Editor's Notebook: Twenty-two words, and 553 writers, to appreciate from 2014

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I don’t usually have time to trade emails or chat with every reader who writes a letter to the editor.

I’ll write or call to confirm letters, but beyond that, unless a letter needs clarification, or if the writer asks a question about our policies for publishing letters, I don’t usually follow up.

But in October I made an exception for one Northern-edition letter that, more than any other this year, piqued my interest and made me chuckle. I ran it under the headline “Don’t be chicken, vote for Breen.” Here it is, in it’s entirety:

“I am supporting Democrat Cathy Breen this November in state Senate District 25 because she helped my chickens come home to roost.”

At only 22 words, Geoff Dyhrberg’s letter clearly wasn’t the most prolific we received in 2014. But, coming as it did during the annual deluge of letters on behalf of candidates or election issues, it was definitely the most intriguing. It made my day, made me chuckle, and made me want to know more.

Here’s what Dyhrberg, who lives in Falmouth, told me after I asked him for the back story:

“Several years ago my family bought a dozen chicks. Little did I realize that the zone that I live in did not allow for poultry. We sent a letter to the Town Council seeking solutions and Cathy took on our ‘case’ as we went through the process of getting the zoning changed. While we were dealing with the bureaucracy, our chicks were being fostered out in Freeport. The story kind of took off, picked up by backyard poultry enthusiasts across the country as well as in Europe. NECN came to interview the kids and I for a story that they showed on their network. There was also a radio documentary put together. Pretty crazy considering we just wanted to have our own eggs.”

Crazy, indeed, and amusing, whether you voted for Breen or not.

Including Dyhrberg, we published hundreds of letters from 553 writers this year – 23 more individuals than last year, and the most since I started keeping track in 2010. That was also when I wrote the first, now-annual column to thank everyone who took the time to write during the year. This year’s writers are listed below, and each one has my thanks for helping to make The Forecaster a newspaper that reflects and respects it readers.

Geoff Dyhrberg is proof that you don’t have to write an epic to get on the list. You just have to write.

