Fundraiser to help family of late Portsmouth river pilot

Through Go Fund Me, Johnson’s friends and family set a $100,000 fundraising goal to help his survivors “manage any unforeseen expenses” and establish a college fund for his three children.

“Everyone who knew PJ Johnson knew he was a man who would help anyone in need,” according to the account. “Whether it was a mariner on the water, a fellow firefighter, or aiding an injured skier at his beloved Cannon Mountain. His legacy is that of a man who lived to serve.”

The Go Fund Me account can be found at












By Elizabeth Dinan

Kittery’s Rice Library to explore becoming a town department

KITTERY, Maine — Rice Public Library took another step toward becoming a full-fledged town department on Tuesday night.

In a unanimous vote, the library’s board of directors decided to endorse the merger and join a negotiation committee with the town.

If and when the library board, which next meets Jan. 16, decides to make the transition, it will be subject to approval by the Town Council.

Some of the issues facing the library include the high cost of heating and cooling, lack of current library technology and a library split into two different buildings not on the same property, among others.

“I’m excited that we’re moving forward,” said board president Rachel J. Dennis. “We certainly have a long road to go, but it starts with a couple of steps, and so we’re on our way.”

By John Doyle /

To read the rest of the article, click here to visit the Portsmouth Herald.

Pieces of lost train salvaged from Piscataqua River

PORTSMOUTH — Even after lying deep beneath the surface of the Piscataqua River for nearly 80 years, the rusted and decaying axles of a long lost iron horse, still give off a smell of industrial oil.

On the evening of Sept. 10, 1939, Boston and Maine passenger train No. 2024 left North Berwick en route to Boston with only 12 passengers and a crew of five. The train would never arrive.

According to author William Brooke writing in Volume 18 edition 1 of the “B & M Bulletin,” the train was crossing over a 100-year-old wooden trestle known as the “Portsmouth Bridge” and was 40 feet above the river. Brooke said barges used for the ongoing construction of the original Sarah Mildred Long Bridge were anchored to the bridge, which had already been weakened following a collision with a freighter in 1937.


to read the full story and view the pictures, visit the Portsmouth Herald here.

Kittery discusses Foreside plan

KITTERY, Maine – The Town Council received the draft Foreside land use, parking and transportation study from the consultants who compiled the report during a workshop on Monday night.

The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Kittery Area Comprehensive Transportation System (KACTS), through the Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission, contracted consultants Tom Errico, senior associate and traffic engineering director with T.Y. Lin International, and Mitchell Rasor, landscape architect with MRLD LLC. They spent the majority of 2017 compiling data and soliciting information from the town’s Foreside Working Group in order to come back with suggestions on how the town can set itself on the best possible course to shape future development in the Foreside and improve the area’s traffic flow and parking while also improving accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians.

“We’re here tonight to give the council a view of the what the draft recommendations are coming out of the Foreside land use, parking and transportation study,” said Town Manager Kendra Amaral. “It is really helping us focus on transportation and build out ideas for the Foreside area, all the way up Gourmet Alley (on Route 1).”

By Alex LaCasse

To read the full story, click here to visit the Portsmouth Herald.


River pilot, firefighter mourned after fatal crash

PORTSMOUTH — Killed in a single-car crash Saturday, Peter “PJ” Johnson is remembered as a man who spent his life working on the water and ski slopes, as a firefighter and a father.

Johnson, 50, was a Portsmouth Pilot who worked in tandem with Moran tugboats to help navigate massive ships into the Portsmouth Port, via the Piscataqua River, said Dick Holt of Moran Tugboats. He said Johnson boarded the ships to direct the tugs and worked hard to earn the position. Holt said Johnson was a lobsterman and a fisherman until the industry began shrinking, then went to and graduated from the Maine Maritime Academy and “worked his way in.”

“It took him a long time to get in there,” Holt said. “I worked with him for 10 years and I’ve known him for 20. Anything he did, he was all-in. It certainly is a tragedy.”

To read the full length story, click here to visit the Portsmouth Herald.












