Rand Paul’s Freeport stump speech through the eyes of a 7-year-old

Good morning from Augusta. One day soon, the focus will shift back to Maine’s capital. Yesterday, many eyes were on Freeport and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul. 

I went down to see the speech, almost all of which I’ve heard from Rand before, but that’s how stump speeches go. They’re delivered from atop lots of stumps. This one was given from atop an upside down red milk crate. I’m going to keep my audio recording so that in the event Paul earns the nomination, I’ll have my milk crate speech as a souvenir.

Anyway, the most interesting experience for me was meeting 7-year-old Kai Fitzrandolph, a Freeport resident who was at the event with his mother, Kelly Fitzrandolph. Forgive me (and thank you!) if you’ve already read about Kai in my report of the Paul appearance

As a father, I always take special notice when I see children at grownup events like a political rally because like Kelly Fitzrandolph, I also like to expose my sons to new experiences. The best part about it are the questions they ask before and after. 

Anyway, Kelly said that if Rand Paul becomes president, she and her son would never forget the time he was in Freeport, on a milk crate. 

“Or it will be boring and we’ll go home,” said Kai. 

Always in a hurry to file my stories, I stepped out a back door the moment Paul finished his speech. In front of the venue, I found Kai and his mother, returning from buying an ice cream on Main Street. 

“We didn’t make it,” said Kelly. 

Kai didn’t say much because his mouth was occupied. It looked like maybe strawberry, with rainbow sprinkles. 

There isn’t a politician in the world who can compete with rainbow sprinkles. 

Federal cash flowing toward Maine

These things often slip below the radar, but here’s a listing of grants that are being disbursed by the Northern Border Regional Commission. The NBRC was created by the U.S. Congress in 2008 to funnel money toward economically distressed northern areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. It has so far awarded 75 grants totaling $14.2 million.

Here are the latest in Maine, according to Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King:

  • $250,000 for the town of Jay to upgrade a road and encourage private investment in a quarrying operation and granite curbing plant;
  • $250,000 for the Old Town-Orono Fiber Corp. to help create a high-speed fiber optic network for use by numerous internet service providers. The effort is designed to provide high-speed connections for local research and design projects;
  • $250,000 for the Lincolnville Sewer District to upgrade the district’s shoreline wastewater system and protect tourism and shellfish harvesting interests;
  • $247,000 for the town of Kingfield, to upgrade wastewater pump stations to make way for expanding businesses;
  • $250,000 for the city of Presque Isle to improve a city-owned building that manufacturer Acme Monaco intends to use to expand a product line. The project will maintain 72 jobs and create 23 new ones.
  • $109,000 for the town of Greenville to upgrade a town-owned building’s heating and electrical systems for use by GlacierWear, a fur products manufacturer that hopes to use the savings to create 10 new jobs.

Poliquin holding info sessions for fire department grants

‘Tis apparently the season for federal cash. U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of the 2nd Congressional District wants Maine to capitalize on a new round of grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Like the grants listed above, these projects are less than sexy to most, though they can be lifesavers — literally — for cash-strapped towns and cities (that’s just about all of them, is it not?) that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford upgrades to training and equipment. Poliquin is hosting a series of workshops designed to help municipalities and departments access FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant programs. They are as follows:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 8, Addison Fire Department, 35 Fire House Lane in Addison, beginning at 7 p.m.;
  • Thursday, Sept. 10, Eastern Maine Community College, Rangeley Hall, 354 Hogan Road in Bangor, beginning at 9 a.m.;
  • Thursday, Sept. 24, Presque Isle Fire Department, 43 North Street in Presque Isle, beginning at 6 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 29, Rumford Fire Department, 151 Congress Street in Rumford, beginning at 6 p.m.

Reading list

Inventing new texting acronyms

One of the cool things about being a journalist is that occasionally, we can use our mass communication platform to invent new words or phrases, though I’ve never personally done it.

A couple of BDN colleagues and I got talking yesterday about useful new texting acronyms (y’know, like ICYMI=In case you missed it”). Photographer Troy R. Bennett first came up with FSP, Fishell Sensory Perception, in reference to our business editor, Darren Fishell, who always seems to be ahead of the pack.

“Oh, I thought that meant, like, ‘Fer Sure, Pardner,'” replied Fishell, in a rare moment of confusion.

Fishell said he wants to bridge generations by creating “old timey” internet abbreviations, like TTCT (Tea Time, Can’t Talk) and TTYF (Talk to you in a fortnight).

He’s a trailblazer, but he needs people like YOU to start integrating them into the lexicon if he’s to make his mark on history. — Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.