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There's long been a competitive streak among fishermen, and that was certainly the case back in 1970, when Jessie Ashmore spied a photo in The American of Al Behr with a big lake trout. Not to be outdone, Ashmore posed for her own photo with a really, really big fish allegedly pulled from the Union River. “We make now claims about the above shot,” newspaper staff captioned the photo. “Jessie says the fish is much larger than Albert’s. That’s all we got to say about it.”
Hey there Bulletininos: It's Thursday, Jan. 28. Has your household also been captivated this week by something you only sorta, kinda, don't really understand? Welcome to the GameStop/wallstreetbets/Melvin Capital saga. Even Elon Musk has took time away from changing X Æ A-12's diapers to weigh in:
I would say something about it, but...I can't, really. It has been explained to me 42,568 times at this point and yet I still feel like I do in the morning before I put on my glasses - blurry and confused. And you could just watch Trevor Noah channel Margot Robbie in her Big Short bathtub explainer anyway.

In the weather: Weatherman Tyler Curtis-Southard is predicting that those little snowflakes dancing around outside "may become enhanced" tonight and tomorrow and turn into some real snow (🤞 ). It'll be chilly and sunny this weekend.

High tide is at 10:17 p.m.; low is at 4:40 p.m
(From left) Selene Meeks, Mary DeLong, Marian Wells and Carol Mason of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Ellsworth present a donation from the church’s virtual holiday marketplace to Mark Green, executive director of Downeast Community Partners. PHOTO COURTESY OF DOWNEAST COMMUNITY PARTNERS


Hancock County Jail inmates this past spring lost access to a recovery coaching service provided by Healthy Acadia after Sheriff Scott Kane canceled the contract due to what he described as “philosophical differences” with the organization. Kane canceled the contract after Healthy Acadia issued a June 10 statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “That decision was made in the height of the rioting and the looting and the burning that Black Lives Matter was associated with,” Kane said. “This is something that came up nine months ago. Why did this take nine months to come up? My responsibility as a police officer is to keep people safe. Those types of protests, when they turn violent, nobody’s safe.” The jail is still offering recovery services to inmates, Kane said. They include counseling, a medically-assisted treatment program and Eastern Maine Development Corp.’s workforce program.


Trenton Planning Board members on Jan. 20 unanimously approved an application for a solar generation facility, the town’s first large-scale solar project. “We’re open for business,” board Chairman John Whetstone told The American regarding members’ readiness to approve solar projects. “We’re very much in favor of [solar],” he said, adding that the board would like commercial businesses in the area to pursue getting energy credits to save on their electricity bills. The Trenton Solar Project was presented by Stephen Salsbury, president of Herrick & Salsbury Inc., a land surveying and land use consulting company in Ellsworth. He presented on behalf of clients Renewable Energy Development Partners, LLC (REDP), a Massachusetts-based firm.


Colleagues and friends of former Hancock County probate judge and attorney Jim Patterson are remembering him as a gentle, patient man. Patterson died Jan. 16 at age 72 after battling pulmonary fibrosis for 11 years. “Judge Patterson was a private, unique, smart, thorough and fair judge,” said former Hancock County Register of Probate Bonnie Cousins. Cousins worked with Patterson for 11 years. Cousins said during adoption cases, the judge always let children come up to the bench and pound his gavel and sit in his chair. He would also take a photo with them. “He was so good with them,” Cousins said. “He never complained and was just a great, wonderful man to work with,” she continued. “You’ll never find another person like him and we’ll all miss him dearly.”


A lengthy process to register for and schedule COVID-19 vaccinations through Northern Light Health using its online portal left many seniors frustrated and prompted a Brooklin man to initiate a lawsuit last week. When its online portal reopened on Jan. 25, just getting the webpage to load was an issue. Northern Light has set Monday afternoons, starting at 2 p.m., for scheduling vaccination appointments. “The demand for vaccine is high and the supply is limited,” Kelley Columber, director of communications for the Blue Hill and Ellsworth hospitals, said on Jan. 26, one day after Northern Light reopened its registration and appointments for the second time. This week, the statewide health-care system added a hotline number for residents who don’t have access to or use the internet.


The longstanding rule of thumb for reconstructing roadways was that it cost $1 million to construct 1 mile of road. But, like nearly everything, variables are involved — and costs have risen. Road construction, like everything bought and sold, is sensitive to inflation. According to construction analytics, the Federal Highway Administration cost index increased 17 percent from 2010 to 2017, stayed flat from 2015 to 2017 and increased 15 percent in 2018-19. The 3- to 4-percent inflation predicted for 2020 will likely come in higher, as construction costs across the board increased quite a bit higher during last year. “We used to say it would cost a million dollars a mile to reconstruct a typical road, but it’s more than that now,” Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) regional engineer John Devin said. “You’re probably anywhere from 1½ to 2 million when you start getting into the more urban/rural stuff. Things are very site-specific.”


