This will be the last Kennebec Tales column because of time constraints and changing duties.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have plenty of ideas. If this column were to continue, here are some of the things you would have read about in 2016.


Belgrade historians are looking to compile a list of Boston Post Cane recipients going back to when the cane was first issued in the early days of the 20th century.

The cane, part of a promotion back then by the Boston Post newspaper, is traditionally given to the oldest resident of towns that still follow the practice. In Belgrade, that’s Howard Boston.

Dennis Keschl, a former town manager and a state representative, said the town hopes to compile a list of everyone who’s held the cane. He said they have a partial one, but there are gaps.


That effort is just one of the many the Belgrade Historical Society, which has a display room in the Community Center for All Seasons, is undertaking. A bigger effort is the plan to upgrade the 200-year-old Belgrade Town Meeting House on Cemetery Road for use by the society. The society plans to have an open meeting so residents can discuss it.

Also in Belgrade, the town is looking for suggestions to rename the road leading to the new Town Office. Right now it’s Pit Road. So you get why they’d want to change it


Katherine Stewart was sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation last spring to speak in Augusta about the Good News Club, a Bible club that is popping up in schools all over Maine.

Stewart’s book, “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children,” examines the national, well-funded push behind the Bible study club in schools. She came to speak in Maine at the request of elementary school parents from around the state.



When Children’s Book Cellar owner Ellen Richmond rolled the dice and rented the Waterville Opera House to host inaugural poet Richard Blanco in December, she had no idea if the event would be a success or a total washout. But Richmond had been working with Blanco’s publisher to get him to come to the city ever since he read his poem, “One Today,” at President Barak Obama’s 2013 inauguration.

Richmond’s gamble paid off. The Opera House was packed on a cold night when a lot of people would probably have much more preferred sitting by a fire or finishing up their Christmas shopping. And those who went were treated to a night they’re not going to forget.

While Colby College and other big hitters get a lot of deserved credit for Waterville’s downtown turnaround, the city also can’t do without little heroes like Richmond.


And speaking of taking chances on a downtown, I was planning to write yet another column on how downtown Augusta deserves better than what’s happening to it.

It’s beautiful and beautifully located. It’s never going to be what it was in the olden days, because people go to all the big box stores on the outskirts of town for that. But more creative retail mixed in with all the service-oriented businesses, some imagination and a little bit of money would go a long way.


I’ve said it all before, but I was going to find a way to say it again, a new way.


There were a lot of other things, too: Loons and where they go in the winter; my annual look at Maine’s domestic homicide rate; how anyone thought it was a good idea to …

Well, if you’ve read my column over the past three and a half years, you know the kind of stuff I’d be writing about.

As you may know if you’re a regular reader of this column, I grew up in Augusta, on Green Street, and graduated from Cony High School. There have been a lot of books and movies made — some good, many bad — about the person coming back to the hometown after many years away and learning Big Truths about themselves and their town. That didn’t happen in my case.

On the other hand, it’s nice to come back to the city as an adult and have a voice.


One of the great benefits of writing this column was occasionally hearing from former teachers who seemed to like what I’m doing. One of the highlights was a column about one of my favorite teachers upon his death. His sister told me he’d been enjoying my column and was proud of me. Not everyone gets a chance to let former teachers see the fruits of their labors, but here I am and here’s mine, for better or worse. And I probably would have written about that at some point, too.

Liz Soares will take this spot on the first and third Thursday of the month.

Those who still need to hear my voice yacking in their head can find my past columns on and can always check out my blog at I’ll also still write an occasional column when something strikes me and I can’t keep it to myself.

Thanks for reading!

Maureen Milliken is news editor of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal. Email her at Follower her on Twitter at @mmilliken47.

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