Thursday, March 5, 2015


For more than 11 years this radio trio has continued to give back to their community. Collectively they have raised money for numerous causes in addition to entertaining their fan base almost every single day on their hit morning radio program. We have the great pleasure of adding the radio personalities of The Q Morning Show (WJBQ-97.9) to our 52in52 family!
Whether it is their amazing contributions to the community or just the constant sharing of their lives and personal challenges, Lori Voornas, Meredith Manning and Jeff Parsons always seem to deliver. Below find our very humble interview with the three of them.       
WJBQ Morning Show

DNA: How long have the three of you been working on the morning show together?
Q Morning Show: “This is our 12th year together.”  

DNA: A lot of morning shows help the community by giving back - that said your morning show seems to do more than most - tell us why the three of you have decided to get so involved in fundraisers and social events?
Q Morning Show: “It’s the best and quickest way to let people know that we care, we are their friends and we’ll put our money where our mouth is….or our mouth where the money is needed. It’s also a great way to bond with listeners about what they are passionate about.”

DNA: Can you name a few fundraisers or events that are near and dear to your heart?
Q Morning Show:Of course Cans for a Cure for the Maine Cancer Foundation and Cancer Community Center. We also love the March of DimesWalk (in May), we have gotten involved individually with charities. Meredith with Autism, Jeff with the American Cancer Society and Lori with the Robbie Foundation.”

DNA: We know that one of your bigger events is Cans for a Cure. How long has your crew been involved in this project, what are the principal goals of this project and how much would you say you helped raise with help from the community?
Q Morning Show: “We did this the very first year we all worked together, so this is 12 years old too! The goals have changed since our first one. Our initial goal was to make this an awareness campaign and to get women to do self-breast exams to be their best protector against breast cancer.
“Over the years however, we have really cranked into the fundraising aspect. There is so much research, education and resources here in Maine, but it’s expensive. We try our best to help the Maine Cancer Foundation and Cancer Community Center defray those costs. Over the 12 years we have raised nearly 200,000 dollars!”

DNA: We know that Jeff has been battling cancer - and he has always been frank with your audience - keeping them informed along his journey. We think this is a brave and somewhat uncharacteristic of radio personalities for most usually prefer to keep their private lives out of the spotlight. Why did he (or your crew) decide that it was important to air his cancer progress over the air? And what kind of feedback have you received?
JEFF: “I thought it was important to share because all of us have been very open about big events in our personal lives and this was just another one of those moments. The response was very supportive and really showed me just how much listeners really think of you as a friend.”

DNA: On another personal note - Lori we know that you also shared very personal information with your audience. You decided to come out on the air. What made you decide to do that and what type of positive and possibly negative feedback did you receive from the public?
LORI: “I was getting married and to a woman…and all I could think was, wow…I’m getting married to a woman who has 3 kids…how in God’s name am I gonna talk about anything unless I come out. I was truly scared to death.
I think I had built up a big giant monster in my own mind over the 20 years I had been in radio and had convinced myself that I would be hated. I am still amazed to this day, but I have received NO negative feedback. None. It was the nicest thing our listeners have ever done for me.”
DNA: Mornings are tough for most people - how do the three of you muster the energy and wit to entertain people on a regular basis? What are some of the challenges the three of you face on a day to day basis?
Q MORNING SHOW: Getting to work is the hardest, but once here – this job is the greatest job ever and it’s truly hard NOT to have fun when you start chatting it up. We all have such different personalities and for some weird strange awesome reason, it translates on the radio to a fun morning. When it stops being fun, is when we probably will stop doing it. Unless any of us win the lottery, then I’m pretty sure it would be ‘see ya suckers!’”
DNA: You may downplay the importance of your morning show but there is an audience out there that truly needs your crew to help them get off on the right foot - do you enjoy that pressure and what do the three of you do to help bring that little extra something to the airwaves every weekday?
Q MORNING SHOW: “We all try to bring a little of our lives to the show every day. It doesn’t take much to relate to the audience. We have kids, we have boyfriends, we have girlfriends, we have divorces, and money issues and funny things happen. We try to share those with the audience, because they can relate. Plus, if you can goof around it’s a way better way to start your day than depressed that it’s another day in the grind that life can sometimes be.”

