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The Ellsworth High School Class of 1950’s honor parts recipients were (from left) Valedictorian Joyce Tracy and Salutatorian Gloria P. Hodgkins.
Hey there Bulletininos: It's Thursday, Jan. 21. Take hope, Beanie Baby™ hoarders: a box of Pokémon cards sold at auction for more than $400,000, a new record, giving hope to those holding on to Claude the Crab or Valentino the bear that the weird collective delusions we indulged in in the '90s might actually pay off. 
High tide is at 5:08 p.m.; low is at 11:16 p.m
A fire at a home on Meadow Lane in Southwest Harbor displaced a family of five, but the damage was concentrated to one section of the one-and-a-half-story building. Southwest Harbor dispatch received a call around 3:35 p.m. on Jan. 13 from the homeowner, who had arrived home to find the house filled with smoke. No one was at the home when the fire started. A police officer was the first to respond, according to Fire Chief Tom Chisholm, and was able to rescue two of the family’s pets before the Fire Department arrived. There was a woodstove in the area where the fire was located.

CITY POLICE CHIEF POST ELIMINATED; MANAGER CONTRACT SIGNED

It took a handful of signatures on a contract — and a whole lot of discussion — for interim City Manager and Police Chief Glenn Moshier to drop the “interim” from his title on Friday, Jan. 15. He also has dropped “police chief,” as that position will no longer exist. “The [police] department will be reorganized. The position of police chief will not exist as functions are being redistributed as described,” City Council Chairman Dale Hamilton spelled out in an email after the contract had been signed. Instead, Moshier will “act as de facto police chief for high-level policy matters and administrative purposes,” according to his contract. “Glenn will retain certain high-level police functions and he will reorganize the Police Department to manage the day-to-day responsibilities,” Hamilton said.

COMMISSIONERS WEIGH POT SALES

The Hancock County Commissioners met with Maine officials Tuesday to find out more information about “opting in” to allow commercial marijuana enterprises in the unorganized territories. There was no resolution reached and no action was taken, but Commissioner John Wombacher chided his fellow board members about their attitude regarding marijuana-related commercial activity in the territories. Both Commissioner Bill Clark and Commissioner Paul Paradis had said previously they would not support “adult use” marijuana operations in the unorganized territories. But “It’s still an emotional issue,” Clark said, especially for someone who has spent a career in law enforcement. “It’s so difficult for me to get into the 21st century when it comes to pot. I become emotional when it comes to those issues.”

WISHFUL THINKING

“Terrible.” That's how Hancock County Commissioner and President of the Ellsworth Snowmobile Club Bill Clark describes the current snowmobile season, which has thus far been marked by minimal snow accumulation and barely frozen ground. According to a Facebook post by the National Weather Service in Caribou, “For the first two weeks of January, every day has featured above average temperatures in Caribou.” The post also notes that “temperatures are running 11.1 degrees Fahrenheit above average in Caribou and 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit in Bangor.” Despite uncooperative weather, snowmobile sales are holding steady. According to Friend and Friend General Manager TJ Schaefer, “We have had a good start to the season.”

VERSANT POWER REQUESTS RATE INCREASE

Customers of Versant Power may see a $4 increase on their bill starting next fall, after the company on Tuesday filed a request with the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to increase its distribution rates, which make up the portion of an electric bill that covers the costs of delivering electricity through the power grid to homes and businesses. Versant is proposing that the new rate, an increase of 25.2 percent, be divided over two years to help mitigate the financial burden on its customers. In a Jan. 5 letter to its customers, Versant cited, “the challenges faced by our customers and the communities we serve during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

FROM CAMEROON TO MAINE, FATHER BERNGEH TO SERVE CATHOLIC PARISH

Straight from the heat of Cameroon, Father Roland Berngeh arrived in Maine mid-December, days before winter’s official start but still cold enough to shock. While not his first time in the United States, it was his first sighting of snow. “In fact, I had lived in the States, precisely in Los Angeles,” he explained from his office at St. Joseph Catholic Church, his brightly patterned shirt a stark contrast to the beige décor. That was 20 years ago, and he never saw snow, despite an intentional winter stop in the Midwest on his way home to Cameroon in central Africa. That was not the case this time. “When I got here, it was all white, white, white,” he said with a joyful smile that rarely left his face for the entirety of the interview. “It’s a strange phenomenon.” 