John Adelman, Falmouth

Katie Ahlers, North Yarmouth

Gary Aldridge, Brunswick

Pamela Ames, North Yarmouth

Nancy C. Anderson, Cumberland

Russell Anderson, Falmouth

Liz Andrews, Freeport

Jerry Angier, Cape Elizabeth

Dan Ankeles, Brunswick

Cushman D. Anthony, Falmouth

Malibu K. Anthony, West Bath

Jerry Antl, Freeport

Joel Antolini, Yarmouth

Matt Arrants, Falmouth

Ted Asherman, Falmouth

Debbie Atwood, Brunswick

John Auble, Yarmouth

Willie Audet Jr., Falmouth

Tom Auger, Cumberland

Stephen August, Bath

Ross and JoAnne Babcock, Yarmouth

Shawn A. Babine, Scarborough

Don Bail, Freeport

Susan Baker-Kaplan, Cumberland

Jonathan Baldwin, Cape Elizabeth

Sandy Banas, Brunswick

Ron Bancroft, Cumberland

Dr. Stephen J. Barr, North Yarmouth

Josh Barrett, Falmouth

Debbie A. Barry, Lisbon Falls

Prudence Barry, South Portland

Lois Barter, Falmouth

Joe Barton, Yarmouth

Nathan Bateman, Portland

Brian Beal, Machias

Michael Beaudoin, Cape Elizabeth

Dr. Mary Harkins Becker, Yarmouth

Louisa & Stephen V. Beckett, South Portland

Maxine Beecher, South Portland

Angela M. Bell, Portland

Arthur Bell, Yarmouth

Jonathan Berry, Falmouth

David W. Bertoni, Yarmouth

Bill Beyer, Falmouth

Kerri Prescott Bickford, Topsham

Brian Bicknell, Yarmouth

Constance C. Bingham, Cumberland

Peter K. Bingham, Cumberland

Rhonda Birkbeck, Yarmouth

Allison Bishop, Falmouth

Roger Bishop, Cape Elizabeth

Dorothy Blanchette, Falmouth

Peter Boehmer, Falmouth

Emily Boochever, Brunswick

Jim Braley, South Portland

Glen Brand, Falmouth

John Brautigam, Falmouth

Linda S. Bridges, Portland

Aviva Briefel, Brunswick

Robin Brooks & Jon Riggleman, Topsham

Kevin Browne, Falmouth

India Broyles, Falmouth

Eliza Bryant, Chicago, Illinois

Jill Bryant, Falmouth

Tim & Lisa Bryant, Falmouth

Steve Bunker, Gray

Catherine Buotte, Bath

Carol Burgess, North Yarmouth

Roger Burleigh, Westport Island

Beth Burnham, South Portland

Erin Cadigan, Falmouth

Phil Caldwell, Yarmouth

Barbara Callahan, South Portland

Judy Campbell, Scarborough

Frank Carner, Falmouth

Alan Caron, Freeport

Lalla Carothers, Cumberland

Steve Cartwright, Waldoboro

Jim Case, Yarmouth

Robert Cecil, Topsham

Catherine Chapman, South Portland

Dollie Chase, Falmouth

Fred Chase, Falmouth

Phyllis Chinlund, Cumberland Foreside

Sarah Clark & Toby Dilworth, Yarmouth

Susan Clifford, Cumberland

Eva Clews, Portland

Karen Coker, Cape Elizabeth

Deirdre Conroy-Vella, Falmouth

Susan Cook, Bath

Paul Cooleen, Falmouth

Lucy Cooney, Brunswick

Janice Cooper, Yarmouth

Joe Cooper, Falmouth

Margaret Leitch Copeland, Bath

Jim Costello, Yarmouth

Mike & Kathy Coster, Falmouth

Dave Coughlan, Yarmouth

Joseph R. Couillard, Cumberland

Steffi Cox, Scarborough

Triss Critchfield, South Portland

Bryon Crowder, Falmouth

Jonathan Culley, Falmouth

C.M. Cunningham Jr., Yarmouth

Stu & Vickie Curran, Cumberland

Susan B. Curtis, Cumberland Foreside

Kevin Dagnese, Portland

Donna Damon, Chebeague Island

Karen A. D’Andrea, Scarborough

Paul C. Darling, Portland

Gia Davis, Falmouth

Marian Day, Cumberland

Thaddeus Day, North Yarmouth

