A tragic death over the weekend serves as a good reminder to never modify fireworks and to use them as instructed. Fire investigators say a commercial fireworks shell, that the operators were not licensed to use, was set into a cement cinder block in Sabattus when it exploded, sending pieces of cement into two homes, about 140 feet away. 57-year-old Timothy Whitney of Lewiston was standing about 15 feet from the fireworks and was fatally injured when the cement struck him.

It was a rally where almost no one showed up over the weekend, when Bangor Police blocked off Harlow Street, between Franklin and Central Streets for a planned demonstration. Organizers of the Rally to Preserve American Traditions had been working with police to make sure Saturday’s event ran smoothly. But, in the end, the organizers showed up only briefly and then left after a few minutes, canceling the event.

The brilliant fall foliage that was anticipated this year seems a bit dull in many places, and experts say that’s because of all the warm weather we’ve had. A lack of rain and cool weather has dimmed the colors and caused some trees to shed their leaves early. Still, it’s hard to feel bad about the weather when we know that winter is just around the corner.

Actor Patrick Dempsey, best known as ‘Dr. McDreamy’ from the show Gray’s Anatomy, helps cancer patients in Maine through the cancer center in Lewiston that he started in 2008, and through an award he gives each year to a cancer survivor who works to support others with the disease. This year’s winner is Christina Parrish, who is a 9 year pancreatic cancer survivor and founded the Purple Iris Foundation to raise awareness of the disease. This weekend, her organization will host the Pound the Pavement color run/walk on the Bangor Waterfront.