BUYER ANNOUNCED FOR SHUTTERED RECYCLING PLANT

Delta Thermo Energy will be the new owner of Coastal Resources of Maine, the waste-to-biofuel facility in Hampden that has had a dramatic, if short, history since opening in April 2019. The facility closed in May of 2019 and was subsequently placed in receivership. “We’re very excited about this opportunity not only to bring this facility back on line but also to do what’s important to us … making sure nothing goes to a landfill or incinerator going forwards,” Delta Thermo Chief Executive Officer Rob Van Naarden said at a Jan. 19 virtual town hall meeting held by the Municipal Review Committee (MRC). The MRC is a nonprofit coordinating solid waste disposal for member communities.

GOULDSBORO POLICE CREATE SATELLITE OFFICE

Gouldsboro Police now have an alternative workspace in case the threat of coronavirus exposure ever shuts down the town office again. The Gouldsboro Fire Department’s South Gouldsboro station has been slightly modified, making it available for use by Police Chief John Shively and Officers Adam Brackett and Eli Brown. They can now use the heated station’s meeting room to write up reports, do required paperwork, conduct phone interviews and perform other tasks instead of doing those things hunched over laptops in their cruisers. 

JUGGERNAUT DI-S GIRLS' BASKETBALL TEAM WINS BIG IN OPENER

This January has a different feel to it for the Deer Isle-Stonington girls’ basketball team. In a normal season, this is the time of year when the Mariners, the Class D North runners-up each of the past two seasons, would be gearing up for a state title run. The wooden bleachers here would be packed on both sides with fans of all ages, each one eager to watch the pride of the island in midseason form. “Usually, this time of year comes, and you’re starting to look at tournament places and all that,” head coach Randy Shepard said. “Now, here we are just getting ready to play our first game, and everything’s changed.”

Heard Around Town: 

On the left: It’s official! Eight-year-old Finn Farnsworth of Gouldsboro received his first Maine lobster license last week, entitling him to 10 traps. In second grade, the budding Corea lobster fisherman’s chosen colors are blue and orange. His 11-year-old brother Jack, a sixth-grader, already is hauling a gang of 50 traps (green and orange buoys). Initially, the brothers will fish with their mother, Leigh, in her boat F/V Priceless, but the boys have saved up enough to get their own craft. Watch out!

And on the right: hot off the press and circulating fast is Surry resident Virginia Hawrylycz’s newly published “Virginia Hawrylyzcz: The Ellsworth American Letters.” As a recent gift to his mother, Michael Hawrylyzcz of Seattle, Wash., had Virginia’s letters to the editor, many of which took the form of poems, published. The anthology, which also features family photos of Virginia playing bocce and Machias’s Burnham Tavern, among other subjects, also is a tribute to the 1950 Cherryfield Academy and 1954 Colby College graduate. Alas, the collection is not for sale. The Surry Democratic Party’s former chairwoman, Virginia got the politics bug from her Colby history professor, Paul Fullan, who became Edmund Muskie’s presidential primary campaign manager. She and her husband, John, moved to Surry from Connecticut in 1996.

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

Today,
at 4 p.m., check out "The Story of Place," sponsored by the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, play some online chess with the Blue Hill Chess Enthusiasts from 5 to 8 p.m., or check out "Business for Purpose and Profit" from 5:30 to 7 p.m, sponsored by Island Institute, or, at 7 p.m., tune in to hear Kerri Arsenault discuss her book "Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains,", sponsored by the Ellsworth Public Library.

Tomorrow, at 7 p.m., take in some local theater as the New Surry Theatre presents "Mastergate." On Saturday, take in a virtual performance of "The Swan," at 7:30 p.m., presented by WinterSea Theatre Experiment.

As of Wednesday, each citizen’s share of the outstanding public debt was $84,032, up $127 from $83,968 last week. Students who attend school in Maine leave with an average student loan debt of $32,521.

Dad joke of the day: Why was the color green notoriously single? It was always so jaded.
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