DNA: Lastly what do the three of you enjoy most about your jobs and how can people find out more about your pet projects?
LORI: “I think for me, the thing I love most about my job is making people laugh. When I can get Meredith giggling or Jeff to do his double laugh – then I know there is someone out there doing the same thing. We all have blogs that we update daily on the website and that’s a great way to keep up with our madness and anything we are currently involved in.” 
Lori Voornas
MEREDITH: I really like meeting our listeners and hearing their thoughts on the air. I love the psychology behind it. Everyone has their own views and triggers and I'm intrigued with reactions and insight.” 
Meredith Manning
JEFF: I like the fact that the job is different every day and I get to come to work and just be myself. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt to work ain't half bad either. I don't exactly have pet projects but people can follow me at,, and”

Jeff Parsons

To hear more adventures of this amazing trio, listeners can tune their radio to 97.9 (in Maine) from 5:30am-10:00am (Monday-Thursday) and 6:00am-10:00am on Saturdays. DNA thanks these three for their public service. We were very grateful to be welcomed into their studio to do this fun shoot.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Cancer is an unwelcomed visitor, a thief in the night if you will. It often robs people of their dreams and ambition. It rips through lives like a devastating tornado making the road to recovery long and hard, if recover is possible at all. Yet, there is a force out there that can rival cancer. An entity that helps empower the body and mind to fight back and confront the challenges of cancer head-on. However, like any war, there are never any real winners, only survivors – those who are fortunate enough to have the inner strength, health and luck to walk away from the battlefield and enjoy the dance of another day.
Country-Line dance instructor Denise Hebert came face to face with her own personal tornado and has been on the mend since 2012. Come learn of her battle with a cancerous tumor and how she refused to let the aftermath of it put a permanent halt on her passion for dance.    

For 17 years Ms. Hebert, under the name of D&D Line Dancers, taught a group of enthusiasts the complicated footwork of country line dancing. Her group grew and gained celebrity by performing in parades and local festivals in Twin Cities. They even visited nursing homes during the winter months to perform their Christmas program for residents and staff members. The D&D Line Dancers loved giving back to the community and the community loved their performances. All was perfect in Ms. Hebert’s world. Dancing had helped fill the void that was created when her children embarked into military life. Teaching her group gave her a sense of purpose and eased her empty nest syndrome.
However, that was all about to come to a screeching halt. During one of her regular swim sessions, Ms. Hebert badly injured her right arm. She said she still remembers the sound that her muscle made as it tore from her shoulder bone. She lived in agony for a few months in hopes the pain would subside but it refused to cease, forcing her to seek medical assistance.
An X-ray revealed that her glenoid bone had completely disintegrated due to a rare tumor that attached to her scapula and spread to her collar bone consuming the bones along the way. Her doctors then referred her to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor to seek additional advice. Ms. Hebert said that after countless tests, scans and a biopsy, the results were still inconclusive. During this trying time she turned to her family and dancing group to help her keep a positive mindset.     
And it was a positive mindset that she brought with her when her team of doctors, led by Dr. Ian Dickey, suggested a surgery that could allow her the opportunity to save a part of her arm by removing the infected bone and inserting a titanium bar in its place. The bar would act as a humorous bone and would connect her collar bone to her elbow. If all was successful, her surgery would render her upper arm immobile, yet there was a strong possibility that she would retain use of her wrist and hand (P.S. Ms. Hebert is right handed.)
“I don’t need an arm to dance,” she said jokingly. And with that enthusiasm, she decided to go ahead with the surgery. There were many stages to the surgery and each step brought along with it a myriad of concerns and promises of hope.
In the end, the doctors successfully removed the tumor which they classified as an osteosarcoma. According to their records it currently holds the record for being the largest recorded case of osteosarcoma in the state of Maine.
The road to recovery was long and involved constant assistance from her daughter, mother and sister in order to help Ms. Hebert become increasingly independent. She was eager to heal and return back to her beloved dancing community, but first she had to learn how to relearn simple tasks like getting dressed, putting on socks with her left hand and peeling a potato for starters. Most take the ability of doing these tasks for granted, but every small feat she achieved was a monumental step forth. On December 5, 2012, two weeks after her last surgery, she returned to her doctor for a post-surgical follow-up in which most of the 94 staples were removed. She asked the doctor when he thought she could start dancing again. He said immediately.
She started dancing the next day and has not stopped to look back since. Despite her battle and the loss of 95 percent of her arm use, she continues to push herself every day while continuing to bring new dance routines to her group. Her spirit remains high and her friends say it would be a challenge to find her without a smile.
"I cannot express enough my heart-felt appreciation and thank you to my family and a treasure of friends for their support, love and prayers," she said. "Never doubt the power of prayer!" She also said she is relearning her skills little by little with her left hand and has learned the importance of asking for help.
Ms. Hebert continues to hold dance sessions every Wednesday with the D&D Line Dancers. Sessions run from 6:30 – 8pm and are held in the gorgeous Central Hall, three stories above Lisbon Street in Lewiston, overlooking the Bates Mill. Their next performance will be on August 15 at the D'Youville Pavilion for its Country Fair Hoe Down.

