News from Maine’s Island and Coastal Communities volume 36, № 4
published by the island institute
New lobster size rules considered
n june 2022 n free circulation: 50,000
Federal commission looking at larger minimums By Stephen Rappaport
t never rains but it pours. That’s the way New England lobstermen already grappling with the May 1 deadline to comply with new rules aimed at protecting right whales must be feeling. The latest challenge is that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has put changing the gauge—the measure of the minimum and maximum carapace lengths for legal-sized lobsters—back on the table. In January, the commission’s lobster management board renewed discussions of a modification of the fishery management plan that controls lobster fishing in waters between Virginia and the Canadian border. Consideration of an addendum began in 2017 but was sidetracked as the commission focused on right whale issues. There are seven lobster conservation management areas between Virginia and the Canadian border, each with its own distinct rules governing the gauge, the requirement to clip a “V-notch” in the tail fins of egg-bearing female lobsters and throw back marked females with or without eggs, the maximum
With the warmer weather and tourism season approaching, the lobster industry is getting into high gear. Here, Dan Debord, who sometimes works as a sternman on Frenchboro, checks out the harbor last summer. FILE PHOTO: JACK SULLIVAN
number of traps allowed each lobsterman, and other management measures. Area 1 includes the Gulf of Maine from Cape Cod to the Canadian border out to about 50 miles offshore. Area 3 covers the offshore waters from Virginia to the to the boundary with Area 1 in the Gulf of Maine. About 93% of all U.S. lobster landings come from the combined Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank lobster
stock found in Area 1 and the Gulf of Maine segment of Area 3. Maine lobstermen catch the vast majority of those lobsters—last year nearly 109 million pounds worth some $731 million. Kathleen Reardon, chief lobster scientist for the Maine Department of Marine Resources and chairwoman of the ASMFC lobster board’s technical committee, said the continued on page 6
Lobster’s claw-hold on Maine is strong Impact of fishery goes beyond big-dollar landings By Melissa Waterman
ow important is the lobster fishery to the Maine coast? What will be the economic impact of a reduction in the harvest from regulations or a changing Gulf
of Maine? How is lobstering integrated into the state’s identity? One number suggests answers: $1 billion dollars. That’s the amount generated each year by the Maine lobster fishery supply chain, according to a 2018 study by Colby College
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economics professor Michael Donihue. The figure includes the fishery’s many ancillary businesses and services. “Maine’s iconic lobster industry is arguably the most visible, and perhaps the most economically important asset for the state,” the study stated. Staggering as that figure may seem, it just begins to touch upon the real value of the fishery to the state. Lobster is not simply a much-desired seafood. In fact, lobster infuses myriad sectors of Maine’s economy, from real estate and hospitality businesses to trucking firms and Mom-and-Pop restaurants. And yet it is more than an economic driver of the state’s economy. If the lobster fishery vanished from Maine, an inexpressible element of the state’s identity would disappear as well. “There is no doubt that the lobster industry in Maine is among the most—if not the most—important in the state in terms of economic impact and cultural identity,” according to the Colby study.
According to the Maine Office of Tourism, between May and August 2021, approximately 10.1 million people visited the state. A survey of visitors showed that 64% were here for food and culinary experiences. Among that number, 42% said that they came to eat lobster. Between September and November 2021, that percentage was even higher. Seventy-eight percent of those visiting said food and culinary experiences were their top activities; of those, 52% said eating lobster was their primary aim. For some, however, eating lobster, while important, pales in comparison to their pleasure in seeing lobster boats and lobstermen at work, at seeing a world in which each lobsterman is his or her own boss. Tourism Office data show that for many, it is Maine’s fishing communities that draw them to the coast, in continued on page 6
The Working Waterfront . june 2022
A taste of the (farmed) sea
Aquaculturists share their bounty at Portland event PHOTO ESSAY BY KELLI PARK The Maine Aquaculture Association hosted a tasting event at Portland’s Rosemont Market & Wine Bar on April 27. Among the participants offering their produce were Briana Warner and Matt Haight of Atlantic Sea Farms; Andrew Lively of Cooke Aquaculture; American Unagi; Greg Foote of Dirigo Marine Resources (Little Busters Oysters); Owen Heil of Spartan Sea Farms; and Matt Moretti of Bangs Island Mussels. The Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Exposition offered media an overview and sampling of diverse species of Maine aquaculture.
