Our Shelter Blog

Our goals include sharing information that is deeper and more detailed than we’ve been able to offer through other correspondence. We will strive to publish every week or two to keep everyone abreast of the happenings here.

A look Back at a Year of Change in this Season of Gratitude……

    A lot had happened this year at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.  Our long time Executive Director; Dennis Marble retired at the end of last year, and our former leadership team has transitioned to other career paths.  We have a new Executive Director as of July, which gave our Board of Directors a challenge earlier this year.  Our Board is an amazing group and really stepped up to help with the day to day running of the shelter while we searched for our new leadership team.   Kudos to all of them.  
    We are now comfortably and capably under the leadership of Boyd Kronholm in the executive director spot and our new Program Manager just started.  It’s been about a week now and he’s still coming back so that’s a good sign <smile>.  Our finance manager has just celebrated her first anniversary with the shelter and we have a new administrative assistant (me).  My background is as a  college admissions counselor and while I enjoyed working with high school students and their families, I needed less travel and stress in my life so I was looking to try something different.  This is different!
    Dennis’s retirement also meant the loss of our blog writer (Dennis), so our blog posts have been on hiatus while we searched for a new voice of the shelter.  For the time being, I will attempt to keep our blog readers up to date on what is happening down here on Main St.  and we have hopes of being able to recruit some guest writers to fill in from time to time.  
    The most important thing I’ve learned since coming to the shelter is the overwhelming generosity of our community.  Every day people from every walk of life come through our doors looking to help those in need.  Some don’t have much to give, but they find a way to donate. They give of their time and talents to make a difference where they can.  From a single person preparing and serving a meal to someone donating hand-made items that they’ve invested their time in, to our local businesses and churches who come in to cook and serve a meal, to a cash donation, be it large or small, we appreciate every act of kindness and generosity.  At the end of each day we go home with a sense of gratitude that we and our community did our best to help where we could with whatever means we have.  Until next time, Diane Crockett – Bangor Area Homeless Shelter  

The View from 263 Main

Challenges Can Bring out the Best in Community

December 31, 2015
Photo By: Christina Berube, BAHSBlog By: Dennis MarbleLooking back on twenty years working at 263 Main brings a range of memories and emotions.  Seeing a huge group of harmed and injured people suffering...
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The Little Kitchen That Could

December 28, 2015
Wasn’t there a children’s book written and published a long time ago called The Little Engine That Could?  And it contained repetitive statements of self-belief, didn’t it? ...
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Gone is Gone, But Funerals Differ

December 18, 2015
I recently opened the newspaper to see that someone I knew had died.  This knowledge made me stop for a moment, mostly because he was young and his death seemed not only unexpected but wrong, somehow. Within...
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Are We All Suffering from Societal PTSD?

December 3, 2015
Photo By: Christina Berube, BAHSBlog Written By: Dennis Marble, BAHS Sometimes I see so much anger and intolerance that I start to wonder that it may be all connected, and that the collective damage upon...
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We Need Better Conversations- Terrorists, Refugees and The Homeless

November 20, 2015
Photo By: Christina Berube, BAHSBlog By: Dennis Marble, BAHS The current news coverage, social media buzzing, “water cooler” discussions and generally heated talk about the recent terrorist...
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Fathers and Sons (and Uncles and Dark Characters)

Photo By: Christina Berube, BAHSBlog Written By: Dennis Marble I’m not convinced that people who have never worked in a homeless shelter can accurately imagine what can go on under that roof. ...
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A Continental Living Abroad in a Homeless Shelter

October 19, 2015
Photo By: Christina Berube, BAHS Much has been made by some who inhabit the far right of America’s Republican Party or who are members of a subgroup of the Libertarians about the flood of welfare...
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Homelessness as a Dying Canary in Our Coal Mine

September 29, 2015
Photo by: Christina Berube, BAHS From the Los Angeles Almanac (on line): According to the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center, an estimated 254,000 men, women...
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Hate Crimes

September 3, 2015
Photo: Christina Berube, BAHSI’m at least a second degree news addict and so I find it pretty easy to get discouraged on a regular basis.  Actually I guess it’s almost all the time. ...
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A Friend of Bill

August 28, 2015
Photo By: Christina Berube, BAHSDid you see him walking Bangor’s streets and sidewalks? Miles and miles every week, purposeful, thinking. Did you know he had a fairly brief stay at the emergency...
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Can You Give Until You Break?

August 11, 2015
Angela was chauffeured to our place by way of a federal probation officer.  Hmm—what did that fact signify?  Some would think that she was “from away”—another ex con,...
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They Just Don’t Get Any Saltier

Photo: Christina Berube, BAHSI first met Clarence in 1996.  He was 60 years old but looked much older (except for the twinkle in his eyes).  Clarence was a good ol boy from Lubec, Lamoine, Jonesport,...
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The Real Problem is Us

July 8, 2015
Photo By: Christina Berube, BAHS StaffSo this piece is being written by an extremely amateur political junkie.  There are political blogs, including several posted by [The Bangor Daily News], that...
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No Program, No Playbook, and No Operator’s Manual

Photo by: Christina Berube, BAHS What do you do to remain professional in your dealings with someone that you really don’t want to spend any time with?  How do you accurately decide whether...
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Strengthen Neighborhoods and Pay Less for Homelessness

June 10, 2015
Photo By: Christina Berube, BAHSSound like a good deal?  Wouldn’t there be multiple winners if we could simultaneously save money currently spent on homelessness and reinvest in our neighborhoods...
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She Buried Him Under the Woodpile

May 26, 2015
The call from the upper Midwest came in around 4:00 pm.  “Does anyone there know a gentleman named John?”  Oh, did we ever! “John” grew up in Charlestown.  I don’t...
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Crazy Depends on Who’s Lookin’ and for How Long

May 11, 2015
(The author wishes to note at the onset of this little piece that it may appear to some that I am making fun of people who are challenged by gender identity issues and society’s response to them. ...
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How Bad is it, Really?