For more information on their dance group please contact DNA Photography.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


After having taught physics for some 25 years at Gorham High School and then winning top prize on the 17th installment of CBS’s Survivor, one would think Robert “Bob” Crowley of Durham would be ready to sit back and enjoy the winnings with his wife Peggy. Of course, if you knew Mr. Crowley, then you would know that such a behavior is not of his nature.
Come venture with us into his family’s 110 acre woods and learn how this humble man and his family have turned a chased dream of more than 30 years, into a family affair that continues to enrich their community and our state by finding ways to give back to those less fortunate. How do the Crowleys do this, you may ask?  To answer this question DNA Photography spent a weekend in Durham with Mr. Crowley on his family’s property. After just a few short hours with him, we gained a deeper appreciation for his family and a clearer understanding of the power of a yurt.

Bob Crowley sits outside of one of the two yurts at Maine Forest Yurts.
So, before we get too deep into this profile, let us discuss what a yurt is. Now you may have heard of a yurt in the past but perhaps you’re still not entirely sure if it is something you eat or if you need to ward it off with bug repellent?  Let us ease your inquisitive mind. Yurts are Mongolian designed huts used now and during the reign of Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan as mobile living quarters that have met the demanding lifestyle of the Asian nomads.  “It’s a cross between a teepee and a child’s playpen,” Mr. Crowley explained. “It has circular lattice work on the inside and a teepee stuck on top of it. They are very well suited for winter’s high winds and low temperatures.”

Well at this point you may now have started to ask yourself– what does a yurt have to do with Mr. Crowley? Well the same could be asked of Walt Disney’s connection with a certain cartoon mouse or Ansel Adam’s kindred relationship with his camera, or even perhaps, a freshly baked chocolate chips cookie’s pairing with a glass of milk. Clearly at this stage of Mr. Crowley’s life, and in regards to the solution of his family’s thirty-year-old dream, a yurt has everything to do with him.      
The Crowleys fell in love with the yurt concept – but not just for its nomadic benefits as you may have thought. No, the main draw was the structure’s ability to withstand the brutal winters of our Pine Tree State. This was and still is a big deal for the Crowleys, a family that has dealt with numerous red tape issues that previously slowed down their dream of owning and operating a campground. For thirty years Mr. Crowley and his wife slowly acquired land in Durham in hopes to one day use their property in a somewhat unique manner. And now after several years of hard work and determination, by all in the family (including their two dogs), the Crowleys have established Maine Forest Yurts (MFY).

What MFY offers to visitors is a unique camping experience that is unlike most campgrounds in the state. “Originally we were going to build a log cabin but due to heavy regulations we were not able to build (permanent structures) on the property,” Mr. Crowley said. This is where he said the non-permanent concept of the yurt helped open the door for his family to expand their vision. Their campground has obtained the town’s permission to put in a total of six yurts. The Crowleys plan on keeping four of the yurts isolated and placing two of them near each other, offering larger groups the chance to camp closer together.
Visitors of MFY can do a number of traditional outdoor Maine activities. “There are plenty of walking trails for people to check out and we also have two kayaks that people can use down on the pond,” he said. The pond he refers to is Roundabout Pond and MFY owns 1.4 miles of its shoreline. During the winter months the trails lend themselves to snow shoeing and cross-country skiing.