While winter is far from over, the Summer Food Service Program is in full swing at Regional School Unit 24 (RSU 24). “All meals are free,” RSU 24 Food Services Director Linda Mailhot explained to The American. “It’s a wonderful thing.” The program provides free breakfasts and lunches to students in districts in which at least 50 percent of the student population is eligible for free or reduced meals. It is available to any student 18 years old and younger. Typically, the program is available, and RSU 24 participates in it, in the summer months when school is not in session, but thanks to a federal waiver, the program has been extended past the summer months and throughout the school year until June.


ICYMI: Challenging the notion that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, Oliver and Alexis Prior opened Imago Dei Bakery in Ellsworth, with its fresh sweet potato donuts in a wild riot of flavors, with a few months of home practice under their aprons. The idea came to Oliver after he had another unnamed potato donut shop's offering and was unimpressed. “I thought it lacked flavor. I thought if I replaced it with sweet potatoes….” And thus, a shop was born. “I have no desire to get rich,” Oliver said. “The desire would be to take all of the profits of the business and push them through benevolent charities that take care of people. Thirty-six million people died of starvation globally last year. We live with excess.”


Scallop season remains in full swing until the end of March for much of the waters of Maine. Despite a recent area closure affecting the Casco Passage and western Toothacker Bay off Swan’s Island, imposed by the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), both draggers and divers from Mount Desert Island have caught a fair share. In 2019, scallopers harvested 3.5 million pounds of scallops statewide, bringing in more than $4.3 million.  Diver Ed Monat of Bar Harbor has been swimming along the frigid ocean floor to harvest scallops. “There’s been a moratorium on [new] scallop licenses for so long, and there are not a whole lot of divers scalloping,” he said.


The Mount Desert Island girls’ basketball team’s new season began as the last one ended — only this time, the roles were reversed. A year ago, MDI’s season came to an end at the hand of the rival Ellsworth Eagles in the Northern Maine preliminary round. In that contest, the Trojans, who trailed by 10 early in the fourth quarter, fought all the way back to tie the game just to see the visiting Eagles win on a layup at the wire. One year later, MDI found itself as the team in need of a score to stave off overtime against an Ellsworth squad that had just fought back to erase a 10-point deficit. It didn’t come via a basket, but just as their rivals did a year ago, the Trojans made the play they needed to secure a win in the dying seconds.

Heard Around Town: 

Bitter-cold winds did not stop Cheryl Marshall last Saturday afternoon from selling her handmade masks on Route 1 in Sullivan. At the corner of the Tunk Lake Road, the seamstress had a wide variety of masks to choose from. Since the pandemic hit last March, the mother of four grown daughters has been peddling the face coverings weekends in the same spot. They cost $10 apiece at her roadside stand. Sales have been brisk. Her masks are sold too at Nautilus Marine (nautical-themed ones) and The Dunbar Store on Route 1. They also can be purchased at Elizabeth’s store at 124 Main St. in Ellsworth. Cheryl also does clothing adjustments. To contact her, email icre8arch@hotmail. com. “This is a job that I can do. I don’t need an office,” said Cheryl, who has sewn since she was 14. “I’d like people to know that when life hands you lemons, you have the ability to make something great.”

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

Tonight:  Check out the virtual baked bean supper with the MDI Historical Society at 6 p.m. and then, with a full belly, tune in to hear Christina Baker Kline talk about her book "The Exiles," sponsored by the Ellsworth Public Library, or check out the Jesup Memorial Library's discussion of “Psychedelics in Therapeutic Settings,” also at 7 p.m.

Friday's looking quiet, but on Saturday morning, have virtual coffee with Rep. Nicole Grohoski (D-Ellsworth), from 9 to 10:30 a.m.,  and then get moving with an online Tai Chi for Health workshop from 10 to 11 a.m. sponsored by Healthy Acadia and Ellsworth Public Library. From 4 to 5 p.m., tune into a chat on the woodblock prints of printmaker Holly Meade, sponsored by Courthouse Gallery Fine Art. In the evening, 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 $84,095, up $63 from 84,032 last week. Students who attend school in Maine leave with an average student loan debt of $32,521.

Dad joke of the day: courtesy of some guy in L.A.
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