Rich Beauchesne Photo

Kittery Christmas Parade Sat, Dec 2, 2017

Kittery holiday parade set for Dec. 2nd

KITTERY, Maine — The Kiwanis Club of The Seacoast is sponsoring the annual Kittery Holiday Parade this year.

The parade will be take place on Saturday, Dec. 2. It will step off from Post Office Square at 3 p.m., follow the traditional parade route through downtown Kittery and conclude at John Paul Jones Park with the tree lighting. If you have any questions, please call Frank Dennett at 207-439-3573 or send an email to

Special Guest, SANTA And Mrs. Claus


USS Thresher lives on with ‘Brothers of the Phin’

D. Allan Kerr is the author of “Silent Strength,” a book about the men lost aboard Thresher.

The tragic loss of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher in 1963 inspired rigorous safety measures to ensure future Navy crewmen wouldn’t suffer a similar fate. This is the enduring legacy of the Thresher.

The spirit of Thresher lives on through a tradition unique to the brotherhood of those who dare sail beneath the ocean’s surface.


This past summer, the Navy’s Atlantic Submarine Fleet announced Lt. j.g. Jeremy Brown earned the honor of becoming the newest sailor to qualify as a submarine officer. In accomplishing this goal, Brown earned the right to wear a pair of golden dolphin pins once awarded to another young Navy officer named John Wesley Harvey. Harvey was skipper of the doomed Thresher when it went down 220 miles off the New England coast during sea trials April 10, 1963. The significance of wearing Harvey’s pins is not lost on Brown.

The article is found here. To visit the links, click here.

D. Allan Kerr is the author of “Silent Strength,” a book about the men lost aboard Thresher. Kerr may be found on the Sloth Blog at

KITTERY’S WOOD ISLAND, Saving story of the surfmen

Click the above link to read the full story in the Portsmouth Herald.




Back before President Woodrow Wilson created the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915, stations dotting the nation’s coastlines and the Great Lakes were established to aid mariners in distress.

These stations were operated by the U.S. Life-Saving Service.

The hardy members of this agency were called surfmen, and each station was headed by the keeper. When vessels ran aground or wrecked close to shore, these “storm warriors” would venture out into the sea in lifeboats to rescue crew and passengers.

One such station was located at Wood Island, just off Kittery Point in Maine. Although long-abandoned and now in a state of disrepair, a local nonprofit organization is currently working to preserve this site.


There is a lot more to this story, Click this link.


Kittery Election results. Unofficial but more information.

                     November 7, 2017
Total Votes Cast
YES 376
NO 2721
YES 2239
NO 844
YES 2460
NO 582
YES 2159
NO 732
Brock Matthew (Matt) 1587
Estes Dennis S. 1032
Lemont Kenneth 1471
Spiller Judith A. 1396
Write-ins 13
Blanks 727
Chalupa Nicholas M. 1169
Hoffman Danielle F. 1630
Sayer Suzanne 1088
Write-ins 21
Blanks 2320
Yes 2250
No 378
Blanks 485
Yes 2325
No 351
Blanks 437
Yes 2326
No 331
Blanks 456
Yes 2224
No 477
Blanks 411
Yes 2336
No 352
Blanks 424
Rehabilitate and build an addition onto the current Rice Library 1783
Build a new library building adjacent to Rogers Road at the Kittery Community Center 823
Neither of the above 463
Blanks 42




Results from Portsmouth Herald.

KITTERY, Maine — A majority of town voters sent a clear message to town leaders on Tuesday: They want to see a Rice Public Library rehabilitation and addition project.

The non-binding referendum gave voters three choices. A total of 1,783 voters chose the rehabilitation and addition option. The option to build a new library adjacent to Rogers Road at the Kittery Community Center received 823 votes. The option to do neither received 463 votes. Forty-two voters left the answer blank.

The Town Council race winners were newcomer Matt Brock (1,587 votes) and incumbent Kenneth Lemont (1,471). They won the two available seats, while incumbent Judith Spiller (1,396) was ousted from her seat. Dennis Estes fell short, too, with 1,032 votes.

School Committee winners were Danielle Hoffman (1,630) and Nicholas Chalupa (1,169). They defeated Suzanne Sayer (1,088).


Read the Full story here at this link. CLICK THIS LINE.