When DNA Photography visited MFY in early April we were greeted by Mr. Crowley and his four-wheeled Ranger. The hospitality was that of a multi-starred hotel with a unique forest-like twist. His smile was sincere and almost as large as the massive hands that engulfed ours during our handshake. We loaded the back of the gator and then headed up through the wintry trails, impassable at that time of the year by any four-door suburban. As we ventured deeper into the near-virgin woods it was quickly apparent why this campground was unique. There were no paved roads littered with 15x15 foot segregated sites off to the path’s shoulders. Traditional metal-rimmed fireplaces were not scattered about and we didn’t see one gray water dumping station. We remembered it feeling very tranquil as we continued to drive further and further away from the hustle of civilization. When we arrived at our isolated yurt, it was easy to see why people, coming from as far away as Boston, book with this outfit.
“If you Google-Earthed us you will see that we’re not that far removed from Portland,” he said as he hopped off the vehicle and into the slushy snow. “Being exposed to the natural environment has remained our biggest draw. Here you can get away in a heartbeat and be by yourself and relax in our Zen-spirited round buildings.”

We unloaded our gear into his 24-foot diameter yurt that sleeps six people comfortably. The structure was larger than we had envisioned and came furnished with two bunk beds in addition to a sofa bed, wood stove, oven, dining room table, and an environment-friendly outhouse. We were drawn to the rustic décor of the yurt’s interior and how Mr. Crowley had creatively made use of the natural resources found on his land. We were particularly fond of the unique rope system in which Mr. Crowley designed to raise and lower the few battery operated lanterns in the circular retreat. His handiwork had been seen by the world before when he gave fellow survivors a taste of his craftsmanship by creating, not one, but two, fake immunity idols which helped secure his spot in the reality show’s finale in 2008.

We unpacked and started saying what we thought were our goodbyes to Mr. Crowley, when he sat himself down on a wooden bench and made himself available for discussion. After he answered a few questions pertaining to his Survivor experience, he started telling us about the Durham Warrior Survival Challenge (DWSC)and what it did for veterans and other deserving groups.
The DWSC, which is held at MFY, molds itself closely after CBS’s Survivor – without the exotic location and million-dollar cash prize. This August marks the event’s second year. According to its website, 18 contestants from across the country competed last year in a four-day contest that ranged from physical obstacles, mental puzzles, and a fire building challenge.  The contestants were divided into three tribes and together shared reward along with the ill-fated tribal council meetings. Mr. Crowley said he is very proud of the involvement Peggy and he have had in a lot of fundraising events. Events that have raised money for veterans and other deserving groups, like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, to stay in the yurt for a night. 

While Mr. Crowley has successfully brought a little bit of the Survivor spirit back to Maine he is often called upon by fundraising agents to help raise awareness and funds for various charities in need. “We just went to California to help raise money for breast cancer,” he said. “We, along with other people, have been involved in raising close to a million dollars for breast cancer, the American Red Cross and Portland’s Center for Grieving Children. Doing this has probably changed my life the most.”
If his Durham Warrior Survival Challenge and his participation in national fundraisers are not enough to convince people of his humanitarian ways, than perhaps his upcoming project with former Survivor members and Habitat for Humanity will change your mind.

It is refreshing to meet a person, who has dedicated so much of his time and effort on educating our youth, continuing to give back. Often when people become celebrities they lose their way. But if you ask those who know Mr. Crowley, they will say he is still the same person he has always been.  Despite winning more than $1 million dollars he has stayed his course and enjoys living a simple life.

His humbleness, wit and ability to tell an endless amount of entertaining stories, paired with his hard work ethic is only a small handful of reasons  why Mr. Crowley won a game that forces people to outwit, outlast and outplay your competitors. We thank “Bowtie Bob” and his family for their unique campground and ongoing humanitarian efforts.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Stephanie and I enjoy a good read. She loves her fictional fun and I enjoy my nonfiction. We are modest readers that read before bed, on long trips and during rainy Sundays. Now let me introduce you to a man who reads close to - if not more - than 100 books a year and who has been providing people with book service for more than a decade. On top of all that he has just helped open Portland's second bookstore and authored a book on Maine beer.

We invite you to snuggle up in your comfy clothes and learn a little more about the independent book industry and of our dear friend Josh Christie who helps provide readers with a place to mingle and escape the busy world around us. Scroll down to read our Q&A session.

DNA Photography: Tell us a little bit about your passion for books and why you have decided to work in book stores?

Mr. Christie: "I grew up as a passionate reader, the child of two readers (one an English major, in fact) who encouraged the habit while I was growing up. I’ve always enjoyed books for all the reasons, cliché and otherwise, that people talk about when they talk about reading; entertainment, education, escape, empathy, you name it. I even met my wife, another passionate reader, at a bookstore.