Marnie Dean, Cumberland

Deborah Deatrick, South Freeport

Deborah Delp, Yarmouth

Bryan Dench, Falmouth

Susan Dench, Falmouth

Dale Denno, Cumberland

Maura DeNoia, Falmouth

Joseph de Rivera, Brunswick

Mary D. DeRose, South Portland

Marjorie DeSanctis, Scarborough

Marge Merrill Devine, Falmouth

Tom DiPasqua, Scarborough

Nancy Dix, Cumberland

Stephen Dobbins, Brunswick

Heather Dodge, Freeport

Virginia Domhoff, Brunswick

Leigh Donaldson, Portland

Colleen Donovan, Falmouth

Barbara Doughty, Portland

John Dow, Windham

Adrian Dowling, South Portland

Gordon Draper, Bowdoin

Linda Draper, Cumberland

Zach Drake, Falmouth

Paul Draper, Cumberland

William Duffy, South Portland

Russell DuPree, Freeport

Loretta Dyer, Yarmouth

Geoff Dyhrberg, Falmouth

Stephanie Eckersley-Ray, Yarmouth

Robert Edwards, Bath

John Egan, Freeport

Kristina Egan, Freeport

Carol Eisenberg, Peak’s Island

Pete Ellis, Portland

Robert Emple, Falmouth

Kenneth Eng, South Portland

Walter J. Eno, Scarborough

Joleen Estabrook, Yarmouth

Allen Evans, Falmouth

Wendy Everham, Bath

Karen Farber, Falmouth

Thomas Farr, Falmouth

Steven & Laura Farraher, Falmouth

Margaret Fast, Cumberland Foreside

Mike Feldman, Brunswick

Alice C. Fellows, Durham

Cory & Katie Fellows, Scarborough

Susan F. Feiner, Yarmouth

Mary-Jane Ferrier, South Portland

Gro Flatebo, Yarmouth

George & Merlyn Fogg, North Yarmouth

Tom Foley, Cumberland Foreside

Suzanne Foley-Ferguson, Scarborough

Curtis Fordyce, South Portland

Rick Foss-Lacey, South Portland

Beth Franklin, Cumberland

Pete Franzen, Portland

Ken Fredette, Newport

A. Myrick Freeman III, Georgetown

James M. Friedlander, Brunswick

Martha Frost, Falmouth

Richard Frost, Falmouth

Joanne Fryer, Cumberland

Patricia Ferrara Fuchs, Harpswell

Anne Fuehrer, Freeport

David Gagnon, Falmouth

Jane Gallagher, Yarmouth

Bill Gardiner, Yarmouth

Jennifer Gardiner, Yarmouth

Peter Gellerson, Gray

Craig Giddens, Freeport

Sara Gideon, Freeport

Lynn Gierie, Scarborough

Brad Gilbert, Falmouth

Jane Gildart, Yarmouth

Debbie Gillies, South Portland

Susan Gilpin, Falmouth

Laura Girr, Freeport

Stan Given, Falmouth

Ellen Glatter, Cumberland

Tim Glidden, Topsham

Dr. Scott Glocke, Yarmouth

Peter Goffin, Falmouth

David Goldberg, Falmouth

David Gooch, Falmouth

Crystal Goodrich, South Portland

Mark Googins, Cumberland Foreside

Stephen Gorden, Yarmouth

Shawn Gorman, Falmouth

Anne Graham, North Yarmouth

Michael Grant, Brunswick

Marji Greenhut, Brunswick

Jennifer Gregg, Falmouth

Bill Gregory, Yarmouth

Erik & Susan Greven, Falmouth

Holly Groom, Cumberland

Stacey Guerin, Glenburn

Jean & John Gulliver, Falmouth

Scott Hall, Lisbon Falls

Susan Hall, Falmouth

Suzanne Hamilton & Alan Bakutis, North Yarmouth

Valerie Hamilton, Yarmouth

Darla P. Hamlin, North Yarmouth

Gordon Hamlin, Freeport

Bethany Hanley, Cumberland

Steve Hanly, Scarborough

Don Harden, Portland

Margo Harrington, Cumberland

Daniel E. Harris, Brunswick

Bill Harwood, Yarmouth

Robert G. Hasson III, South Portland

Jim Hauptman, Falmouth

Anthony Hayes, Falmouth

