Monday, March 31, 2008

Last but NOT LEAST: The Warrant Committee

You have no idea what an honor it is to have the support of the Warrant Committee. I don't care if they can't spell a single word--the fact is they've committed to the Bee because they believe in our grass-roots efforts to raise money for the Library (outside of municipal appropriations, which they control). I am fond of calling my own Board of Trustees the BBIT (acronym created by Holly Collins, of the Best Board in Town), but the Warrant Committee could easily be called HWBIT (somewhat less pronounceable: the Hardest Working Board in Town). These people meet ALL THE TIME and at crazy hours--early morning, after dinner--anything to make sure they have a quorum to address the financial needs of the town. You ought to read their minutes. And if you know any of them, you ought to thank them for their service to your town. And you REALLY ought to go to Town Meeting, where you will see all their hard work on display: they go, member by member, item by item, through every single warrant on the Town Meeting docket. It is an amazing process. (GO: it's 7 p.m. at the High School on May 5th--always the first Monday in May. Dover's governing body is Town Meeting, and that means you. If you don't vote, you cannot complain.)
As if they did not already have enough to do a month before Town Meeting, the Warrant Committee signed up for the Bee--just the other day. This evening I delivered a hard copy of the word list to Chair Robyn Hunter, who will spell along with Nate Van Duzer and former WC member (and Current Selectman--how's that for going from the frying pan into the fire?) David Heinlein. All I can say is, you had better applaud when they get up for their round. They deserve a standing ovation, for so much more than the Bee.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pollinating the Bee Tree

The Bee Tree is a new venture for us, and we are excited to report that we have nearly 50 donors' gifts to sell. For prices ranging from $10 on up, buyers will select a word and receive a gift certificate for a donated item whose word is somehow linked to its identity. (Here's an example: purchasing the word "starched" might land you a gift certificate to a local dry-cleaner's.) The Greater Dover community has been extremely generous to the Bee Tree, and we have a huge variety of fabulous gifts and gift cards. We hope that you will shop for words (don't worry--the Tree words are much easier than the ones used in the Bee!) and show your appreciation to the many "pollinators" whose business support makes our Bee a success.

Team Spotlight: Bee-con Hill

The Dover Town Library is delighted to announce that our own Senator James Timilty will spell at the Bee. Word is that Senator Timilty enjoyed spelling bees as a youngster, and it is logical to imagine that one who is so adept at remembering names and faces would also be a good speller. Senator Timilty will be joined by Mary Jo Keaney and homegrown talent Nan Leonard. We are honored to have their support, and wish them an enjoyable evening at the Bee.

Team Spotlight: Spellerz from the Hood

How's that for a name? This is a new team from the Oakley Road/Park Avenue neighborhood. Anyone who has walked a dog or a stroller through this charming neighborhood cannot help but envy the beautifully-executed balance of intimacy and privacy...not to mention the quiet, child-friendly roads. One of my all-time favorite yards is part of this neighborhood--every year I look forward to seeing what wonderful new things are blooming there.
We are delighted to welcome Leslie Moore, Kim Chase and Andy Thompson to the Bee, and we wish them luck. Friends and neighbors can leave them good-luck messages here in the blog, by clicking the "comments" link at the end of this entry.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Team Spotlight: Spell Sesquipedalian

...whew, typing that long, long word gave me mogigraphia!
Spell Sesquipedalian--Julia Madden, Anna Gaissert and Jackie Carroll, are coming back to defend their title. Last year these bright young women won the Bee in sudden death overtime, and they confessed that they hadn't really studied at all--they were busy with MCAS and extracurricular activities. We are delighted to welcome them back this year, and wish them all the best.

Team Spotlight: Bee Spellbound

This is a new Chickering team, formed by '07 veteran Nancy Jefferson, Jim Keohane and Vice-Principal Ginny Keniry. Ms. Jefferson once assured me earnestly that intelligence and the ability to spell are not linked...information that has comforted me as I misspell my way through the Bee preparations. We can look forward to great spelling and good fun from this terrific group.

Team Spotlight: Dover Mothers' Association

Here's another team to watch. The Dover Mothers' Association won the first Bee, and did extremely well in 2007. Three-year veteran Marisa Fisch is joined by Kristen Sampson and new speller Gina Doyle. These are the folks who brought us the expression "The Moms are Da Bomb" and you'd better believe it's true. They always put forward an excellent team.
The Dover Mothers' Association is a volunteer and social group for mothers with young children in Dover. They sponsor many local programs and events. Their e-mail address is

Another typo: KLABERJASS is the word, not KLABBERJASS

...and again, I apologize for the typo. The word will be removed from the Bee list. Many thanks to Brent Johnstone for pointing this out, along with accipitral. These are two words I'll never forget how to spell!

removing a word from the word list: ACCIPITAL should be ACCIPITRAL

and I apologize for the typo. The word ACCIPITRAL means hawklike, and I typed it incorrectly in the word list. The word will not be used on the night of the Bee.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Team Spotlight: The TAB

The Bee is open to 9th-graders on up, and we are delighted to welcome back the Library's own Teen Advisory Board team. Lauren Springett, Danielle Hall and Nicole Huang did a beautiful job last year in TAB-designed tee-shirts. The TAB meets periodically at the Library for a wide-ranging set of activities; check our website, for details on their plans.