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The Working Waterfront . june 2022
A survey of recent Maine settlement Sideshots plots some of the state’s cultural divides Sideshots: Stories from a Land Surveyor’s Traverse through the District of Maine By John T. Mann, illustrated by Earle Mitchell (2020)
Review by Dana Wilde IN THE 1970S, Maine was changing, especially along the coast. After nearly a century of being a summer destination for tourists and hideout for the well-to-do, it had transformed, in trendy minds, into a place to settle. The settlers from away were a mixture of people wanting out of suburbia, cities, other dead-end lives into natural settings they could make their own. Back-to-the-land hippies decamped for the woods. Well-to-do summer people bought year-round houses along the coast. Yuppies made for suddenly cool Portland. They started taking over the social scenes,
institutions, and governments of their new homes. “Coastal properties,” John Mann writes in his book Sideshots: Stories from a Land Surveyor’s Traverse through the District of Maine, “were the first to be swallowed up by the new arrivals with their push to ‘save’ the rural nature of the towns they were adopting.” Mann grew up in Freeport on land his family had worked since the 18th century. In the late 1970s he was a young guy starting his own family and trying to figure out how to make a traditional living in a modernizing world. In Freeport and on the coast, he says, “the pressure of subdivision regulations, arbitrary zoning requirements, loss of the town meeting form of local governance.” “I reckoned,” he explains, “that a 20-mile relocation inland might turn back the cultural clock 20 years—time enough to maybe raise a family and give them a chance to enter adulthood debt-free and grounded in old Maine traditions.” So he bought a farmhouse in Bowdoin, and set to work. Sideshots tells stories of Mann’s life and adventures as a surveyor in the backwoods. He takes us through the fascinating details of sorting out
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property lines whose descriptions go back generations and spends even more time telling us about the people who live there. In surveying, “sideshots” are “points along the way that may be of interest, helpful, or even critical to understanding the property being surveyed.” In this book, the lay of the land is practically identical to the lay of the people. While cast as an informal guide to surveying told in funny and sometimes poignant anecdotes, this book really provides an inside story of what’s happened in backwoods Maine over the last roughly 50 years. If you’re paying attention, it’s possible to see in these pages the long, winding road from midcentury Maine, through Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America,” to Trump’s anti-government appeal. “New folks want town gum’ment to do everything for ‘em,” a fed up old Freeport guy tells Mann, circa 1979. Because the trail is implicit, it’s hard to know if Mann thinks of the last five years as a fast-approaching dead end or more morning. And to be sure, this is a rough-hewn book, from typography to writing. You have to already know what
Maine’s backwoods accents sound like to decipher the book’s orthographic representation of them. The traditional side of rural Maine poverty is well-drawn, but other sides aren’t—drug addiction does not come up, nor do bitterly mean incidents such as the shotgunning of a Muslim family’s sign for their new halal butcher shop, which happened in my town just a few years ago. Mann is a natural-born storyteller. His affability permeates his characters, and there are descriptive passages of woods, fields, dooryards, and Casco Bay that evoke the feel and mood of Maine as vividly as anything I’ve read. Line drawings by Earle Mitchell enhance the authenticity. “‘Who ahh all those people and wheyr-rahh they all goin’?’” 90-yearold Roger Houston asks, while looking out at the cars rushing by on the road to Lewiston in 1983. A similar question might be asked looking in at Grampa Houston. Sideshots answers it with an experienced surveyor’s accuracy. Dana Wilde lives in Troy. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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A prince of tides builds his own pools Intertidal zone rich with biological magic Life Between the Tides By Adam Nicolson (2021)