I started as a bookseller simply because I needed a summer job, and it seemed like a good fit. Over the years, it turned from a summer job into a career, both a vocation and an avocation. I’ve been lucky to work for Sherman’s (Books and Stationery), where the owner, general manager, and buyers have taught me about every aspect of the bookselling world. I do believe in the importance and viability of independent bookstores (I’m currently serving my third term on the board of directors of the New England Independent Booksellers Association), and it’s a job where I get to interact with books, authors, and readers every day."

DNA Photography: How many books would you say you read yearly?
Mr. Christie: "I read a couple books a week, so probably somewhere north of a hundred books a year."

DNA Photography: How long have you work at Sherman's Books and why did the company decide to epand to the Old Port?
Mr. Christie: "I’ve worked for Sherman’s on and off for about a decade. I started with the company when I was a college student in 2004, and worked in the Camden store that summer when it opened. I worked at that location during summers until 2006. After moving to Portland and working a few different jobs after college, I joined Sherman’s in Freeport as a full-time bookseller in mid-2008. I worked there for the last five years, and then started the process of helping to plan the new Portland store in late 2013.

The idea of opening a Portland store started with Tori Curtis, the daughter of Sherman’s owner and CEO Jeff Curtis. Tori had worked in Boston in marketing after college, but caught her father’s entrepreneurial bug and started thinking of opening a store. When Tori looked at a location in Portland, Jeff thought it really had potential as a Sherman’s location."

DNA Photography: What is your current role at Sherman's Books?
Mr. Christie: "I’m the manager of Sherman’s Books and Stationery in Portland, ME, and I assist with the book buying for all five Sherman’s stores."

DNA Photography: Do you feel as though there is still a spot for bookstores despite the growth of the internet and online companies? Can small book stores like Sherman's Books compete with large box stores?
Mr. Christie: "Well, geez, I wouldn’t work at a bookstore if I didn’t think they had a place in the modern age. Yes, I think bookstores have a home as a place for events, for brick-and-mortar business, and as a avenue for both local and travelling customers.
Despite the narrative of recent years that the bookstore is a thing of the past, the media seems a bit behind the story – bookstores can certainly survive and thrive. In the last five years, the number of independent bookstores in the U.S., hasn't shrank, but has actually grown about 19 percent. A national retail review for spring identified independent booksellers as the strongest sector within the bookstore category. Where large chains like Barnes and Noble and the now-defunct Borders have struggled to find a place (less personal and unique than smaller shops, but unable to compete on price or selection with Amazon), indies have proven agile and creative in the face of the challenges. And, of course, Sherman's is expanding rather than contracting. Indies can compete by focusing on their strengths - curation, expertise, creativity, and a connection to community (be it local partnerships, donations, or events) - and fulfilling the wants and needs of their customers, rather than fretting about the behemoth companies. Things like the 'buy local movement' have also helped lift bookstores alongside other independent businesses."

DNA Photography: In your opinion what do you believe small bookstores bring to a community?
Mr. Christie: "In his 1989 book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg talks about the idea of the "third place" - a place separate from home and work that essential to community, public life, and community vitality. I think that often bookstores fill this role as the heart of a community. (Or, as Neil Gaiman put it, 'What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore it knows it's not fooling a soul.') It's a place where people meet and talk and get to know one another.
In the less ephemeral and more practical sense, bookstores (and other local businesses) bring jobs and tax dollars to communities that big-box and online retailers don't, while straining local infrastructure less. Sherman's stores also run book fairs and community events, work with schools and libraries, and donate to local causes."
DNA Photography: Does Sherman's Books have a Maine featured section and if so how does it go about keeping that section current with new material?

Mr. Christie: "We do! Since the stores’ beginnings over a century ago, supporting Maine authors and books about Maine has been very important. In Portland, for example, one wall of the store is devoted to Maine books. We work with local and national publishers when buying for the store to make sure Maine is well represented. We also carry self-published books by Mainers at all of our stores."

DNA Photography: Does Sherman's Books offer Q&A sessions with authors - and if so what are a few well known authors that have taken part of the program?

