Hair today, gone tomorrow: Strimling's shearing raises $3K for Portland hospital

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PORTLAND — Two mayors walk into an elementary school and both come out bald.

The scene was more than a punchline on the afternoon of Feb. 16, when Mayor Ethan Strimling and his colleague Mayor Lance Prator of the borough of Portland, Pennsylvania, had their heads shaved at Presumpscot Elementary School to satisfy a Super Bowl bet.

The Feb. 4  game was won 41-33 by the Philadelphia Eagles over the New England Patriots, so Strimling was paying up.

Prator was being a good sport. Although he was shorn of his close-cropped hair and beard, he also took home lobsters and beer.

The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center earned the most from the wager, since folks who helped shave Strimling’s head donated about $3,000. 

Real estate broker David Jones helped raise about $2,000, Strimling said, so he was the first with the electric razor as Strimling sat in the center of the gym in front of students and teachers.

Prator followed, and in turn was joined by Stephen Betters, who raises money for the hospital through his Lemonade for Kids nonprofit. Betters once lost a bet on a Patriots AFC Championship Game, and still wears his flowing beard dyed pink.

Others who sheared trimling were radio host Ray Richardson, School Superintendent Xavier Botana and Presumpscot Principal Cynthia Loring. The mayor credited Richardson for an on-air suggestion that turned the lost wager into a fundraiser.

“Does everyone think this is short enough, or do you want to see skin?” Prator asked before local barber Cordell Jones put the finishing touches on Strimling’s scalp.

For Prator, it was also a chance to visit the school where students reached out to him several years ago while studying other places named Portland.

“I was very impressed when I got the letters,” he said.

Portland, Pennsylvania, has a population of about 500 on the west bank of the Delaware River, about 95 miles from Philadelphia.

While Botana said in a press release he hoped the students learned gambling does not pay, it was also noted neither Strimling or Prator root for the teams they bet on.

Both are fans of the New York Giants, a team that won three games in 2017. 

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland, Pennsylvania, Mayor Lance Prator helps Portland, Maine, Mayor Ethan Strimling pay off a Super Bowl bet on Feb. 16 at Presumpscot Elementary School. Strimling’s lost locks raised $3,000 for charity.

Portland Superintendent of Schools Xavier Botana shows Mayor Ethan Strimling gambling does not pay as he shaves Strimling’s head Feb. 16 at Presumpscot Elementary School. Strimling’s lost Super Bowl wager raised $3,000 for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

Portland, Pennsylvania, Mayor Lance Prator won lobsters and beer in his Super Bowl bet with Portland, Maine, Mayor Ethan Strimling. Then he allowed Strimling to shave his head at Presumpscot Elementary School on Feb. 16.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.