Robert Hayes, Portland

Nora Healy, Freeport

Caleb Hemphill, Falmouth

Rick Hendrick, Falmouth

Karen Herold, Cumberland

Dennis Hersom, Westbrook

Caroline Hibbard, Bath

Colleen Higgins, Cumberland

Peyton Higgison, Brunswick

Daniel Hildreth, Falmouth

Tammy Hoidal, Falmouth

Sandra Holbrook, Falmouth

Josephine Holley, South Freeport

David Holman, North Yarmouth

Mary R. Holt, Chebeague Island

Elizabeth Hope, Yarmouth

Sarah Greene Hopkins, North Yarmouth

K. Frederick Horch, Brunswick

Eric Horne, Freeport

Joan and Amory Houghton, Yarmouth

Susan Howe, Falmouth

David E. Hughes, Cumberland Foreside

Abby Huntoon, South Portland

Leslie Hyde, Yarmouth

Tom Hyndman, Cumberland

Sue Inches, North Yarmouth

Melissa Walsh Innes, Yarmouth

Sandy Jaeger, Georgetown

John Jamieson, South Portland

Andy Jones, South Portland

David Jones, Falmouth

Philip Jones, Yarmouth

Sheriff Kevin J. Joyce, Standish

Michele Joyce, Brunswick

Ron Joyce, Yarmouth

Daniel G. Kagan, Freeport

Chris & Stacey Kane, Scarborough

Jackie Katz, Brunswick

Joshua Katz, Brunswick

Carol Iverson Kauffman, Falmouth

Shelby Kavanaugh, Topsham

Anna Kellar, Falmouth

Dot Kelly, Phippsburg

James Kelly, Bailey Island

Bert Kendall, Yarmouth

Bill Kennedy, Scarborough

Veronica E. Kenney, Falmouth

Andrew & Janet King, Yarmouth

Claudia King, Falmouth

Linda Kinkead, Cumberland

Andrew Kinley, Falmouth

Connie Kinsman, Fryeburg

Ned Kitchel, Falmouth

Karen Klatt, Brunswick

Elizabeth Klebe, Falmouth

Hannah Klepinger, Yarmouth

Dr. James M. Klick, Freeport

Heather Knuppel, Yarmouth

Steven Konkoly, Scarborough

Amy Kuhn, Falmouth

Joe Kumiszcza, Cumberland

Mark E. Kuntz, Cumberland

Phillip Kupelian, Falmouth

Tony Lacertosa, Scarborough

Steve & Polly Larned, Scarborough

Analiese Larson, Falmouth

Margaret Lawrence, Yarmouth

Diana Lee, Cumberland

Dr. Lawrence M. Leonard, Falmouth

Garett Lefebvre, Freeport

David Libby, Falmouth

Elizabeth Bennett Libby, Casco

Karen Libby, Cumberland Center

Robert Libby, Chebeague Island

Jennifer Libsack, Freeport

Kris Lindsey, Cumberland

Anita Liou & Andrew Innes, Falmouth

J. Scott Logan, Yarmouth

Sally Loughlin, Cumberland

Lois Lowry, Falmouth

Susan Lubner, Bath

Evan Lucca, Yarmouth

Connie Lundquist, Brunswick

Larry Lunt, Falmouth

Robert L. Lyman, Freeport

Wells Lyons, Portland

Ted MacDonald, Gray

Loretta MacKinnon, Yarmouth

Andrew McLean, Gorham

Anne MacLeod, Yarmouth

Jim MacLeod, Yarmouth

Karen Macmaster, Falmouth

Wilson MacMillan, Bath

Mandana MacPherson, Freeport

Kenneth MacWilliams, Portland

Councilor Sean & Jennifer Mahoney, Falmouth

Robert Maloney, Cumberland

Teri Maloney-Kelly, Cumberland

Cathy Manchester, Gray

Gerald O. Maranda, Harpswell

Lisa Markushewski, Falmouth

Dave Marshall, Portland

Kimberly Martins, Scarborough

Peter Mason, Brunswick

Charly Haversat Matheson, Freeport

Jess Maurer, Harpswell

Bill Maxwell, Cape Elizabeth

Sally Maynard, Cumberland Foreside

Connie Mazelsky, Falmouth

Charlie McBrady, Falmouth

Rep. Jeff McCabe, Skowhegan

Dave McConnell & Janine Lambert, Falmouth

Mike McCormack, Yarmouth