Mr. Christie: "We have a variety of events with authors, ranging from book signings and one-on-one interactions with customers to book talks, presentation, and launches of new titles. Among the stores, Linda Greenlaw, Paul Doiron, Richard Russo, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Kristen Britain, Lea Wait, and many others have taken part in events. We keep a busy events schedule at all five stores, especially during the summer when there are often multiple events a week."

DNA Photography: Does Sherman's Books offer anything unique to its audience?
Mr. Christie: "Since opening in 1886, the Sherman's stores have always offered a mix of book and non-book products, based on the wants and needs of customers. This remains true in Portland, where there are lots of local and hand-made prints, toys, and other gift items.

Sherman's has a 'Frequent Buyer' customer loyalty program, and orders books five days a week - which means that if a book is in print we can often get it to customers faster than Amazon. We also host author and authorless events."
DNA Photography: How long have you been on Exchange Street and how have you been greeted by the surrounding stores and general public?

Mr. Christie: "We opened on Exchange Street on April 1, 2014. We’ve been greeted warmly by both our neighbors and our customers. I think that many locals both miss and fondly remember Books Etc, which was located on Exchange Street and closed a few years ago. It’s been an encouraging sign that Portland as a whole, and the Old Port in particular, can support another independent bookstore."

DNA Photography: Are there any upcoming projects or events that you would like to share.

Mr. Christie: "We’re still building our events schedule for the next few months in Portland, but we are already have some events on the calendar for May, including a book signing with Maine author Jeff Foltz (May 24, 11:30 – 3:00), a presentation from wine expert and author of Wine Maniacs Layne Witherell (May 30, 6:00 PM), and the book launch of Portland Food (May 31, 1:00 to 3:00).

We’re also planning multiple bookstore-based clubs, including a book club that meets at local breweries, and a “correspondence club” focused on letter-writing and stationery. We’ll be announcing more about these and other upcoming projects on our expanding social media presence on Facebook (, Twitter (, and Instagram ( – those accounts are all largely run from the Portland store."

DNA Photography: In addition to working in a bookstore you also have authored a book as well. Tell us about the process of writing your book and on what topic you covered? What type or research was done for your book and what kind of feedback have you received from it?

Mr. Christie: "My first book, Maine Beer, was published by The History Press in May 2014. It’s a history of the brewing industry in Maine, from the earliest European settlement in the region through statewide prohibition, national prohibition, and the boom of the 'craft' brewing movement that began in the state in the mid-80s and continues to today. It also functions as a bit of a guide book, with a chapter devoted to the history, personality, and beers of each brewery in the state.

I was lucky as far as authors go – I was commissioned to write the book by the publisher, so they came to me with a proposal rather than the other way around. I spent a lot of time on the road visiting breweries and talking with brewers and owners in terms of original research, and also spent a great deal of time at historical societies and libraries looking into the earlier history of Maine brewing, as well as newspaper and magazines articles from the early 80s and 90s covering the birth of modern craft brewing.

Feedback has been very positive. The book has received lots of press and many positive reviews, and has sold through two printings. It was also, coincidentally, one of the best-selling books of the year among the (then-)four Sherman’s locations in 2013."

DNA Photography: Are you working on any other authored projects?

Mr. Christie: "This fall, Down East Books is publishing a book collecting the best of my and my father’s “Worth the Trip” columns, outdoor activity features that originally appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram. I’m currently working on a beer book, focused on stouts and porters."

DNA NOTE: When Mr. Christie's book comes out we will be sure to post a link to it here. We always encourage people to visit their local independent bookstore. There is so much to be gained from just a short visit.

Monday, April 28, 2014


This next profile rounds out our first ten members of our 52. It is a special one - one that was not planned yet we could not be happier to have it as part of our project. At the time of the photo I was not aware of who she was, in fact I was drawn to her simply by the neighborly deed she was providing to the residents of her street as I walked up to her. Only after talking with her and shooting the photo did I realize that it is people like her and her good-natured offerings that inspired DNA Photography to start this project in the first place. With that said we would like to introduce you to Anne (Kendell) White of Auburn, Maine.


I met Mrs. White while she was walking on the Auburn street she resides on. She had a few garbage bags filled with loose trash flung over her nearly 60-year-old shoulders. When I approached her to ask what she was doing she paused only for a moment and said "It's Earth Day" in a chipper response before continuing on with her task.

It was brisk on that Earth Day morning which explains why her cheeks are rosy in the photo. She moved swiftly along the side of the street. On some occasions even venturing deep on to people's properties to retrieve bottles and fast food bags that were most likely discarded from vehicles that had driven by.

