Trenton School Withdrawal
(Trenton) – A group studying school funding in Trenton has urged the town to withdraw from AOS 91 which includes the four towns on Mt. Desert Island. The Ellsworth American reports the town’s School Evaluation Options Committee made its recommendation to the Board of Selectmen this week, and also urged the Trenton School Committee to take a no confidence vote against the superintendent of schools. The group is not an official town government committee, and says it is looking for ways to try to save money on education costs.
MDI – COVID
(Bar Harbor) – Mt. Desert Island High School says some teachers and students are isolating after they were in close contact with someone who tested positive for Coronavirus. WVII-TV reports high school families got an e-mail from Principal Matt Haney saying he expects school to reopen as normal on Monday. He did not identify the infected person as a student or staff member, and said 3-staff members and 8-students will be in quarantine.
Ellsworth Public Library – January
(Ellsworth) Many people, especially in the socially-distancing age of COVID, are feeling the post-holiday blues. The Ellsworth Public Library and Friends in Action are partnering to bring folks together via Zoom for an Over-50 Coffee Hour during the month of January. Spokesperson Abby Morrow tells Star 97.7, it’s a chance to relax and re-engage with others. The Coffee Hour is free, and you can participate by phone or via Zoom. Register on the library’s website, or call the library for more information.
(Augusta) Evidence that the coronavirus is showing variance has spurred concern among people worldwide. Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says the spike in new cases in Maine is likely not related to the new strains. Shah says the Maine CDC is working with Jackson Lab and the U.S. CDC to monitor variants, which he feels are likely to arrive in Maine in the near future.
(Augusta) Maine’s DHHS Commissioner has praised Maine’s Congressional delegation for continuing to work hard to secure funding and supplies for Maine’s Coronavirus vaccine rollout. But Jeanne Lambrew says resource allocation remains elusive. Lambrew says the state looks forward to learning about that amount and will use it wisely, but that allocations promised by the federal government back in September have yet to be fully realized. Lambrew said the CDC and DHHS will continue to act and implement the state’s vaccine program to the best of their ability and hope the promised resources come.
Berwick Fire Investigated
(Berwick) A domestic dispute at a residence in Berwick brought Fire Marshal’s Office investigators to a home yesterday. State Public Safety Department spokeswoman Katy England tells Star 97.7 police responded to reports of a dispute involving two men. While there, they noticed a fire inside. One of the men was transported to an area hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Fire Marshals are investigating the cause of that blaze.
CDC Stats – New Year’s Eve
(Augusta) The year of the pandemic ended with 702 new cases of Coronavirus reported across the state, bringing the total number of cases since the outbreak began in Maine to 24,204. The Maine CDC on Thursday reports another 13 Mainers have died from coronavirus-related illnesses, which brings the death toll from the virus to 347 since record-keeping began in March. Recovery numbers are no longer being accurately reported due to a change in contact tracing protocol.
2021 Comes in With Storms
(Maine) 2021 will likely storm into Maine with back to back squalls this weekend. Saturday morning is expected to bring rain and sleet along the coast, and snow inland – in places up to 3 to 6 inches; more in the higher elevations. The state will get a brief respite Saturday night, but a second storm expected Sunday into Monday will look much Saturday’s tempest. Temperatures are expected to top off in the 30’s all three days.
Bar Harbor to Build Own Fiber Network
(Bar Harbor) The Town of Bar Harbor may fund the construction and installation of its own fiber network. The Mount Desert Islander reports the town anticipates a franchise agreement change with Spectrum, prompting the project, which would cost the town $750,000. The project would connect the 20 town-owned buildings, including the transfer station, high school and emergency services. The Communications and Technologies Committee said the town should eventually be able to attract one or more companies interested in investing as partners and sharing the costs of building and maintaining the network. The project will come before voters in June at the annual Town Meeting.
Maine DOL Stats
(Augusta) Mainers filed about 2700 initial claims for state unemployment insurance and 1800 initial claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for the week ending December 26th. The Maine Department of Labor says the state typically sees increases in claims this time of year due to seasonal layoffs that occur every winter, such as in accommodations, eating and drinking establishments, construction, landscaping and temporary help. Maine DOL is currently working to implement the new federal unemployment legislation and urges claimants who are still unemployed and receiving benefits under federal programs to continue to file weekly certifications, even though they may see no active claim on their claim summary screen temporarily.
Mills to Swear in Shenna Bellows
(Augusta) Governor Janet Mills will swear in Secretary of State Shenna Bellows Monday, with a formal acceptance ceremony scheduled for noon in the House Chamber of the Maine State House. Bellows will be Maine’s first female Secretary of State and the 50th person elected to the office. Bellows, who grew up in Hancock previously served two terms in the Maine Senate from 2016-2020 and most recently worked as Executive Director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine.
Island Explorer to Run with Fewer Passengers
(ANP) The fare-free Island Explorer Bus Service succumbed to the pandemic and did not run at all during the 2020 season. But Acadia National Park officials say the buses will run with fewer people and fewer routes in 2021. The Mount Desert Islander reports the transports generally carry up to 43 passengers, with 30 seated and 13 standing in the aisles. 2021 will see that number limited to 12 people per bus. Although routes are not yet finalized, Island Explorer passage is expected to concentrate on routes within the park – the Park Loop Road, a shuttle between Jordan Pond and the Hulls Cove Visitors Center, and a route that runs from the Bar Harbor Village Green to the Visitors Center.
WinterApp Offers “Pay What You Can” Memberships
(New England) The WinterKids App is the perfect way to begin the New Year with outdoor activity. WinterKids is a nonprofit organization that helps children to develop healthy lifelong habits through education and fun outdoor winter activity. The app is full of free and discounted winter sports opportunities, and a family membership covering a family of five, which is normally $35 per family, is now “name your price”, including free membership if needed. Spokeswoman Julie Mulkern tells Star 97.7, WinterKids expects 10 thousand families in Maine, New Hampshire, and Michigan to participate in winter activities this year through the App, which is available in the App Store or Google Play.
(Lamoine) – One of the owners of the Gateway Lobster Pound in Trenton has died after a short battle with Coronavirus at his winter home in Florida. Dick Harding was 89-years old. Harding and his wife Joyce employed countless local high school students in their first summer jobs over the past 50 years. His daughter, Michelle Beal, served for several years as Ellsworth’s City Manager.
- The Patriots will close out their season against the Jets this weekend. Neither team will make the playoffs.
- The Celtics take on the Pistons in Detroit tonight.
- College Football playoffs today include #4 Notre Dame against #1 Alabama while # 2 Clemson hosts #3 Ohio State.