Review by Tina Cohen ADAM NICOLSON is a British writer who’s written on history, landscape, and literature, so it is no surprise that his book seemingly focused on coastal ecology— life between the tides—would include those other interests as well. He begins with an introduction to the bay, part of the Sound of Mull, where a seasonal home of his in-laws is located in Argyll, Scotland. His reconnection there after each absence is a ritual, going down to the rocky beach and wading into the shallows. “This is the world of flux and if I stand still in those shallows for a minute I am surrounded by the flitter and skitter of life,” he writes. His poetic cataloging of sea life there follows and serves to introduce readers
to what will be looked at in closer detail in chapters to come. There are the mounds of seaweed on the beach; “they look like piles of day-old salad.” And a “barnacle-encrusted rock, a bruised and battered lump of the ancient rocks brought here by the glaciers...” In the water, he sees “all kinds of resilient and defended creatures,” including hermit crabs, winkles, whelks, the brown shrimp Crangon crangon, and various small fish including the common goby and the dab. In the thick kelp fronds, “the most unlikely drawing-room colors erupt on a damp Scottish coastline. The coralline makes a vermilion mat where the limpets dig their nests. Venetianstriped top shells crawl between the dried-blood red of the beadlet anemones. Bright yellow and green sponges line the polychrome pools.” Notable are pink-fleshy starfish, purple-black giant anemones, and the invasive green crab, “blotched and mottled, with a whole night sky of spots and patches on his carapace.” Well-versed in the literature of poets and philosophers, Nicolson includes the likes of Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, Homer, Seamus Heaney, Walt Whitman, William Wordsworth,
Socrates, Plato, and Heidegger. But his main focus is researching scientific history and studies drawn from marine biologists past and present, in service of building three tidal pools on his shoreline. He’d asked for government approval of his small-scale project and was a bit miffed at the response—unimpressed consent, with a comparison of its likely impact to children’s play. Nicolson’s view was that he was building habitat as a laboratory, a place for observation and inspiration. His study of the pools and relevant data led to appreciating what experts had elucidated: for example, prawns are able to feel anxiety, green crabs are tender and solicitous in their mating, and sea urchins and periwinkles can smell ripped flesh and thereby escape when one of their own is being injured. These are only a few of the chapters. From ancient shell middens and sacrifices to the god of the sea to modern-day oil spills and climate change, most of his subjects, though set in Scotland, will resonate with readers more familiar with Maine’s coast. The book is full of maps, graphs, drawings, and color plates with helpful captions, and while some of the information—for a lay person—can
be dense and challenging, I’ll suggest that the overall experience, making your way through the book, will be worthwhile even if there are some momentary struggles (there were for me) with uncertain understanding or feeling buried by excessive detail. My advice: don’t expect to understand everything. Accept the author’s sense of adventure, his playing with ideas and language. Here’s Nicolson metaphysically musing about his project, perhaps with a relevant warning about his book as well: “To make a rock pool was in fact to make something no less complex than the ocean itself. But here is the dizzying part. Fractal theory suggests that the closer you look at something, the more it remains unknown. Knowledge cannot embrace what it seeks to know. It can only sit alongside the world, contingent, touching it, maybe, at one or two points but shrinking beside the unaddressable and limitless actuality of things. “The rock pool was not going to be a tiny, graspable fragment of the universe. It was going to be as unknowable as the universe itself.” Tina Cohen is a seasonal resident of Vinalhaven.
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continued from page 1 proposed changes are aimed at conserving a spawning stock biomass—the number of lobsters capable of reproducing—sufficient to sustain an approximately 100-million-pound fishery in Areas 1 and 3. Over the past several years, she said, measures scientists use to determine the health of the lobster stock—settlement of juveniles on the ocean floor, fall and spring trawl surveys and the survey of “ventless” traps from which undersized lobsters can’t escape— all indicate the potential for a decline in the lobster population and landings. Stonington lobsterman Hilton Turner, president of the Downeast Lobstermen’s Association, is skeptical of the data. He said the ventless traps he hauled for the last DMR survey were “stuffed” with undersized lobsters. After the traps had been on the bottom just 24 hours, “there were 30 shorts (undersized lobsters) in one and ten to 15 in the other two.”
