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This undated image of mother and child was among the Dutton family papers archived by the University of Maine. “The Dutton family of the Ellsworth area was related to the Briggs and Craig families of Augusta,” according to the archival listing. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, RAYMOND H. FOGLER LIBRARY, DIGITALCOMMONS@ UMAINE
In the weather: It's happening! Spring, that is. Highs will touch 60 degrees tomorrow and Saturday. It'll be overcast with lows in the 40s.

High tide on the Union River is at 9:41 p.m.; low tide is at 3:29 p.m.
Hello there Bulletininis: it's Thursday, April 8. This week: book recommendations! I have recently discovered the "request" button on my local library's website, which allows you to request books automatically from any library in the state that participates, which means there are thousands and thousands of books at my fingertips. Between that and my having now watched literally everything that has ever been on Netflix three times over, I can start reading again. Thanks to inter-library loan, here are a few books I've gotten around to in recent weeks that I would highly recommend:

SHYING FROM LIMELIGHT, EHRLENBACH STILL SHINES

Fred Ehrlenbach was immersed in his daily routine when he received a surprise: He was selected as the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce 2021 Citizen of the Year. “I was walking up to get the mail when the phone rang,” he said. “My first reaction was, don’t you have anything better to do?” Ehrlenbach knows about keeping busy, especially through community service both now and in past years. A Trenton selectman for 12 years and board chairman for the past 11, he also represents Trenton on the National Park Advisory Committee and serves on the Hancock County Budget Advisory Committee, the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, the board that oversees Woodlawn, and the Ellsworth Harbor Advisory Committee. 


IN-PERSON SCHOOL PLAN APPROVED

A plan to return K-12 students to full-time, in-person instruction found School Board approval on March 31, and many students and parents will embrace a return to normalcy. For those students and families who would not welcome a five-day-a-week return, whether from safety concerns or because the student is thriving in remote learning, the plan has leeway for them. “If you don’t feel safe sending your child to school with the 3-feet social distancing, you do have another option,” board member Elizabeth Alteri said. “We’re not leaving them in the dark.”


CANINE KERFUFFLE IN BROOKLIN

When is a barking dog a “nuisance” and when is it just being a dog? This is one question residents have about a proposed dog ordinance that Brooklin voters are being asked to consider at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday, May 15, at the Brooklin School. But first, there will be a public hearing about the proposed ordinance on Thursday, April 15, at 6 p.m. in the school gym. The intent is in part to give Brooklin’s animal control officer, Carol Ann Cutler, some teeth, so to speak, in managing not so much disobedient dogs but rather unruly owners. “Over the past two years, we’ve had several ongoing cases where I’m going to come right out and say it, we’ve had belligerent dog owners who haven’t been mindful or respectful of their neighbors,” said Selectman Bill Cohen. “When Carol Ann tries to do something, without an ordinance, we’ve discovered she really can’t do anything.”

CROCKER HOUSE IS CHANGING HANDS

Forty-one years ago Richard Malaby traveled from his Washington, D.C., home to check out the Crocker House Country Inn for the first time. His plane landed in Bangor and as he drove through Dedham to get to the property that he was considering purchasing from then-owner Bill Moise, he looked out at Phillips Lake, which was still covered in ice in early April. “It kind of scared the hell out of me,” Malaby said. He had just traveled from the land of cherry blossoms in full bloom. Four decades later, Malaby and his wife, Liz, have sold the business to Robert and Janette Noddin and their son, Joshua, who will operate the inn’s upcoming season starting this spring. But back in 1980, Malaby had never lived in Maine before, or anywhere rural. Dirt roads and septic systems were new discoveries. “There were a lot of shocks that first year,” he recalled.


DRAFT SCHOOL BUDGET REFLECTS GROWING NEEDS

A preliminary draft of the 2021-22 city school budget, before any adjustments or cuts, shows a $1,435,706, or 6.25 percent, increase from 2020-21. The total budget in this first draft comes in at $24,395,501 and includes $290,854 in funding for adult education. The district approached budgeting with the understanding that teachers and students will be back in school five days a week, Superintendent Dan Higgins said. The School Department has proposed several new positions, including a K-4 special education teacher to handle “a significant increase” in needs for that age group, a part-time nurse, a K-7 504 coordinator, one K-8 and one 9-12 math intervention teacher and 11 ed tech positions at the elementary and middle school level where, Higgins said, “the needs we see are very high.” 


STONINGTON MAN KILLED IN CRASH

A Stonington man died Tuesday after his pickup truck entered an oncoming lane, hitting another pickup truck nearly head-on on the Ellsworth Road in Blue Hill, Hancock County Sheriff ’s Lt. Tim Cote reported. Richard D. Goodwin, 53, died at the scene, Cote said. Goodwin’s westbound 2014 GMC entered the eastbound lane, striking a 2020 Chevrolet operated by Bill Webb, 47, of Blue Hill, police reported. Both trucks came to rest in the eastbound lane. Webb was injured and his wife, Doris Webb, 45, suffered serious injuries, police said. Both were taken to Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital. Doris was later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center.

