Monthly Archives: June 2013

Interested in Sharing Westport Island?

CIEE is seeking host homes for foreign exchange students

Henrik, an 18-year old boy from Sweden; Youngju, a 15-year old girl from South Korea; Warithorn, a 16-year old boy from Thailand; and Blanca, a 16-year old girl from Spain are seeking host families for the coming school year. Virginia Doss, Regional Coordinator for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), would like to hear from you if you might like to host a foreign exchange student for 10-months beginning in August.

ciee logoCIEE is a Maine based non-profit that partners with the State Department to find host homes for and supervise foreign exchange students. For over 65 years, they have been helping to create pathways of understanding and appreciation between people and cultures. This year, they are hoping to place 25 students in Maine. Westport Island is an ideal home for students who may come from dense population centers or may have an image of the United States as all pop culture, careless consumption and fast living.

Hosting a foreign exchange student is a two-way adventure. Host families showcase life in Maine while they learn about the life and culture of their student guest and part-time family member. CIEE makes an effort to pair students and host families based on hobbies, interests and family lifestyles. All families are welcomed: with kids, no kids, empty nesters, single parents and retirees. The main requirement is kindness and a willingness to learn about a foreign culture.

Students have their own insurance and spending money. Host families provide food, shelter and a family life. The only financial incentive is a $50 per month “host family” tax deduction.

Islanders remember hearing the adventures of Brenda and Paul Bonyun and their Japanese exchange student, Hitomi. Hitomi became a part of their family — so much so that she returned to the Island from Japan to attend the wedding of son Caleb and Samantha Hodgdon. Brenda and Paul would likely have some insights to share with anyone who might like to host a student. For more details on the CIEE program, call or email Virginia Doss at (207) 553-7812,

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Cartoonist Jeff Pert Brings Lobster Humor to Westport Island

Maine life through the eyes of crustaceans…

Over 20 people came for — and got — a few laughs tonight courtesy of Cartoonist Jeff Pert and the Westport Community Association.

Pert peppered his tale of becoming a Maine cartoonist with a collection of his quirky moose and lobster cartoons.

Spurning life in the city and dreams of becoming a film maker post college, Pert left LA (Los Angeles, not Lewiston/Auburn) and Boston behind and returned to Maine. He worked for L.L. Bean for 13 years and started doing political cartoons for the Brunswick Times Record. Against the backdrop of Maine, L.L. Bean and fond memories of hauling lobster traps with his grandfather in Phippsburg, Pert’s imagination and cartooning talent turned to Maine wildlife and crustaceans — most notably moose and lobsters.

Drawing on cartoon inspiration from the likes of Peanuts‘ Charles Schultz, On the Far Side’s Gary Larsen and Dennis the Menace’s Hank Ketcham, it’s probably natural that Pert might start thinking about what lobsters say when facing a pot of boiling water. Those thoughts and the “Hey Bob how’s the water?” cartoon started him on his rise to cartooning fame. In his words, moose and lobsters, two of nature’s oddest creatures, do half the chuckle work for him. He just puts them in everyday human situations.

Pert cannot yet make his living exclusively with his images — but his brother does. His brother creates merchandise with Pert’s cartoon images and has made them a fixture in gift stores throughout Maine and elsewhere. Down East Books has published Pert’s first book of cartoons: Cartoons from Maine: How’s the Water, Bob? Other projects on the drawing board include another book, a “surf and turf” cartoon strip and cartooning dysfunctional dogs.

Life is good when your job is fun and it brings some fun into the life of others. …Now if he could just figure out how to get our best Island “laugh-er”, Pat Smith, to listen and laugh at all his talks, life would be that much more fun…

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