Currently, the minimum legal carapace length for lobsters in Area 1 is 3 ¼ inches, the maximum is 5 inches. In Area 3, the minimum is 3 17/32 inches, the maximum 6 ¾ inches. The ASMFC is considering two gauge change options, and the possible survey results that might trigger them. Option 1 would increase the minimum gauge in Area 1 to 3 5/16 inches with no gauge change in Area 3. Option 2 would increase the minimum gauge in Area 1 to 3 3/8 inches and decrease the maximum gauge in Area 3 by three-quarters of an inch to 6 inches. Increasing the Area 3 maximum gauge would protect the relatively few large broodstock lobsters that bear millions of eggs. But, Reardon said, increasing the minimum gauge in Area 1 where lobsters are increasingly starting to bear eggs at a smaller size, “would have the maximum biological impact” on the stock. In the short term, she said, lobstermen might land fewer, but heavier, lobsters.
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Turner sees any gauge changes as a matter of fairness. “Don’t just raise Maine,” he said. “I think it [the gauge] should be the same everywhere. We can’t sell a 6-pound lobster in Maine, but they can in Rhode Island,” whose lobstermen fish in waters where the maximum gauge is 6 ¾ inches compared with 5 inches in Maine. “It’s really too soon to say on the ASMFC stuff,” Maine Lobstermen’s Association Executive Director Patrice McCarron said in mid-April, but it’s not too early for lobstermen to be concerned. “When I attended the ASMFC lobster board meeting when they were voting to move the proposal forward,” McCarron said, “my comment was that the timing of the draft addendum is extremely difficult for the lobster industry and there is potential that changes resulting from future rounds of whale regulations may actually address ASMFC’s concerns.”
In the summer tourists stream into Boothbay Harbor. Many arrive at Atlantic Edge Lobster to gaze continued from page 1 at the lobster boats, take pictures, and enjoy a steamed part because activities in the small harbors are lobster, which Atlantic Edge employees prepare every so unlike where the visitors call home and in afternoon at 4 p.m. “People really want to learn about part because it reflects a way of life uncommon lobstering. Yes, they ask silly questions but it’s fun to in today’s computer- and service-driven world. show people the business,” Page said. And that business is certainly a family enterUniversity of Maine anthropologist Jim Acheson captured that allure long ago in his book The prise. Kristin runs the office, Nick and Andy and their father fish, and their mother and cousins help Lobster Gangs of Maine. “Fishermen tend to present themselves to tourists out as needed. “It’s definitely a generational thing,” Kristin as men who earn their living from a relentless and icy sea with nothing but their skill, courage, and laughed. “Everyone helps.” The generational aspect of Maine’s lobster busitenacity… the lobster fisherman embodies many of our most cherished virtues. He is, along with the nesses is echoed throughout the coast. Whether farmer and the rancher, the quintessential American.” it’s family-run Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Atlantic Edge Lobster Company in Boothbay Bernard or the larger Ready Seafood in Saco, the Harbor is an example of the lobster fishery’s dual owners say it’s an industry rich in history and sense of community. economic and cultural appeal. “Lobstering is the core and essence of the cultural Eddie Tibbetts and his wife Kathy ran the heritage that draws people lobster wharf and business for here,” said Sam Belknap, senior 19 years before selling it to Nick community development officer and Kristin Page and Nick’s “Lobstering is the core at the Island Institute. “People brother Andy in 2021. Tibbetts find a connection to it.” had started out as a youngster and essence of the Beset by new restrictive regulaworking at Wotton’s Wharf cultural heritage that tions and troubled by a changing across the harbor, learning the marine environment, Maine’s ropes of the lobster business. draws people here.” lobstermen rightly wonder if the He and Kathy had created a fishery and the many businesses successful company buying it supports can survive for the and selling wholesale and retail lobsters. Nick and Andy’s father Phil, a Boothbay next generation. If not, the character of the Maine coast will be forever altered. lobsterman, sold to Tibbetts for 30 years. “Lobstering is not just a job, it is an amazing way When Eddie began to think of retiring, he knew he wanted to sell to a local person, and of life,” said Dustin Delano, a fourth-generation so he was receptive to the offer from the two lobsterman from Friendship. “It keeps our young brothers. In January 2021, during a global people right here in Maine and contributes to our pandemic, Atlantic Edge Lobster changed hands. local and state economies. I am really proud to be “We are open seven days a week, year-round,” part of a lobstering heritage that has supported this said Kristin Page. “We do wholesale and retail, state for centuries.” plus shipping.” The company sells live and cooked lobsters and a selection of picked lobster meat, shipped to customers throughout the country. This story first appeared in Landings, the “I’d say about 75% of our business is wholesale. publication of the Maine Lobstermen’s Community In the summer we use all our product. In the fall Alliance, and is the final in a series of articles and winter we sell to businesses in the Portland about the industry. To read the entire series, visit area,” Page continued. micalliance.org/news/.
