Furtado Benefit Dinner

Come on out this Saturday afternoon to the Center Lovell Firehouse for a Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. All proceeds and donations will go directly to Karl and Joyce Furtado. Joyce has had an extended hospital stay spanning several months and this has led to some difficult times for the family. This has also had an impact on Karl’s Auto Repair business. Karl is a member of the Lovell Fire Department, the Masonic Lodge and the family attends the Lovell UCC.

So, do stop by this Saturday from 4-7 pm. Dinner is $10 per person (a reduced price for children), stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables, salad, dinner rolls, coffee and a variety of delicious desserts. There will be a 50/50 raffle and lots of great auction items. The long winter is over (I know there is snow still on the ground but the calendar says SPRING) and it stays lighter longer.

Please don’t hesitate to call me (207-925-1500) or email me (stan@fairpoint.net) if you are unable to attend but would still like to make a donation.

What a great opportunity to not only spend time with friends and neighbors but to help a real nice Lovell family!

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2017 Boston Red Sox Schedule Magnet

What better time to get prepared for the upcoming baseball season than in the middle of a heavy snow storm? Instead of looking out the window at the snow piling up, think about being at the ball park with the green grass, blue skies, warm temps, cold beers and hot dogs.

Last year, the Red Sox finished in first place in the always competitive American League East and didn’t go too far in the playoffs. Two big questions for this year. How will they manage to replace the production of David Ortiz in the lineup and how long will the Number One starter David Price be on the disabled list? Tampa Bay has great pitching, the Yankees have gotten younger, the Orioles play good defense and pound the ball while Toronto is always strong.

Now, how do you know who the Sox are playing? Pick up one of Kezar Realty’s magnetic calendars at the office or local stores. As always, call me at 207-925-1500 or write me at stan@fairpoint.net and I will be happy to send one in the mail!

Opening Day is April 3rd against Pittsburgh!

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2017 Lovell Town Meeting

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Forty-six town residents were in attendance at Lovell’s Annual Town Meeting where a total of 85 articles were voted on. The first order of business was to nominate Jonathan Bliss as the meeting’s moderator. Stephen Goldsmith was reelected to a three-year term as Selectman and a number of people were nominated and elected to fill vacancies on a variety of boards. Mr. Bliss opened the meeting with a thank you to Larry Fox and the Lovell road crew for doing a great job of keeping the streets plowed during the winter storms.

Reflecting the hard work of the Selectmen and the Budget Committee, there was minimal discussion on the amount of monies requested. There was, however, a considerable amount of time spent debating the question of allowing recreation departments from other towns to use the Narrows Beach. A written ballot was requested and the article was voted down. (35 no to 9 yes).

State Senator Lisa Keim came to the meeting to make an announcement about various state issues and to present Fire Chief Tommie McKenzie with a commemorative snow shovel. One member of the audience commented that it was the first time in 42 years of attending town meeting that a State Senator made an appearance.

This year’s Annual Report was dedicated to the Delta Masonic Lodge #153 A.F.& A.M.

Click here for a copy of the 2017 Lovell Annual Report.

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Lovell to Beijing, Series Finale

From Tongling, we returned to our Beijing ‘home’, the Nuo Hotel. After an almost six-hour high speed train ride, we arrived at the Beijing South station which was newer than the Beijing West station but just as large, crowded and confusing. Except for a one day trip to Shijiazhuang to visit Anna’s original host family seven years ago, we spent the rest of our stay in Beijing. (Interestingly, Anna will be doing her required spring internship with her host mom working in one of her businesses)

You can’t go to China without  visiting the Great Wall. We really didn’t want to go on a guided tour or take public transportation, so we decided to hire one of the taxi drivers which we became friendly with. The ride from the hotel to the Badaling visitor’s center was about 90 minutes but the traffic was incredible. Apparently, choosing the correct day to go is critical. Going during the National Holiday is not a good time. Our taxi driver sneaked into a back parking lot and we walked a long distance. It was bitter cold with a very strong wind. While waiting to buy our admission tickets, I spotted someone selling scarves. It was like finding a bottle of water in the middle of the Sahara.

The engineering history of the Wall is incredible. After walking and climbing the steep steps and looking out in the distance and seeing the Wall stretch out over the hills, I cannot believe that it was ever constructed. I can’t imagine how all of the giant blocks of stone were put into place. Really worth a visit but try to pick a slow tourist day!

One other thing that was on my to do list was to see the raising of the flag at Tiananmen Square.This is done at sunrise every morning and is quite a site as an Army brigade marches (in impressive precision) out of the Palace, crosses the street to this large flag pole. The troops are followed by a band that plays the National Anthem as the flag is raised. We were told to get there early and we took a taxi to the Square and got there about 6:15 am for a 7:23 am sunrise. I thought we were being smart and crafty but as you can see from the photos, there already was a large crowd gathering on both sides of the street. After going through security (a routine when entering the Square, all train stations, subway stations and airports; although I detected less attention paid to us foreigners), we picked a spot by the Palace and were in the second/third row next to the barricade. Thanks to Anna, we spent the time talking to people and all of them traveled a long way to get there. We were next to a young man, his third time attending, who is the captain of the flag raising team at his school. Very proud of his country and stood at attention and saluted the flag during the entire ceremony. We wanted to go see Mao’s tomb, which is open only in the morning hours, but the crowds were too big and you are only in there for about 30 seconds.