Team Spotlight: the Spellunkers

They're back again! I heard last year that the Spellunkers were formed when some of the team watched DCTV's rerun of the 06 Bee and thought it looked like fun. They showed up with crazy hats (check the photos--link to the right) and did very, very well. This is a team to watch, folks!

An encore from the Dover Foundation

Each year we have enjoyed the participation of the Dover Foundation, not simply because they are our friends and neighbors, and not merely for their fabulous costumes and proven spelling acumen. We also like their raison d'etre: they generate scholarship money through fantastic community theatre productions. Here is a link to their website: Talent and generosity: what could be better?
Check them out, and try to make time to see their spring show, Carousel, May 8th--10th (right after Town Meeting). And while you're visiting their website, explore their most recent synergy with your favorite Library:


The only bad words in a Bee are the ones the list publisher misspells. I am very sorry to report having done just that, with the word hypsibrachycephalism. The last three letters are "ism" not "sim" as I had written.

This word will NOT be used during the Bee, and I apologize profusely for having mistyped it in the list. As I cull the final list for the Bee Night, I am double-checking the spelling, pronunciation and definition of each word being used. I will not use any words that were published with incorrect spellings.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mulligan Improvement

Based on feedback from seasoned players, we have made an important and beneficial change to the way Bee Mulligans work. In the past, we let you use the Mulligan to OPT OUT of spelling a word. This year, we are letting you use it like a golf Mulligan: if you misspell a word, you can hand in your Mulligan afterwards and stay in the round.

Mulligans cannot be used in the Championship Round. Only one Mulligan per team, and only one use per Mulligan. Mulligans cannot be transferred to other teams.

You can buy a Mulligan at the Library for only $100. Sign up for your Mulligan at the Library, and we'll hand them out on the Bee night (we'll probably put it in the Team Captain's goody bag).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Team Spotlight: the Gentilli Geniuses

OK, I have to confess: I have a soft spot in my heart for this team. Mrs. Gentilli, the team's eponym (potential spelling word!), is my son's first grade teacher. Her motto is: "Every Child a Speller". The lucky parents in this class have rallied around this motto, and have decided to set a good example for the children by forming a team in Mrs. Gentilli's honor. The parents in the class are all chipping in for the entrance fee, and word is that Mrs. Gentilli will make an appearance at the Bee (surrounded, no doubt, by her Student Fan Club). The actual spellers are Sara Muckstadt, Phuong Tang-Tso, and Lisa Sussman. When the collection e-mail was going around, I was struck by how many parents chimed in with "Oh, we LOVE the Library!" and happily offered help with the entry fee. Whether or not they win the Bee remains to be seen, but they certainly deserve a Spirit Award!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Team Spotlight: Carpe Spellum

This new team is an amalgamation (how's THAT for a spelling word?) of two earlier Library teams: Spell's Angels and the Library Queens. Christine DiMartino is a three-year veteran of the Bee, participating on the Precious Bee-ginnings preschool team in '06 (and making it to the championship round), before switching to Spell's Angels in last year's competition. Ellie Herd and Karen McKoy acquitted themselves honorably last year as ball-gowned, tiara-topped Library Queens. A team to watch, for sure!

Team Spotlight: The Capital Bees

We are fortunate to have the support of the Capital Budget Committee in our Library budget process, and we are very grateful to have their additional and personal support in the form of a Bee team. Look for chair Peter Mitchell, Dave Melville and Selectman Carol Lisbon as they put their spelling acumen to work for our spring fundraiser. These people work hard for the town as a whole, and we are lucky to have their time and talent at the Bee.

Team Spotlight: Taylor Estates

This new team, comprised of neighbors Nancy Simms, Tom Dixon and Joe DeSalvo, has two experienced Bee contenders--Nancy Simms spelled for the Warrant Committee in years past, and Tom Dixon is a former speller for the fabulously-named Kinda Convex Ride (an anagram of the last names of Cave, Dixon and Kinder). We are looking forward to seeing how they do this year, in this new configuration, but mostly we thank them for their community-spiritedness and support of the Library!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Team Spotlight: Bee-lieve It to See It

In this Chickering School team, we welcome returning spellers Connie Dawson and Stephen Harte, and new speller Cathy Chiavarini. Students are sure to be inspired by the sight of teachers studying for and competing in a spelling bee!

Team Spotlight: Coldwell Banker

Local real estate firms are steady and loyal supporters of both the Library and the Bee, and we are very pleased to be welcoming Jean McDonnell, Laura Talmud and Jennifer Blake for Coldwell Banker's third year in the Dover Bee.