April 27, 2015
The morning news was playing on the shelter’s Day Room television when I arrived at work at 7:45.  I got organized in my office and then went back into the bigger room to connect with overnight...
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Zen and the Art of Homeless Shelter Maintenance

April 10, 2015
 And so it happened that the 1974 classic by Robert Pirsig was sitting right there on the library shelf, the green and black binding catching my eye when I didn’t know I was looking for it. ...
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There are still a few hobos, and kill all the lawyers!

Mack Rawhide was of a dying breed.  He may in fact be dead now—I do not know.  I do know the following: Mack was about 5’4” He had a speech impediment (but he could communicate...
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Throw the Bums Out!

It took me more than 65 years to bother to check out some reference to the phrase “red herring” (in other words, I just now looked).  One source cited the possible practice of using a...
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Where Have You Gone?

February 27, 2015
Where Have You Gone, Joe Dimaggio? (Credit for and apologies to Simon and Garfunkel) Where have you gone, Devon Dominar?  We hope you’re safe, wherever you are. Imagine growing up having...
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A Privilege of Class

I happened to read two different obituary notices recently that got me thinking about the Shelter and people experiencing homelessness. Richard Spinney (Dick, to us) spent some years with us on Main...
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Finding the best of us, like the times of Sputnik

February 3, 2015
It was a Friday night in October of 1957.  I was eight years old.  The “whole neighborhood” (4 or 5 families) was gathered together on our quiet street, necks craned, excited, silence...
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Anger is not an Investment

January 19, 2015
“Mitch” has been in his own apartment for about three months now.  To my knowledge, he’s still able to receive methadone daily as a part of the little backpack of supports that...
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Howard moved out of his apartment today.  He was successfully placed into a residential setting that offers supports for elderly people with special needs.  The program is much better for him...
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Holidays and Luck

It’s official!  We’ve fully entered the Picasso-esque holiday season with its cubist arrangements of gorging, restraint, clamor and thoughts of others.  Seems the older I get, the...
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A Few People

“I read the news today, oh boy…” (Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper, “A Day in the Life”) I read in the news today that Commissioner Mayhew (DHHS—“the Department”)...
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At Ground Level

Election Season is over, but what's next? Most of us will simply and complicatedly go on. But there are some of us who never get the chance to either get engaged or see outcomes as having any impact.

By the time anyone is reading this (and frankly, that is probably a pretty small number), the fatigue and poignancy of the recent campaign advertising and the actual election results will have subsided...
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The Kid

Picture the kid, sitting in the shelter’s day room—baby faced 24–year-old, seated at the white plastic table, his headset on and a book in front of him, eyes down, alone at the table...
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Any other Saturday Night fans out there?   I realize that there may not be a huge number of us who can remember the early years—Gilda Radner, Dan Akroyd, Chevy, Belushi and low key guests...
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Annual Appeal 2014

November 2014 Dear Friends,              And we at the Shelter truly mean that—you are in fact our friends!  Maybe we are therefore...
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Length of Stay

For those who do not know (and that is probably anyone reading this), Maine has a Statewide Homeless Council.  While in the 1990’s there was a Maine Homeless Coalition, the Council had its genesis...
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Earlier today I drove past “Alan.”  I was heading south on Main Street; he was sitting on a wall near the sidewalk.  I took note partly because I hadn’t seen him for a while,...
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Turn the laws of nature around and see a strand of dune grass bent forward into the wind.  Place a little tatter of thin grey wool around the shaft.  That was my first glimpse of Lenora Chamblis. ...
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How might hurricanes, waiting 5th in line at a traffic light, municipal policies regarding abandoned and abused animals, and an ethics discussion have in common?  I think that, if you work with folks...
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Needham Alley

Needham Alley (far from his real name) grew up learning odd jobs early in Whitneyville, a little east of Jonesport.  Not “living the dream” but instead mirroring the poverty of almost...
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Charles dropped by the Shelter recently.  He had traveled from Tennessee to see his ailing mother who was in a hospital just over the border from Calais.  Good adult son, right?  Yes, he...
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July 11, 2014
Notice how much the term “entitled” is being tossed around? I know there are companies hired by other companies to scan the media and internet chatter to report back how many times they’re...
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“…and all the sinners, saints”-- Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”

June 30, 2014
It is an historic fact that Tim climbed the stairs to the porch of a house in a residential section of Bangor and yelled loudly while madly gesturing.  He did this two days in a row.  On the...
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“Homeless.” “Bum.” “Drug addict.” “Black male.” “Ex con.” “Gang member.” “Drunk.”

June 16, 2014
As the gap grows between the very few who control most of the wealth and the rest of us, I’m afraid I see far too much of what I think of as the “crabs scrambling to get out of the pot”...
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Jimmy O.

Jimmy O stayed at the Shelter fairly recently, and I am going to insert some details I’ve invented so as to protect his identity and respect him as you or I would like to be respected.

June 2, 2014
      Jimmy O grew up pretty hardscrabble downeast.  The oldest of 5 children, from the age of 10 he was forced to grow up fast and do so without most of the “givens” we...
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Individual Rights or Professional Responsibility?

This is a follow up piece to the previous post, Mary Jo.

May 12, 2014
When you work in a homeless shelter for any length of time, you can’t help but meet some folks who have very serious mental illnesses.  The population of people we generally describe as “homeless”...
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Mary Jo

Our very first blog post.

April 28, 2014
Mary Jo died last month.  You wouldn’t have known this from an obituary, even if you’d known her, as there wasn’t one.  In death she was even more invisible than she’d...
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