This Week in Lincolnville: A Pickleball Visionary

....the way we get things done around here
Mon, 02/18/2019 - 12:00pm

Greta Gulezian has a vision: free and accessible Pickleball for all. Pickleball? Have you heard of it? The very name makes you giggle, doesn’t it? Greta certainly smiles when she talks about it, explaining how this simple paddle sport can change lives by building community. That’s putting a lot on a game, but then, stranger things have happened.

An aside on visionaries. We’ve got more than a few in Lincolnville, and while you may not know whom they all are, we see their results everywhere.

Where did the graceful bandstand in Breezemere Park come from? A longtime goal of the Lincolnville Town Band, Don Heald had a lot to do with keeping the dream alive until the time was right. Notice the treble cleft atop the peak of the roof: it was the gift of Don and his brother, Fred.

CALENDAR 

School Vacation Week, Feb. 18-22

MONDAY, Feb. 18

Town Office Closed

Half of Every Couple talk, 7 p.m., Library


TUESDAY, Feb. 19

Book Group, 6 p.m., Library


WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20

Watercolor journaling, 4-6 p.m., Library


THURSDAY, Feb. 21

Soup Café, Noon-1 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road


SATURDAY, Feb. 23

Linus Users’ Group, noon-2 p.m., Library


EVERY WEEK

AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at 12:15 p.m., Wednesdays & Sundays at 6 p.m., United Christian Church

Lincolnville Community Library, open Tuesdays 4-7, Wednesdays, 2-7, Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. For information call 706-3896.

Soup Café, every Thursday, noon—1p.m., Community Building, Sponsored by United Christian Church. Free, though donations to the Community Building are appreciated

Schoolhouse Museum open by appointment, 789-5984.

Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway

United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m., Children’s Church during service, 18 Searsmont Road

How about the Fernalds Neck Preserve? Why wasn’t that whole lovely peninsula turned into a high-end subdivision? Because Margaretta Thurlow wouldn’t hear of it; that was her ancestral land (though she didn’t own it), and she knew its value was far greater than making money for someone.

The “new” Ducktrap Bridge? Thank Chris Osgood who was relentless in advocating with MDOT for a design that is evocative of the historic bridge it replaced.

Our state-of-the-art fire station appeared some ten or so years ago, seemingly out of whole cloth, but behind the scenes was the careful stewardship of the fire department and its resources; three generations of the Eugley family – Bert, Millard, and Mike – have carried on that vision for decades.

We have a Historical Society: thank you Jackie Watts.

We had an incredible Bicentennial celebration in 2002: Jackie had had this on her radar for the previous 20 years. Town Administrator at the time, Skip Day, picked up the ball and made it happen

A treasure of a building in Tranquility Grange: thank Rosemary and George Winslow.

A vibrant general store: you did it, Briar!

When state funding wouldn’t pay for the “bells and whistles” to make our new Lincolnville Central School building extraordinary Mary Ann Mercier would have none of that and pushed us all to raise the funds locally

The Municipal Solar Array at the Fire Department: John Williams and Cindy Dunham

Ball fields to be proud of: Mike Marden and Gary Neville come to mind

Who dreamed up the idea of a sailing club on Nortons Pond? That would be Rob Newcombe and Gary Neville

The Library/Open Air Museum and grounds: I had my eye on that old wreck of a schoolhouse for years. Jim Dunham ran with it. Kathleen and Sheila Polson made us a Library out of it.

Let me know what I’ve missed; there are plenty of other visions out there, some still in the dreaming phase. We’re lucky to live in a place where it’s more than possible for a single person with an idea – a vision – to make a difference. Of course, none of the above were achieved single-handedly, but almost always when things are happening it’s possible to pick out the one person driving it. And that’s the visionary.

Back to Pickleball. What is it anyway? According to a Midcoast Maine Pickleball brochure, it’s “a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.” It has elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, is played both indoors or outdoors, and the only equipment are a simple paddle and a plastic, whiffle-type ball. Oh, and a court.

Pickleball is being played regularly all over the Midcoast: at Point Lookout, Penbay Y, Waldo County Y, and MRC. There’s a nominal fee to play for non-members. Greta says that here in Lincolnville we already have the facilities for Pickleball courts, and they’re free.