Mrs. White has done this for the last few Earth Days and she often grabs a few loose pieces of trash during her regular walks with her mother. She said doing this simple task makes her feel good and she enjoys seeing the improved aesthetics of the neighborhood. On Earth Day she typically cleans for two-hour durations and when needed, recruits her husband to help with more challenging trash removals.

Born and raised in Maine, Mrs. White has become a wife, mother and grandmother. She has always enjoyed outdoor activities including horseback riding, skiing and bicycling.

White's passion for bicycling allows her the chance to give back to the community in another way as well. She is an active participant in the Dempsey Challenge. "My involvement in the Dempsey Challenge is one that is dear to my heart," she said. "Both my husband and one of my daughters are cancer survivors." She bikes for her family and for the many loved ones she has lost due to cancer.

"I have done the 25 mile bike (challenge) three times and volunteered in 2012," she said. "Last year I was unable to participate due to a back ailment and family responsibilities."

White is a retired nurse. She served our community for 40 years.

DNA NOTES - We just want to reiterate our opening. People like Mrs. White are exactly the reason we started this project in the first place. Along our project's journey we have encountered a few amazing celebrities and public figures that give back to the community - and our state is stronger for it. However, what really motivated us to launch this project was to find people who do amazing and sometimes even simple acts of service that really makes our world and environment a more livable place. We currently live in a land of convenience - an era of instant gratifications. Yet we sometimes forget that we have an obligation that can at times be bigger than our selves and our families. Imagine what our community would be like if we all lived by a stronger code of self value and appreciation. If we lived not just for right now but for the future as well. We want to thank all the unsung heroes out there that do our community a service and do it without recognition.

It is sad to think we live in a world where people easily litter and dispose of their unwanted items without care or consideration of the environmental consequence. On the flipside we also live in an amazing world where people like Mrs. White care enough to pick up the slack of others!

Monday, April 14, 2014


There is something nostalgic about ice cream. It personally brings me back to when I was a child and we would make a slight detour on our way back from Reid State Park. We would pull over to this farm that served ice cream and homemade treats. It was always the highlight of the trip. As I grew older my love for ice cream did too. When I was old enough my parents would throw me a few dollars to chase down the ice cream truck. Some push pop or ice cream sandwich for me. Always a snow cone for my mother. I never understood what she saw in those things...what is so special about just flavored ice. Why go for the snow cone when there were so many other option to choose from?

Now some 25 years later I'm still chasing down ice cream. I have tried Beal's, the Dairy Joys, Gifford's and even that famous Vermont ice cream that helped me get through those long night of college cramming. But nowadays its a little place in Auburn called Sundae's Ice Cream Shoppe that I find myself returning to weekly for my ice cream fix. When you walk into Sundae's on Center Street you are putting yourself in the near presence of some of the best ice cream in the state. But what it offers that is even richer than the ice cream, is the unmatchable service the crew there delivers time and time again. Always with a smile, always with a glowing hello. At the helm of this establishment is Alison Bennett. The more we learn about her...the more amazing she becomes. Bellow is our interview.

DNA: Why and when did you decide to get into the ice cream business?

Mrs. Bennett: "Stan and I had talked for a long time about opening an ice cream business. He grew up on Round Top ice cream and knew that he would want to sell it. Our idea started as a
small walk-up shop and quickly morphed into the shop it is today!"


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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Ever walk by a mirror at night and swear that you've seen something a little extra in your reflection? How about one of those late night walk to the fridge for a drink and as you brought that glass to your lips a tingling sensation shot up the back of your neck and instantly you felt as though you were no longer standing alone. Then there are always the odd movements and shadows you catch out of the corner of your eye. Some experts believe that these occurrences are simply mental manifestations – your imagination getting the best of you. Then there are the believers like the cast of Haunt ME who have accepted that we are not alone and have decided to do something about it. We caught up with Haunt ME’s Ty Gowen and decided a perfect place to learn of his service and conduct our photo shoot would be in Portland’s Evergreen Cemetery.

Growing up Gowen had a few paranormal experiences which confused him a great deal. “I didn’t have the tools to cope or explain what had happened,” he shared. “No one I knew talked about the paranormal back then – it was a huge taboo.” Unable to share his events Gowen felt guilty for retelling his unique moments. “This wasn’t anyone’s fault,” he said. “Ghosts just weren’t something anyone ever talked about.”

