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This 1950 advertisement for Mother’s white bread promises “finer flavor, lasting freshness” from the ovens of Bangor Baking Co.
Hello there Bulletinfriends: It's Thursday, April 15.

Spring is a season of movement. Snowbirds (the winged and homo sapien variety) make their way north, rivers shed their ice and wood frogs and blue-spotted salamanders hop and slither their way from those ephemeral vernal pools to their summer homes in the nearby forest. "Cats, bats elephant seals, red-tailed hawks, wildebeests, gypsy moths, cuttlefish, slime mold, emperor penguins: to one degree or another, every animal on Earth knows how to navigate," as my literary icon Kathryn Schulz wrote in an article in the April 5 edition of The New Yorker. "And, to one degree or another, scientists remain perplexed by how they do so." 

Schulz can make even brown marmorated stinkbugs interesting, but I thought her recent article, titled "Where the Wild Things Go," was particularly remarkable. In it, Schulz explores a question that has apparently vexed scientists for as long as they've been thinking about it: how do animals know where they're going? As an example: "You can cover a rock lobster's eyes, put it in an opaque container filled with seawater from its native environment, line the container with magnets suspended from strings so they swing in all directions, put the container in a truck, drive the truck in circles on the way to a boat, steer the boat in circles on the way to a distant location, drop the lobster back in the water, and — viola — it will strike off confidently in the direction of home."

I could just keep inserting quotes from it, but you should really go and read it, because you'll never look at a rock lobster conga line the same way again.

In the weather: Cold and wet. Less cold and wet on Sunday.

High tide on the Union River is at 1:53 p.m.; low tide is at 7:54 p.m.
Brenda Duggan, ham radio call sign N1ZPV, operates her radio from her home in Milbridge. The Maine Ham Radio Society, based out of Milbridge, will be honoring the submarine USS Squalus, which sank in the Gulf of Maine on May 23, 1939, and its crew (twenty-six of whom perished) with a special “Remember the Squalus” event on the amateur radio airwaves on the 82nd anniversary of the tragic accident. Using the special FCC-issued call sign W1S, club members will take to the airwaves and make contacts nationally and around the globe, making other “hams” aware of the Squalus. MAINE HAM RADIO SOCIETY PHOTO

HIRING CRUNCH WORSENS

It’s shaping up to be a potentially record-breaking season in terms of the number of visitors who will flock to and through hot spots like Ellsworth, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. But as the state lifts restrictions to allow greater numbers inside restaurants, retail stores and events and relaxes quarantine guidelines for visitors, an employee shortage poses a challenge to a smooth season. While this is not a new concern — employers scramble every summer to hire servers, cleaners, cashiers and the like — this summer could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. “The fact that we’re hearing so many Airbnb cottages and campgrounds are booked is really concerning to this area with the lack of employees,” said Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gretchen Wilson.


BUCKSPORT MOTEL DECLARED DANGEROUS

The Town Council during a public hearing April 8 voted unanimously to declare the Spring Fountain Motel, which had been doing business as the Fountain Inn, to be listed as a dangerous building. The decision was made despite the owner’s comments that he was willing to work with the town to make the needed repairs. The council at its Feb. 11 meeting had voted to hold the hearing to declare the motel a dangerous building, citing safety issues for both motel guests as well as public safety personnel who must respond there in an emergency. The property, which was no longer licensed as a motel, rented rooms by the week and the month. The motel belongs to Asad Khaqan of Jersey City, N.J.


AMERICAN NAMED ONE OF NEW ENGLAND'S BEST WEEKLIES

The Ellsworth American was honored as one of the best weekly newspapers in the region during the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s annual convention last week. The convention included workshops and awards ceremonies for the New England Better Newspaper Competition. All were held virtually April 8 and 9. The American placed third in the General Excellence category for newspapers in its circulation class. The Vineyard Gazette of Massachusetts placed first and the Addison County Independent of Vermont came in second.

Ever since Jayme Gibson opened the doors of Ellsworth Nutrition to the public April 7 she has rarely stopped moving. The new business, at 270 High St., has been crowded from day one. Open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., its hours may extend for the summer. “We are starting out to see what the community wants,” Gibson said.