Avid tennis players, Greta and husband Gary frequented the courts at the school until gradually she says her body wasn’t happy with that game. But she kept her eye on the two tennis courts, built around the time the new school was completed, 2005, and which had been funded by Midcoast’s MBNA philanthropist, Charlie Cawley.

Somewhere along the way she was introduced to Pickleball and was promptly hooked. Here was a sport that had very few equipment needs other than an inexpensive paddle, a plastic ball, a net, and a court. All ages and all skill levels can play; the games are short, the sport is cheap – especially if played on our town facilities where it’s free – and best of all, it builds community.

Here’s where the visionary comes in. Greta sees Pickleball as a way to bring people together. Typically the winners of a game stay on the court, switch sides, and two new players join. It’s a perfect game for families to play. With a court half the size of a tennis court it’s not a particularly strenuous sport – think a combination of badminton and ping pong. “You too can be a mediocre Pickleball player within an hour” the saying goes. And be having a lot of fun and making new friends.

A year ago she along with a few other players approached the town’s Recreation Commission about getting permission to use the school gym on Saturdays. Principal Paul Russo gave them the OK along with use of the school’s nets, paddles, and balls.

Initially using road cones for boundaries, the group has since received permission to use tape to mark off the courts on the gym floor and has been doing that since this past November, laying out the lines and then removing the tape after each session. Since then attendance this winter at the regular Saturday morning “Introduction to Pickleball” and “Open Play” has grown.

This past Saturday 18 players showed up including 4 who’d never even seen Pickleball played before. Greta announces the Saturday sessions (9 – 11 a.m.) through the Lincolnville Bulletin Board and an email group. Contact her to be put on her list.

Meanwhile, she’s had her eye on those outdoor tennis courts. Starting last July, with permission from the Rec Commission and David Kinney volunteers began temporarily taping a PB court on one side of one of the courts.

Through September weekly “Introduction” and “Open Play” sessions were held outdoors. Greta keeps records. In the past year, she says, volunteers contributed more than 70 hours of their time at some 24 sessions where more than 115 people have been introduced to the game.

Now she’s looking forward to the upcoming outdoor Pickleball season. There are two issues: courts and equipment. The proposed long-range plan is to permanently paint two courts on the far tennis court, one on either side of the net. Tennis and Pickleball courts co-exist in many communities world-wide, she says.

These town tennis courts have not had resurfacing or repainting in the more than 12 years since their installation. General refurbishing of outdoor courts is recommended every 5-7 years. Ours are showing multiple areas of pitting which can lead to cracking when the frost gets in. However, for this next season Greta’s hoping to paint the lines for the two Pickleball courts with volunteers at a cost of about $120 for paint, etc. Maybe in the near future the town will look at professional resurfacing.

Pickleball is most often played with doubles, though singles is an option, so eight paddles are needed for two games played simultaneously. When played on a tennis court a portable Pickleball net system is used; since two courts are planned, that’s two nets. With a waterproof storage chest to hold the nets, paddles and balls at the courts anyone can come and play anytime.

Greta requested $587 for this basic equipment at a recent Budget Committee meeting. If the town approves it at the June Town Meeting we become eligible for a grant that reimburses half the cost.

Visionaries come in many guises. Some see buildings, some see a business. Others dream of preserving our natural world. Who, I wonder, was the visionary behind Coastal Mountains Land Trust? Visioning can be a kind of education: think of how Corelyn Senn has shown us the vibrant animal life in our own backyards through her wildlife cameras.

And then there’s Greta, imagining a town where folks can gather for an hour of fun and laughter over a game with a silly name.


Like Living on a Glacier

First there was snow, then there was rain, then came the freeze. Everybody’s driveway and many of the dirt roads were covered with a sheet of ice. The next time it snowed that ice was lurking underneath.

A friend wrote that morning: “Our driveway is solid ice, as is our road. It took T__ half an hour to get from the garage to Rt. 52, with the help of a huge bucket of sand thrown hither and yon by some crazy woman in her red pajamas and LL Bean boots. It was my funny Valentine gift to my sweetie. Nothing says I love you like the fairy dust of traction sand.”