This started to change as television shows like Ghost Hunters grew in popularity. “Shows like that showed me that other people had unexplained stories as well,” he said. “I devoured these shows for information and pairing this with my lifelong drive to explore the unknown - I grabbed my flashlight and headed out into the dark.

While on his journey to flush out the answers he so desired, Gowen met up Ashley Brooks who had also experiencing paranormal encounters. They teamed up with a group of friends and formed Haunt ME. The group was drawn together with a common desire to record their adventures of haunting activity and share it with the world. They wanted to do it right so they brought on friend and NYU graduate Nick Nordfors to handle their video editing needs.

After the team was assembled they turned to to help air their program. Since then the team has not looked back and have just aired their second season. During their first two season they visited 12 locations in Maine.

Reading the above one may ask – how does one determine if a place is haunted and in what ways does this crew determine if paranormal activity is or has happened at a certain location? Gowen took some time and explained a few of the tools his team uses to track energy in the areas they investigate. The team uses their findings from the investigation, mixed with the accounts of third-party encounters, and then determine whether the energy of an area seems to be a residual or intelligent behavior. From there they rank the venue on a scale of 1-10.

When asked what he does on the team he said that he is an “audio evidence analyst.” His specialty is reviewing the audio captured during haunts he records all night. He then tries to isolate any possible EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon) that he might have captured. “However, nothing about ghost hunting is an exact science, and no matter how confident you are, every once and awhile you can get sidelined,” he said. “This happened to all of us in Season 1, Episode 6 (Two of Swords). We had no warning of what was waiting for us there, and we got rocked.”

DNA Photography looked into how many ghost services are actually offered in the state and we  were unable to find many listed. which would lead one to believe that such a rare service could get bogged down with requests to inspect supposedly haunted locations. “We get contacted by people with haunted locations that they want featured more so now than when we first started. A lot of our favorite cases are the ones we hadn’t heard of, or are less notable in the press,” Gowen said. “We screen our locations based on filming requirements, history and claims before we investigate. We want to make sure our viewers enjoy watching us investigate as much as we do performing them.”  

For their second season the crew invested more into their filming gear so to help produce a more professional show. “There are stationary infrared cameras that record all night, we also have the crew follow us around with handheld infrared cameras,” Gowen said. “Each investigator is now individually mic’d so we can capture every gasp and scream too.”

A pair of Gowen’s most memorable investigations were when his crew received permission to “delve into the Biddeford Textile Mills and traveling north to Fort Knox,” he said. “Both places are venues that I never dreamt of having after-hour access too.” Gowen truly enjoys the rich histories of some of the locations they have visited and is often found awestruck standing on the grounds where so many have passed before him.  

Being familiar with reality shows DNA asked Gowen how much embellishment is performed by the crew as a means to "play up" to the camera. Gowen insists that no such thing occurs with his team. “What you see is what you get,” he said. “We need to have a real trusting relationship with our viewers. We’re asking a lot of them to believe us and what we encounter so embellishing at all or faking evidence would absolutely break that bond.”

Gowen’s duty is to capture experiences and deliver some kind of tangible evidence for those who are curious about such things. “The reasons spirits try to contact us varies widely from reassurance to guidance and even sometimes for malice,” he said.

Before we close this profile DNA Photography wants to help explain the difference between a residual and intelligent spirit.

A residual haunt is when there is left over energy in a place that moves and acts as though it is going through a repetitive motion. “It’s like if you listen to a song on a record too long and you wear a grove in the vinyl,” Gowen explained. “An entity has engrained itself in the fabric of reality playing out the action over and over again. You can’t interact with these hauntings as they are just left over energy.” Gowen’s best example of this kind of haunt is when a bone-chilling scream continues to reoccurs at 3am in horror movies.

The second type of haunt is an intelligent haunt. These are Gowen’s favorite for it gives him the chance to actually interact with a spirit in some way or another. “We are lucky enough to have been able to do this a few times (on the show).”

For more information on Haunt ME’s internet broadcast visit If you have questions about the paranormal and/or want the team to consider a location to investigate, you can email They will see if a visit is possible during the filming of their upcoming third season. The crew doesn’t get paid for its services but welcomes donations to help pay for needed upgrades to their technology.