One place we visited multiple times was the Great Leap Brewery. A tremendous selection of craft beers brewed on site with all Chinese ingredients. During our time in China, the Great Leap was the only place where you might think that you were back in the western world. Outstanding hamburgers and fries as well!!!

When we were planning this trip, neither Rondi nor I had any idea what we would experience. We spent a lot of time getting Maine-based gifts for our various hosts and friends. Little did we know that we would be returning home with more gifts than we brought. Everyone we met welcomed us to their homes and were very generous with food and laughs; despite not knowing how to speak the other’s language. There were some political discussions but not often and everyone was respectful. Rightfully, the citizens are very proud of their country and its rich history. But the United States is still a beacon, especially among the youth. Learning English is so important to the children and so many of them said they do so because they want to come to the United States. As for the many parents we met, from rich to poor, they all work hard and want the same thing we strive for — to provide a better life for our children.

All in all, a fascinating country. And we are so very lucky to have stayed in the homes of so many families. And very humbling, that all of these people we met, living in diverse parts of the country, came about solely from our daughter’s relationships developed over many years.

 

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Lovell to Beijing, Part Three

From Chongqing we flew to the Hefei Airport on an early morning flight that took about two hours. Like all of the other airports we went through, the facility was large, modern and efficient. Anna’s roommate’s Dad met us and we traveled about another 90 minutes by car to the town of Tongling.  We did cross the mighty Yangtze River on a long, tall bridge. Amazing that we also crossed the Yangtze in Chongqing. It is the third longest river in the world and the longest in the world to flow in just one country. The river was much busier in this section with lots of barges and boats.

Of course, when we arrived in Tongling we drove to a residential subdivision where we stopped at a relative’s house for a visit and lunch. As in every other house we visited in every city, we were treated with a wonderful display of food. The dishes here were quite different than in Beijing or Chongqing. There seemed to be more stews and vegetables. At what I thought was the end of the meal, came rice, soup and dumplings. Who can argue with that? Unknown to us, our hosts had reserved rooms for us at the Lake View Garden Hotel where Rondi and I had a large suite overlooking the lake and Anna had a separate room. That evening there was a large dinner in our honor at a very nice restaurant. The dining room was in a private room with the largest circular table that I have ever seen and it appeared to have a ‘Lazy Susan‘ that rotated the food electronically. The men were all located at the top end of the table and that evening the Asian custom of toasting with what I call ‘White Liquid’ was active. A memorable evening!

I knew that we were scheduled for a mountain hike at some point during our stay and didn’t give it much attention. Until we arrived at the mountain town which was about a 90-minute ride from Tongling to Huangshan, a small village at the base of the Yellow Mountain. At the base, I wasn’t certain as to what we were doing as we boarded a small bus from a terminal. It is important to remember that I am accustomed to hiking in the White Mountain National Forest. Throw that out the window as, except for the majestic beauty of the mountains, there are no similarities. The bus ride was on very winding road with steep drops outside our window. When we got to the end of the bus ride we proceeded to queue for a gondola ride. Uncomfortable with heights, it was not what I was hoping for. In summary, once we got off of the roughly eight-minute gondola ride, we had a 4.5 hour hike to the hotel that we were staying that evening at the top of the mountain. There were concrete walkways, railings, restrooms and benches everywhere. Access to the mountain allows many people to visit the mountain and see the jagged mountain peaks poking through the clouds.

There is a rumor that the Yellow Mountain will be on the 2018 AMC International Dinner Schedule. Stay tuned!

 

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Lovell to Beijing, Part Two

With the exception of our overnight trip to Shijiazhuang, our first week was spent in Beijing. Took a public bus to view Anna’s school to visit her campus and dorm. We hired a private guide to take us through the Forbidden City and later a tour of a Houtong neighborhood. Also, high on the ‘to do’ list was to walk through local neighborhoods and to have Peking Duck. Anna recommended that we go to the Beijing Wangfujing Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, in business since 1864. Simply spectacular! So good that we went back a second time upon our return to Beijing.  We flew from the Beijing airport to Chongqing via China Southern Airlines on a roughly three-hour flight. When planning the trip, I was apprehensive about flying domestically but Anna pointed out that would require a roughly 24-hour train ride. Nothing but high praise for the airline system. From security that was fast and efficient (and it seemed to me more thorough than our system) to the new airplanes and the friendly service, especially to the foreigners, to the airplanes that are well designed to handle large numbers of passengers. It is said that Chongqing is one of the fastest growing regions on the planet. And based on the traffic, stores/malls and people, it sure seems that way. Known as the city in the mountains, it offers spectacular vistas. The residents are also very proud of their spicy cuisine and ‘Hot Pot’. When dining, our hosts always made sure that we had a cooler option available.

 

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Lovell to Beijing, Part One

How true is it that so many of life’s great surprises are unplanned? Rondi and I never imagined that one day we would be spending three weeks traveling in China, staying in both hotels and private homes. Our daughter Anna is studying in Beijing for a year, finishing her senior college year. This is her fourth extended stay there and we figured now was a good time to go. And all of this started because she decided to take Mandarin instead of Spanish.

We planned our trip to coincide with the Lunar New Year as Anna, along with the rest of the country, take off from work and school. After spending the first few days in Beijing, we traveled to Shijiazhuang where Anna first went to school there while in her junior year at the Fryeburg Academy. Anna’s friend Katie (her English name) and her Uncle met us at the train station. After a lunch at a local restaurant we drove about two hours to Katie’s house in the countryside.

Over the next several days, I plan on posting a variety of pictures of our trip.

At School No. 42

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