NEW BUSINESSES STARTING TO SPRING UP DOWNTOWN

After a long pandemic winter, spring is inching its way into Ellsworth’s downtown streets. Flowers may not yet be blooming apart from inside The Bud Connection, but merchants are betting on a booming business climate as Memorial Day nears. By the time the traditional opening of the tourist season arrives, downtown will look a little different — and noticeably busier — thanks to several new businesses opening or relocating to downtown streets. For many, an architectural anchor of Main Street is the Beals buildings that sat empty for months but are now the future homes of Poppy & Polka Dot Boutique and Kiddo by Toko. Both businesses are renovating the interiors, with Poppy & Polka Dot planning to move in toward the end of April. New business Kiddo by Toko will open later, depending on how long renovations take, owner Linda van der Does said.


GOULDSBORO SELECTMEN LAUNCH TOWN MANAGER SEARCH

In a few small Hancock County towns, town clerks still do it all. They balance the books, collect property taxes, register voters, hold elections, license dogs and many other administrative tasks. Nowadays, though, town managers or administrative assistants focus on growing municipal issues such as health, solid waste and infrastructure and manage staff who handle day-to-day functions in more than half of the 37 communities stretching from Verona Island to Great Pond. Gouldsboro has followed that pattern since the 2015 retirement of former Town Manager Eve Wilkinson, who served for 18 years and “did all these things for a small amount of money,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Dana Rice noted last Thursday night. Since then, the town has had three town managers and is now searching for a fourth to succeed Andrea Sirois, who was hired in June of 2020. On March 23, she informed the board of her intent not to renew her contract this June. In light of Sirois’s looming departure, and the need to launch a formal search, selectmen unanimously agreed to contract with the Maine Municipal Association (MMA) to solicit, receive, sift through and identify suitable applicants with the level of experience and qualifications sought by the board. 

CHILLY START TO ELVER SEASON

The elver season is already underway, but it likely won’t heat up in earnest until temperatures ratchet up a few more degrees. “People ain’t catching a whole lot right now,” said Ellsworth-based Darrell Young, the co-director of the Maine Elver Fishermen’s Association. The multimillion-dollar fishery opened on March 22, but local fishermen have reported little action while waiting for waters to warm up. They chalk the delay up to recent rains, which have kept the waters cool and flows fast, less than ideal conditions for the small spaghetti-like young eels that migrate upriver from the sea.

BEALS ISLANDER SERVING FAMILY FAVORITES AT NEW BAKERY

A Beals Island native has opened Sweet Cheeks Bakery at 70 Route 1 just before the bridge connecting Verona Island to Bucksport. Jonathan Beal has been busy baking cream horns, chocolate eclairs, cookies, brownies, lemon bars, pies, donuts, cheesecake, whoopie pies, bars and muffins to make your sweet dreams come true. Opening officially last Friday, the bakery’s schedule will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday- Sunday, to start. In May, Sweet Cheeks will be open Thursdays as well. Jonathan’s family, indeed his ancestors, made their living in the marine trades as boat builders and fishermen. Two, Riley Beal and Adrian Beal, are in the Maine Boatbuilders Hall of Fame. His great-grandfather was a lighthouse keeper. “That was not for me,” he said.

BUILDING BACK UP

The scenes of empty fields last spring hit everyone hard. For Dan Kane and the George Stevens Academy baseball team, the season that never was hurt even more. After a strong 2019 season in which it claimed the No. 1 seed in Class C North and finished with a 16-2 record, GSA had the pieces to be even better entering 2020. Returning all but three players, the Eagles had hopes of following a year that ended with an upset loss to Orono in the regional semifinals with an even deeper playoff run. That opportunity, needless to say, never came for Kane’s team. Instead of being able to compete for a championship, GSA was deprived of the opportunity to take the field at all as an entire season was ripped away. “We had really been looking forward to it, so to not be able to play at all was highly disappointing,” Kane said. 

Heard Around Town:  Let’s hear it for Zoey Nevells and Mara Black! The 10-year-old friends biked 15 miles roundtrip from East Blue Hill to Pugnuts in Surry for a celebratory ice cream.

Going out? Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distance. 

Today, Thursday, April 8, there are plenty of interesting online workshops and talks to keep you engaged: check out a virtual workshop on "Watercolor Painting for Beginners" from 6 to 7:30 p.m., an online talk on the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook at 6 p.m., and an online gardening series at 7 p.m.

Tomorrow, Friday, April 9, there's an online Food Waste Solutions Summit from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Wilson Museum is having a virtual kick-off event at 7 p.m., with a raffle drawing and home movie snippets.

On Saturday, puppies! Check out Puppypalooza from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the SPCA of Hancock County, where you can meet 10 young dogs from a North Carolina-based rescue organization.

As of Wednesday, each citizen’s share of the outstanding public debt was $85,181, up $127 from $85,054 last week. Students who attend school in Maine leave with an average student loan debt of $32,521.

Dad joke of the day: Why did the math book look so sad? Because of all of its problems.
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