COUNTY FINANCE POSITION PROPOSED

Hancock County officials want to add a finance manager or director to the payroll. Hancock County Administrator Scott Adkins, who was finance director for Penobscot County for a decade, has been serving unofficially in that capacity since he was hired five years ago. Adkins discussed the position with the Hancock County Commissioners at the board’s regular monthly meeting last Tuesday. The consensus, after much discussion, is that Adkins can’t effectively manage the county and work on projects when he’s spending half his time doing the finances.


EHS GRADUATION PLANS ANNOUNCED; PROM A GO

A junior-senior prom and a graduation ceremony will be held for Ellsworth High School this spring, Principal Dan Clifford announced to School Board members on April 12. Clifford outlined plans that will allow for the usual end-of-year activities such as prom and Class Night to be held under a 60-by-150-foot tent erected in the parking lot near the football field. Graduation will be held at Del Luce Stadium, with graduates in the stands and families spread out on the soccer field. While there are many details to work out, at least the dates are set. Prom will be held on May 29 and graduation on June 11, with Class Night on June 3. Hancock County Technical Center awards night and National Honor Society induction also will be held, but those dates are yet to be decided.


TRENTON HEARING TO COVER GUN RIGHTS, HEALTH CARE AND SCHOOL WITHDRAWAL

Residents in Trenton will get the chance to comment on proposed referendum articles, which include declaring the town a Second Amendment sanctuary and a resolution supporting equitable health care, at a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20. Additionally, the public hearing will give residents the opportunity to comment on a citizens’ petition that asks voters if they will approve the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee forming a committee to draft a plan of withdrawal from the school’s district, Alternative Organizational Structure 91 (AOS 91). The withdrawal plan would need approval from the state’s Department of Education and then be presented to Trenton voters for final approval, according to the petition language.

NEIGHBORS ASSEMBLE DOLPHIN SKELETON

A pair of Ellsworth neighbors have breathed new life into an Atlantic white-sided dolphin that had washed ashore in Rye, N.H. No, Captain Toby Stephenson, a member of the staff at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, and Dasha Herrrington, a junior at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, weren’t able to revive the dolphin. It had long been dead when it was found. Instead, the duo finished a skeleton articulation of the dolphin for the Blue Ocean Society earlier this month and Herrington was able to show off her work at the state science fair. “It’s something you don’t get to do every day,” Herrington said last week.


STATE AG CONTINUES TO PROSECUTE TAX EVASION

Attorney General Aaron Frey announced April 9 that in the year since Maine recorded its first case of COVID-19, the Office of the Attorney General has continued to work with Maine Revenue Services to prosecute tax evaders and to ensure that all people pay their fair share of taxes. From March 12, 2020, to March 8, 2021, the Attorney General’s Office, working with Maine Revenue Services, resolved 14 criminal prosecutions, which included Hancock County resident Dana Betts.

Hikers confer over a map in June 2020 at Acadia National Park. National Park Service staff studying effects of the coronavirus pandemic found wide variations in park visitation, fewer park programs, gaps in long-term monitoring of natural and cultural resources and lost park-related employment across the U.S. in 2020. “One of the greatest impacts of the pandemic for national parks is all of the lost opportunities for education and employment that national parks and partner organizations provide for people starting their careers,” said Abe Miller-Rushing, science coordinator at Acadia National Park and the lead author of a study recently published in the journal Biological Conservation. Findings in the paper show that in the early stages of the pandemic in April 2020, visitation to U.S. national parks declined by about 87 percent. In some parks, visitation rebounded quickly as the summer progressed, while in others it remained low. Visitation to Acadia dropped by an estimated 811,000 visits in the six-month period between May and October 2020 compared to the same period the previous year. PHOTO BY EMILY MOSES, FRIENDS OF ACADIA
NOAA STARTS PHASING OUT ITS PAPER CHARTS

When Karl Brunner takes tourists out on his sail charters and lobster tours, he has a trusty paper nautical chart from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) that acts as a map to the ocean. It shows water depths, buoys, traffic lanes and navigation channels, and NOAA has been producing them to help guide mariners for nearly 200 years. But Brunner, the owner of Sail Acadia, largely keeps his chart around for the benefit of his customers, not to help him navigate the waters around Mount Desert Island. He normally turns to electronic navigation maps on his phone should he need guidance. “I use it more as a way to show my passengers where we are,” he said.

