. OHCHS won't be fully dependent on the biomass though. It will be producing about 90% of the school's heat, while the other 10% will be burning oil.

“When mud season arrives the companies that delivers the chips have to make sure they have enough chips on hand and storage to continue to make deliveries here every two weeks,” says Raymond. If the school doesn't get this supply, we could be in some trouble with the furnace not working. Raymond also thinks that there could be a problem with supply and demand in the future. Right now in our economy, oil prices are sky rocketing. Wood chips are available and there is an abundance of chips and chip suppliers. Although, if it becomes like what oil is today, than prices will rise. With everyone trying to find a way to become green, it's hard to find something that replaces oil. More people and schools are going to start using biomass furnaces. Raymond is optimistic. He says, “As long as the chips supply stays good then the price for chips stays down and then you see a lot more schools looking at that option.”