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Updated: May 27, 2024

A Look Back: A Mainebiz contributor with ties to the salt water

John N. Cole, who died in 2003, was a well-known outdoors writer, editor of the Brunswick Times-Record  and co-founder (along with Peter Cox) of the alternative weekly Maine Times.

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John N. Cole was an outdoors writer and co-founder of the Maine Times. In the mid-1990s, he was also a Mainebiz contributor.

An editor for the Boston Globe once said Cole “knew every cove and inlet on Maine’s coastline,” according to his obituary in the New York Times, which added that he may have been best-known as an “environmental crusader,” lobbying against deforestation and hunting. For a Maine Times story about an oil refinery that was proposed for Trenton, outside Acadia National Park, he dispatched a reporter to a New Jersey refinery to “describe its pollutant effects.”

In the mid-1990s, Cole was also a frequent Mainebiz contributor.

For Mainebiz, Cole wrote a cover story about the Portland Fish Exchange. He spent time on the Portland Harbor with the Portland Pilots Inc., including one captain known as “Midnight Earl” Walker. “The Port of Portland has always been ruled by its tides,” he wrote in the July 1996 issue of Mainebiz. “It is the moon that sets the schedule, not the sun. For tides are clocks that regulate all ships…”

But, as a proxy for Mainebiz, he occasionally took on more mundane land-borne assignments.

When Macy’s opened at the Maine Mall, he wrote that he “felt obligated to visit the South Portland Macy’s, where, with eyes unclouded by constant spritzing from free perfumes, I might get a true picture of just what this retailing change might mean to Greater Portland.”

He begrudgingly noted that, while he missed Macy’s predecessor, Jordan Marsh, he conceded that “Greater Portland could use a bit more hipness.”

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