From another email that day: “So many people are in despair over all the ice. It is just impossible to do anything. It is everywhere and it is completely slick--glare ice. It has imprisoned us. The only funny comment I heard was [from a woman] at the PO this morning. They have Mike Hutchings sand for them and she said that she felt like she should put Mike down as a dependent because he has been there so often. The whole situation is just plain depressing.”


Library

TONIGHT—Monday at 7—Please join us for our own Diane O’Brien who will present her new book Half of Every Couple: When Death Ends Marriage.  In addition to reading excerpts from the book during her program, O’Brien will talk about her thoughts behind the personal revelations displayed in these essays, as well as the challenges of self-publishing.  Come early for a good seat!  

Tuesday, Feb 19:  Library Book Group to meet at 6:00 and will discuss Lisa See’s book The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, a well-written and moving novel about China, tradition, tea farming, and the bonds between mothers and daughters.  All are welcomed! If anyone has read this book and wants to be included for only this discussion, please come—or join us every month! We usually meet every third Tuesday. 

Wednesday, Feb 20:  Watercolor Journaling meets from 4-6. Newcomers are encouraged.  This is not an instructional class, but enthusiastic participants will share their progress while working on their own journals.  Bring your own supplies, take a seat and get creative!  This group meets every first and third Wednesdays at 4 PM.

Saturday, February 23: The Lincolnville Linux Users’ Group will meet at noon.  "Dedicated to Quality Computing on the Cheap”.  John Williams will talk about his trials during the installation of Xubuntu on an old laptop, and Bill Norfleet will follow up with information on post-installation issues such as backups, firewalls, anti-virus software, and keeping the system up to date.  Join us at the library next Saturday from noon until 2:00. Interested newcomers are welcomed. 


Midcoast.com

Some time back in the 90s when we were all learning about computers and the World Wide Web (remember the WWW!?) we began hearing about email. There was a small startup company in Rockland, Midcoast Internet Solutions, that many of us signed up with. It was a cool little place just up the street from Café Miranda, and you could walk in with your questions or email problems and have some young guy who knew all about such things make a few adjustments to your account and bingo! Problem solved.

But like all good things, it was too good to last. MIS was eventually bought up by GWI (I couldn’t find out what the initials stand for), a Maine-based company, that promised to bring 21st Century technology to our state. Some of us MIS customers howled: we didn’t want to lose our domain name – midcoast.com – a good reason for small businesses who had print materials with that address

We could keep our old address, GWI told us, if we paid $4.95 a month for the privilege. Hmmmm. Okay, so some 1,500-1,600 of us did that. I couldn’t get an exact number; GWI says it doesn’t have a list of us.

The past month something odd’s been going on; emails from our midcoast.com addresses sent to gmail.com addresses are bouncing back. Sometimes every one we send, sometimes a few. Sometimes, a few hours after the “mail not deliverable” message comes, the message does go through. Turns out, after many phone calls with the tech people at GWI, that Google, which owns gmail, has marked “midcoast.com” mail as spam – the whole domain.

And GWI – remember, collecting $60 a year from each of us midcoast.com diehards – is unable to get Google to fix it, to un-spam us.

It’s beginning to look as if Google just wants our little domain to go away, or at any rate, doesn’t give a fig for us.

The problem has been playing out on the Lincolnville Bulletin Board the past week or two, with differing information coming from GWI and absolute silence from Google.

If you have a gmail address and haven’t been getting responses from your midcoast.com friends, you might give them a call or check your spam/junk folder to see if their messages are landing there.


Let the Gardening Begin!

We planted onions on Saturday with the brilliant February sun shining just over the tops of the tall pines across the road. Five rows of yellow Patterson onions in long window boxes. As 7 year-old Jack gently patted the soil over the coal black seeds, his mom and I conjured up our own onion dreams – I saw us sitting alongside the planting beds, carefully separating the tiny onion seedlings from one another, untangling their roots and twirling each into the hole poked deep into the soil. She saw the heavy strings of onions we hang in the cellar pantry every fall, hopefully enough to take our two households through the year.

Gardening is one of life’s joys, for sure.