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Displaying the new Kiwanis Club Youth Basketball uniforms purchased in 1984 are (front, from left) Tim Bunker, Kiwanis Club President Burgess Knowles and Stuart Whitney. In the back row are Brian Roach and Shawn Downey. The uniforms were paid for in part by the proceeds of a special tag day conducted by the players and coaches the previous spring.

Hey there Bulletinbeaus: It's Thursday, Jan. 7. This is not the way we would have hoped to start the new year, but here we are. How is everyone feeling? Your bulletin writer suspects she was not the only one lulled into a deep but troubled sleep by the hum of speechifying on C-SPAN.

In sitting down to write to all of you, I pulled a book from the tower that serves as my laptop stand, a collection of essays by Mary Oliver. I opened to this: "In this universe we are given two gifts: the ability to love, and the ability to ask questions. Which are, at the same time, the fires that warm us and the fires that scorch us."

I couldn't say it any better than that. We must keep loving, and we must keep asking questions.

In the weather: Quiet, partly sunny, with lows in the 20s and highs in the mi-30s.

High tide is at 5:12 p.m..; low is at 11:24 p.m.

EMERGENCY SHELTER REPAIRS FUNDED IN THE NICK OF TIME

A crisis was averted at two of HOME Inc.’s four shelters last month thanks to quick response by the Maine Community Foundation and the generosity of the local community, said HOME Inc. Executive Director Tracey Hair. Thanks to the raising of $56,000 in just one week, the organization was able to make critical repairs to two of its buildings, said Hair. “We’re just grateful,” she said. “It would have added more people to the homeless system. I reached out to the Maine Community Foundation and literally within a week we raised $56,000.”

MARIJUANA ISSUE IS A "TOUGH SELL"

Residents of Hancock County’s unorganized territories who spoke at a Dec. 1 Hancock County Commissioners’ meeting in support of the board “opting in” to allow commercial marijuana operations in the territories may be disappointed. Both newly sworn-in Commissioner Paul Paradis and longtime former sheriff and Commissioner Bill Clark said during the board’s first meeting of 2021 on Tuesday that they were not in favor of opting in. The board has three members. “I think it’s a can of worms and I would be very hesitant to support any of them,” Paradis said, referring to any of the four types of marijuana businesses beyond medical marijuana. Those include retail, distribution, testing or manufacturing of marijuana.

STEUBEN SELECTMEN CHALLENGE MASK RULE

The town of Steuben’s Board of Selectmen unanimously passed a resolution Dec. 30 demanding that the state government nullify Governor Janet Mills’ Dec. 11 executive order on face coverings. The resolution, the Americans with Disabilities Act Preservation Resolution, was drafted by state Rep. William “Billy Bob” Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor) in response to the Governor’s Dec. 11 order, Faulkingham said there are a range of reasons some people are unable to wear masks, including having developmental disabilities, who he said have been "banned from society." He also discussed veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and “survivors of rape, men and women both,” for whom having their mouth and face covered “brings back trauma.”

NOAA PROPOSES NEW ROUND OF WHALE PROTECTIONS

A proposed rule released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Dec. 30 aims to lower North Atlantic right whale entanglements in commercial fishing lines. Its release follows two years of research, public meetings and comment. “While NOAA’s proposed rule largely mirrors Maine’s proposed plan, we have concerns over the loss of equivalencies we included for trawls from 3-12 miles from shore, and the inclusion of a restricted area in LMA 1. We will be analyzing the basis for these proposed changes as well as their impact, and will include any findings in our comments,” DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher told The American.

FIRE DEPARTMENT ADMINISTERS VACCINES FOR HANCOCK COUNTY EMERGENCY PERSONNEL 

From our friends over at the Mount Desert Islander: The Bar Harbor Fire Department has partnered with Blue Hill-based Peninsula Ambulance Corps to administer COVID-19 vaccines to Hancock County first responders. The department is in phase one of a soft rollout where it is vaccinating only licensed Emergency Medical Services providers. After vaccinating all the EMS workers who want one, the Fire Department will move on to vaccinating other firefighters and law enforcement personnel, but more doses of the vaccine will be required. “Peninsula [Ambulance Corps] got 100 vaccines that they were instructed to split in half, so we got 50,” said Assistant Chief John Lennon. Want more hyper-local island news? Subscribe to the Islander!

"SHOP LOCAL" A HOLIDAY SUCCESS

Between the pandemic, high unemployment numbers and the low-level anxiety that seems to pervade much of public and retail life, an excellent holiday shopping season may have been too much to ask for. As it turns out — and with help from a shop local initiative sponsored by the city and chamber of commerce and supported by community groups such as Heart of Ellsworth — it was not a big ask. “So many people intentionally shopped local,” said Barbara Courchesne, owner of The Bud Connection on Main Street. “It made a difference, and we are very grateful.” 

TRAP RECYCLING PROGRAM IS POISED TO EXPAND

A nonprofit that recycles lobster traps is looking to expand its program after processing 6,000 pounds of wire traps since last summer at its site at the transfer station in Gouldsboro. The Newcastle-based nonprofit, which teaches scuba diving and provides other hands-on marine experiences in the Gulf of Maine to Maine youth, is looking to set up similar stations in Jonesport, Vinalhaven and on Matinicus Island. “That’s what we pride ourselves on, doing something that nobody has done before,” said Oceanswide’s founder and executive director Campbell “Buzz” Scott.

LOCAL SCHOOLS UNVEIL SCHEDULES, BEGIN TRYOUTS; MDI HALTS SPORTS

After a frustrating end to 2020, the early days of 2021 have provided a beacon of hope for the Hancock County sports community. Monday marked the first day of Level 2 and Level 3 competition for local high school teams, which were able to hold formal team practices and intra-squad scrimmages for the first time this winter. Three schools also unveiled schedules for games and meets, the first of which will be held next week. All practices and competitions are subject to Hancock County retaining its “green” designation in the Maine Department of Education’s color-code guidelines. The county has been green since the first color-code assignments were released July 31. The DOE updates color-code assignments every Friday. “That color wheel is always spinning, and you never know what you’ll see from week to week,” said Ellsworth Athletic Director Josh Frost.

Heard Around Town: On Christmas Day, 21 families enjoyed a roast turkey dinner, complete with cranberry sauce, stuffing and all the other fixings, thanks to United Bikers of Maine’s charitable holiday initiative in Hancock County. UBM’s Hancock County Director Robby Perkins reports the local chapter got referrals from Ellsworth-based Downeast Community Partners, Bucksport schools and Bucksport United Methodist Church pastor Peter Remick of Hancock County households in need in the weeks preceding Christmas. He and other UBM members assembled large baskets containing a roasting pan, large turkeys, potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, vegetables and homemade pies. A box of candy canes, Hannaford gift cards and personalized Christmas cards also were included.

“We reached out to local grocery stores and businesses for donations,” Perkins said. “We were completely blown away with the response from people who were more than willing to pitch in to help out neighbors in need.”

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

Tonight
: Discuss "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens at the Ellsworth Public Library's Book-a-Month Club's online meeting at 6 p.m.
Tomorrow, at 5:30 p.m., spend the evening with the MDI High School AP Environmental Science class at they present an online talk on climate change, and on Saturday, take an online introductory Tai Chi for Health Workshop from 10 to 11 a.m., sponsored by Healthy Acadia and Ellsworth Public Library.

As of Wednesday, each citizen’s share of the outstanding public debt was $83,905, up $656 from $83,249 last week. Students who attend school in Maine leave with an average student loan debt of $32,521.

Dad joke of the day: Unfortunately, since quarantine, I can only tell inside jokes.
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