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HOUSE AND GARDEN— THE CASTINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY will host its Castine House & Garden Tour on July 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour includes ten stately homes and six glorious gardens overlooking Castine Bay. In addition, a special luncheon will be catered at the Castine Inn by advance ticket purchase with seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Lead sponsors for the event are Bangor Savings Bank and Saltmeadow Properties and the media sponsors are Down East and Maine Homes magazines. Tickets are $45 through July 10 and $50 from July 11 through the day of the tour. Tickets can be purchased at castinehousetour.org or by calling the office at 207-3264118. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the event which will be held rain or shine. To learn more about the tour visit castinehousetour.org. For further information about exhibits, events, and the historical society visit castinehistoricalsociety.org, call 207-326-4118, or email@example.com.
‘On-demand’ lobster gear permitted Feds OK testing of technology offshore By Craig Idlebrook
Massachusetts group aiming to help develop lobster traps that eliminate standing buoy lines recently received a split decision about whether the trap technology could be tested in waters closed to fishing as a protection for endangered North Atlantic right whales. On April 1, Pioneers for a Thoughtful Coexistence was informed that Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries had denied its request to set so-called on-demand traps during a planned closure in state waters to protect the endangered whales. Then, on April 26, federal regulators gave the same group a temporary exemption to test the technology in federal waters that would otherwise be closed to lobstering. According to a Boston Globe report, the latter authorization represents the first time acoustically signaled on-demand lobster fishing has been allowed in federal waters. The small group of Massachusetts lobstermen have been working with researchers in recent years to test the new technology, which uses acoustic technology to release a device on a trap to make it accessible on the surface. Proponents of the technology say it will reduce the risk of rope entanglement for North Atlantic right whales, which are in danger of extinction. The group already has been working with this technology in state and federal waters, said Lori Caron, who coordinates work for Pioneers for a Thoughtful Coexistence, and she said it was time to take the next step in testing the technology. “What we were asking for is just a natural step,” Caron said. “Now it’s time to move it into a realtime environment in a safe and controlled fashion.” She said the group was surprised by the denial letter written by Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries director Daniel J. McKiernan. In his letter, McKiernan said that while it’s already been proven that on-demand traps could be successfully “deployed, located, and retrieved,”
the proposed study was not designed in a way that would “contribute meaningfully to further understanding the efficacy of ropeless fishing technology and addressing the key research questions necessary to determining the commercial viability and broader development of this gear.” To Michael Moore, a veterinary scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and someone who has been working on the development of on-demand fishing gear, the state’s decision was a reflection of local politics. The proposal had been opposed by the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, and many of the state’s lobstermen spoke out against it during a public hearing in January. Those fishermen who oppose acoustic on-demand trap technology say it is too costly, might jeopardize the safety of lobstermen, and could create gear conflict. Moore believes the state was bowing to this pressure with its decision. “To put it bluntly, Massachusetts DMF is answerable to the taxpayers of Massachusetts. Their job is to promote the lobster industry and conserve it,” he said. Federal regulators took a different view of the proposal and granted three ships a temporary exemption through the end of April to test acoustic release systems in federal waters. Caron, speaking shortly after the federal decision was released, said that while it was nice to get approval, she was concerned the decision would not leave enough time for her group to fully utilize the exemption. The group was only able to test out the traps on April 30, the very last day of the exemption. Moore said advocates of acoustic-release technology are continuing to work to make it more effective, affordable, and palatable for lobster fishermen. He said while the federal decision represented a small victory, he believes the best way forward is to win over skeptical lobstermen with the technology. “We need to pick away at [their concerns],” he said. “The challenge now is to evolve the system to make it [desirable].”