Joyce McCreight, Harpswell

Marc McCutcheon, South Portland

John McDonald, Cumberland

Richard McDonald, Kennebunk

Daniel McIntyre, Portland

Robert McManus, Scarborough

Kathleen Meade, Freeport

Steve Melchiskey, Falmouth

Charles Mellon, Freeport

David Melville, Cumberland

Andy Meyer, Falmouth

Anita Michaud, Topsham

Jack Michaud, Falmouth

Joe Migliaccio, Freeport

Kristen Miles, Yarmouth

Rebecca Millett, Cape Elizabeth

Jack Montgomery, Freeport

Robert Montgomery, Falmouth

Mason Morfit, South Freeport

M. Jane Moriarty, Cumberland

Steve Moriarty, Cumberland

George & Elizabeth Morse, Cape Elizabeth

Katie Murphy, North Yarmouth

David R. Murray, Falmouth

Kim Murray, Freeport

Peter Murray, Freeport

Kevin Nadeau, Durham

Roger Nadeau, Yarmouth

Chris Neagle, Cumberland

Nancy Nellis, Bath

Mary P. Nelson, Falmouth

Matt Newberg, Bath

Peg Newberg, Harpswell

David Nitchman, Scarborough

Don Northrop, Yarmouth

Patrick Norton, Freeport

Jill Noyes, Falmouth

Anne & Dennis O’Donovan, Cumberland Center

Tim O’Donovan, Falmouth

Nancy O’Hagan, Portland

Frank Oliva, Yarmouth

Kim Olsen, Phippsburg

David Orbeton, South Portland

Patrick O’Reilly, Scarborough

Chris Orestis, Falmouth

Ike Ostrove, Falmouth

Larney Otis, Falmouth

Josh Ottow, Cumberland

Chris Parker, Freeport

Tess Parrish, Falmouth

Dean Paterson, Freeport

David Patterson, Scarborough

Janice Paul, Scarborough

Greg Payeur, Falmouth

Meg Payeur, Falmouth

Tony Payne, Falmouth

Ben Pearson, Durham

Sara & Mike Perfetti, Cumberland

Scott M. Perry, Turner

Betsy Peters, Freeport

James A. Pierce, Portland

Sam Pierce, Falmouth

Terri Pike, Scarborough

Dolores Pillsbury, Durham

David D. Platt, Falmouth

Benet Pols, Brunswick

Jane Pomeroy, Cumberland Foreside

Barry Pontolillo, Meriden, Connecticut

Mark Porada, Falmouth

Mike & Tina Pratico, Falmouth

Mary Rose Pray, Brunswick

Gene Proctor, West Bath

Eydie Pryzant, Falmouth

Randy Purinton, Topsham

Tom Quinby, Cumberland

Patrick Rael, Brunswick

Patricia Ramsay, Yarmouth

Phyllis Reames, Portland

Rachel Reed, Falmouth

Dave Reynolds, Falmouth

Todd Riddle, Yarmouth

John F. Ridge, South Portland

Trish Riley, Brunswick

Emily Rines, Brunswick

Gail Ringel, Portland

Mark D. Rivers, Durham

Bill Rixon, Freeport

Gloria Robbins, South Portland

Edwin Roberts, Freeport

Bonny Rodden, Falmouth

Steve Romanoff, Falmouth

Harvey Rosenfeld, Cape Elizabeth

Bob Rovner, Scarborough

Trevor Roy, Harpswell

Peter Rubins, Cumberland

Sam Rudman, Falmouth

Pam Russell, Cumberland

Sarah Russell, Cumberland

Stephen Russell, Pownal

Melanie Sachs, Freeport

Ann W. Sanborn, Falmouth

Gigi Sanchez & Chris Roach, Cumberland

Barbara Sandelin, Topsham

Tom Sarna, Yarmouth

Mandie Savage, Cumberland

Rep. Jeremy Saxton, Harpswell

Pem Schaeffer, Brunswick

Tracy Scheckel, Gray

Mary Schendel & Phil Gleason, Cumberland

Anne B. Schink, South Portland

Steve Schnapp, Phippsburg

Erika Schneider, South Portland

Anne Thompson Schutz, Falmouth

Tobin Scipione, Portland

Susan Scott, Portland

Barbara Seelen, Falmouth

The Rev. Richard Senghas, Portland

Timothy Shannon, Yarmouth

