Writing our own comeback story

10 years ago

Whenever I go outside I like to look up. I do so because I like having conversations with someone up there. But the other reason is that I am always on the lookout for eagles. What a thrill it is for me to see the bald eagle make such a comeback in my lifetime. I remember when they were endangered and close to extinction because DDT made the eagle eggs too fragile to survive. Now the eagles are numerous in our area, in Aroostook County and there is even a sign on I-95 to beware of them on the road!
They are special to me, these eagles. They are majestic when flying low enough to see their features and when they are flying high and riding the thermals in great, graceful circles. It seems to me they get so high they can fly in and out of the clouds.

I bring this up because I am a sucker for the comeback story. I write a daily baseball blog (Google “Flagrant Fan” and you’ll find me) and often write about the player who has missed several seasons only to try one last time or about the guy getting his first Major League appearances after many, many years in the minors. I love this kind of story, whether it is the eagles or a baseball player … or an area — an area like ours.
Yes, I am an optimist. When you love an area as much as I do the Caribou area, pessimism is not an option. Yes, things have been “depressed” since I arrived here in 1990. But the situation is unique now. We have leadership in place at the city office that has the energy and the correct focus to bring about change (if those who vote on budgets do not strangle them).
This correct focus was evident in Mr. Bleess’ speech at our Annual Recognition Dinner on Thursday. He talked about breaking down barriers to businesses caused by outdated codes and ordinances. Those, believe it or not, are new ideas here and are very hopeful to hear.
But it goes beyond the knowledge of the new leaders here. What fuels my optimism was on display at the Annual Recognition Dinner. The room was filled with all sorts of people. Whether it was business owners, high-level executives or just ordinary folks, the room was filled with extraordinary people. They were an entire room full of people who continue to strive to leave the world a better place than what they found. They were people with motivation to give back and to go beyond normal expectations.
And I love being a part of it. The Caribou Area Chamber of Commerce has the opportunity to encourage and cheerlead and stand for our area’s chance to come back like the eagles and soar again. There are those who would naysay that opinion. Let them. I would rather spend my time hoping and working for an area than to listen to negative people who speak in terms of “reality checks.”
The Annual Recognition Dinner was a very big success. The Caribou Inn & Convention Center did a wonderful job as host and provided everything we needed and a wonderful meal. Brian McDougal agreed to play the piano after being asked two days before the event! And he was terrific! The awards were given and received with strong emotions and it appeared everyone had a great time.
Next comes THE big weekend! The City-Wide Yard Sale occurs this weekend. The map was a bit delayed but was available by Tuesday afternoon. They should be all over town as this is delivered to you. There will be many hundreds of cars around looking for deals at over a hundred sale locations. The forecast does not sound good weather-wise. But let’s all hope it changes by the time we get there. Be careful driving as our streets will be congested with suddenly stopping cars and people crossing streets without always looking where they are going!
More sure signs that spring is finally here (despite this dismal weather)! The Houlton Farms Dairy Bar is open on Bennett Drive! And Christine’s Down to Earth Gardens is open on the New Sweden Road. Yes!
We are very pleased to pick up two returning members this week. Both had been members in the past and it’s great they are back! The first is County Camp on 1051 South Shore Road at Madawaska Lake. If you need a relaxing weekend, it’s a great place to escape to. Call them at 227-7590.
The other is Plourde & Plourde on 11 Laurette Street in Caribou. This is one of the best businesses in the area and one of only a few Harley-Davidson dealers in Maine. Plourde & Plourde is also famous for their snowmobiles, ATVs and golf carts.
Welcome back to membership and thank you so very much!
  Executive Director William Tasker may be reached in the CACC office at 498-6156 or email him at cacc@cariboumaine.net.