The Star-Herald

A newsman to the end

Dialysis is an experience. As with so many catastrophic illnesses the first few months of a diagnosis are a whirlwind of mini shocks as one indignity after another is put on a person.

The first lesson to be learned is that one is now part of a team of professionals. Misstatements and forgetfulness are found out and soon everyone on the team knows who ordered that triple thick, malted milk shake with extra fudge and chips. Every drop of water is counted. Too much and it is easy enough to drown in your own fluids. The body is not able to get rid of liquid as it has in the past. Make a mistake on counting your fluids and the staff knows. They do not let you forget.

While it looks bleak, it is possible to manage life. This is the message that the entire team stresses. One has a life. Live it. And enjoy it as much as possible. It is an exercise in courage.

Dennis Curley came to The County so long ago. He fancied himself a newsman for radio. With hoopla and ballyhoo he took over the news operations of several local stations. With a voice deep and resonant, he announced the various tales of governance, schools, people and places that make the County interesting. Quickly he became a fixture and fan of all things Aroostook. He championed saving Loring, cheering schools, and keeping political leaders in check. He became a newsman.

A fierce competitor, Dennis challenged all media in The County. Early on he ran circles around the local news operation at WAGM. The days when he had a story that the television station did not, the staff at the TV station ate crow. Other radio stations tried to keep up and ate dust for the effort. From one end of The County to the other, Dennis challenged anyone who thought they could do news.

In the years following his arrival in the mid-’80s he consistently presented a quality product that kept audiences tuning in to his stations. He loved news and he loved the stories that he found in the fields of The County.

As he accepted the cruelty of dialysis treatments he became a profile in courage. It is not easy to change habits with such a diagnosis. Dennis stood firm against the tide of gloom and challenged his situation with his customary humor and perseverance.  

A champion of news, he carried on with a firm hand in presenting the news of the day. One can only admire the courage that he found.

Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.

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