MAGIC IN THE AIR

Once upon a time, Brooklin writer Ellen Booraem had a conversation with then Union 93 Superintendent Keith Hall. He said his dream was to have a gifted and talented program for children who are good with their hands — for those students who can take an engine apart and put it right back together. “That stuck with me and that’s Donna,” Booraem recalled. “She’s not that great academically, but she’s a whiz with her hands. I started building Donna and that conversation came back to me. It’s always stuck with me because I thought he was right. The conversation sprang to mind when she was creating the main character of Donna in “River Magic” (2021, Dial Books for Young Readers/An Imprint of Penguin Random House, $16.99), her latest work of fantasy for children, which will be released April 27.  

STILL ON TOP

Ellsworth’s Brett Bragdon makes a throw to first base during high school baseball practice April 9 at Ellsworth High School. Friday was the first chance to practice outdoors for the reigning state champion Ellsworth Eagles, who began their preseason schedule Monday ahead of the upcoming regular season. Three full calendar years have now passed since Ellsworth last fell to defeat on its home diamond. The team’s last home loss came all the way back on May 31, 2017, when the Eagles fell to an 8-1 defeat against MDI on a foggy late spring afternoon. “We’ve had quite the run the past few years,” Ellsworth head coach Dan Curtis said. “It’s been a lot of fun, and we have another good group this year that’s really excited to be out here and carry on some of the traditions.”

Heard Around Town: Not only has Anne Berleant written extensively about the coronavirus, and its trajectory, the Ellsworth American reporter has lived it like everyone else. During the holiday season last December, she was especially nervous about shopping. The number of positive COVID-19 cases and overall positivity rates had climbed again, but she remained committed to spending half her holiday dollars in local stores. Alleviating her trepidation was “Frontline Hero” Kristie Billings. In downtown Ellsworth, the Old Creamery Antique Mall’s sales clerk put her at ease. “Kristie saw how nervous I was, and even how it was making it harder for me to select just the right gifts. Or it really seemed like she did because of her warmth, accessibility and sensitivity. Plus, Kristie’s eclectic fashion sense always puts a smile on face! Thank you, Kristie!”
 
Who is your “Frontline Hero”? That nurse, caregiver, car mechanic, bank teller, garbage collector and mom-and-pop store clerk who cheerfully attends to your everyday needs and (spirits) during the COVID-19 pandemic in these unprecedented times. Snap a photo of them and send their name, job title, hometown and a paragraph or two about the person and why they have made a difference to you during the pandemic to lbaldwin@ellsworthamerican.com or to The Ellsworth American, Attn: “Frontline Hero,”30 Water St., Ellsworth, ME 04605.
Going out? Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distance.

There are a couple of great author talks on tap for tonight, including, at 6 p.m., a chat with author Laurie Apgar Chandler, who will discuss her book "Through Woods & Waters," and then at 7 p.m., a discussion with author and apple expert John Bunker, who will discuss his book "Apples and the Art of Detection." Also at 7 p.m., check out "Regenerative Agriculture Meets Clayfield Farm" with David Noriega.

Tomorrow, Friday, tune into the "A Touch of Maine" series at 1:30 p.m. to hear Matt Montgomery, operations director for the Lawrence Family Fitness Center in Blue Hill.

On Saturday, April 17, listen to social worker Michelle Johnson, who will speak on "Dismantling Racism" from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or learn a bit of Tai Chi from 10 to 11 a.m.

As of Wednesday, each citizen’s share of the outstanding public debt was $85,264, up $83 from $85,181 last week. Students who attend school in Maine leave with an average student loan debt of $32,521.

And now, as many of us prepare for vacations beyond the backyard, an important PSA from your newly acquired pandemic friends, your plants, brought to you by Toonstack: Dude, just water me regularly.
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