Polly Shaw, Bath

David Sherman, Cape Elizabeth

Jeff Shorey, North Yarmouth

Herb Short, Buxton

Stephen R. Simons, Portland

Ted Sirois, Saco

Brian Sites, North Yarmouth

Mike Skillin, Falmouth

Linda Skinner, South Portland

William H. Slavick, Portland

Michelle A. Small, Brunswick

Peter A. Small, Yarmouth

Rebecca Hollingshead Small, Harpswell

Allison Smith, Harpswell

Hugh Smith, Falmouth

Judiann Smith, Yarmouth

Pam & Brad Smith, North Yarmouth

Polly Smith, Freeport

Ginny Squires-Eklund, Falmouth

Sue Stableford, Brunswick

Charles Staples, Cumberland

Sharon Stark, Falmouth

Victoria Stefanakos, Freeport

Richard S. Stenberg, South Portland

Bob Stewart, Cumberland

Bruce Stillings, Falmouth

Sarah Heath St.Pierre, Freeport

Peter Strand, Yarmouth

Elizabeth A. Streeter, Portland

Daniel Stromgren, Topsham

Vicki Swerdlow, Falmouth

Malia Taggart, Freeport

Kim Talbot, Topsham

Alex Taylor, South Portland

Creighton Taylor, Falmouth

Jim Temple, Topsham

Mark & Nancy Terison, Falmouth

Stan Tetenman, Poland

Eve M. Thorson, Topsham

S.W. Tibbetts, Brunswick

James Tierney, Lisbon Falls

Michael Timmons, Cumberland

Betsy Tod, Falmouth

Janice L. Tooker, Falmouth

Dr. Jonathan Torres, Yarmouth

The Rev. Kathleen Towns, South Portland

Joe Trevino, South Portland

Anna Trevorrow, Portland

Lucy Tucker, Falmouth

Nancy & Ralph Tucker, Brunswick

Mike Turek, Scarborough

George S. Turner, Cumberland

Terry Turner, Cumberland

Mark Usinger, Portland

Faith Varney, Falmouth

Gail Vowles, Cumberland Foreside

Amanda Walden, Bath

Jill Ward, South Portland

Nat Warren-White, South Freeport

Chris Watkinson, Brunswick

Will Watman, Portland

Byron Watson, Brunswick

Suzanne Watson, Freeport

Patty Weber, Falmouth

Jeff Weinstein, Yarmouth

N. Kate Werner, Freeport

Laura Whatley, Topsham

Mary Wheeler, Scarborough

Penny Wheeler-Abbott, Falmouth

Lucinda E. White, Freeport

Mike White, Portland

Celia Whitehead, Bath

Cecily Whiting, Falmouth

Dale E. Whitmore, Freeport

John Wibby, South Portland

Susan DeWitt Wilder, Scarborough

Bruce Wildes, Cumberland

Laura Williams, Falmouth

Peter Williams, Falmouth

David & Cindy Wilson, Portland

David & Stephanie Wilson, Yarmouth

Emma Wilson & Thomas Hattan, Yarmouth

Kathy Wilson, Brunswick

Lisa Wilson, Yarmouth

Drew Wing, Freeport

Lois Winter, Portland

Amy Winton, Falmouth

Gail & David Witherill, Cumberland

Mark Woodbury, Falmouth

Brian & Kathy Woodman, Falmouth

Rob Wood, North Yarmouth

Steve Woods, Yarmouth

Mark Zacharias, Falmouth

Heather Zachau, Freeport

Carol Zechman, South Portland

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Mo Mehlsak is editor of The Forecaster. He can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 107 or mmehlsak@theforecaster.net. You can also follow Mo on Twitter: @mmehlsak.

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Editor of The Forecaster; prior reporting/editing gigs at Automotive Age magazine, Daily News of Los Angeles, Biddeford Journal Tribune; Syracuse U. Orange-bleeder; lifelong NY Yankees fan, longtime resident of Red Sox Nation.