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Maine—as it should be, as it is
Maine Times, Down East two sides of same coin By Tom Groening ON A RECENT rainy day, I was able to indulge in two interests—history and journalism. I was researching 1980s history for a story for our annual Island Journal about working waterfront access in Portland. Those here then will remember the watershed moment when condos rose on Central Wharf, a key access point for fishermen. The very tangible, very visible development silenced the “It can’t happen here” refrain. My research took me to the University of Maine’s Folger Library where the late Maine Times archives are available on microfilm. I felt like a character in a murder mystery movie, slowing advancing the 35-milimeter film through the reader, squinting at the screen. I had a specific story in mind, though I was only guessing that it ran in the mid1980s. The cover of one edition of Maine Times featured a photo of those condos, and the story inside, as I remember it, told how they got there. Sadly, after almost three hours, I didn’t find the story I saw in my mind’s eye, but the trip down memory lane was interesting. Maine Times was launched in 1968 by Peter Cox and John Cole and it
self-identified as alternative journalism. Its tagline was “Maine’s Weekly Journal of News and Opinion,” but it was so much more. The short, and probably over-generalized version of the story is that Maine’s daily newspapers were happy to give paper companies, textile mills, and shoe factories a pass on environmental and labor failings, and in fact saw themselves as keepers of the status quo. As the back-to-the-land movement took form, many disillusioned young people came here and brought their political values with them. Maine Times stepped into a very deep and wide niche. My wife and I came to Maine in 1983 for a teaching job at a private boarding school. The first Christmas we were there our “bonus” was a subscription to Down East magazine. I loved it. The stories and beautiful photography introduced us to the places we would explore and come to love. We learned about the land we bought in Belfast through an ad in Down East. I first saw Maine Times a few years later and remember reacting as if I’d been seeing only the pretty front yard, and finally looking out the back window to see all sorts of ugliness,
conflict, and degradation. In some ways, the publications were two sides of the same coin. Maine Times typically featured an in-depth cover story, and its timing was often right on the money, tackling an issue just as it came to a boil. But it also included good columns, excellent art and film reviews, environmental briefs, economic news, and top-notch photography. Sometimes, the 2,500-word stories about how the state was doing a poor job regulating the insurance industry, or an equally long piece on the inner chaos at some paper company, had my eyes glazing over. But I never stopped reading it. And I still enjoy Down East. Davis Thomas was editor when I first saw it, and then Dale Kuhnert took over in the early 1990s. He had a knack for finding a fresh, engaging way to look at a town or region, and his writers acknowledged their challenges. Still, you’d never see a mobile home or a collection of junked cars in the magazine. Faced with the bread-and-butter real estate advertising going to the internet and a readership aging out, editors tried to bring an edge the magazine, though I suspect younger folks weren’t biting.
Current editor Brian Kevin seems to have hit a sweet spot, innovating while also including the traditional history pieces and the more recent mainstay of food and drink stories. Maine Times stumbled into the early 2000s under new owners and finally closed. One reason the statewide weekly sputtered is that the dailies caught up, each hiring environmental reporters and other specialty beat writers. David Platt, who edited The Working Waterfront and Island Journal for nearly two decades and worked at Maine Times before joining the Island Institute, was the Bangor Daily News’ second environmental reporter. These two publications did Maine proud, and their existence spoke to two realities—Maine is beautiful, and summer visitors aren’t being fooled into being smitten by it. And Maine also has deep economic and environmental fissures that need to be plumbed by a robust press. Tom Groening is editor of The Working Waterfront. He can be reached at: email@example.com
String theory—violin lessons embraced Learning an instrument has appeal across broad spectrum Reflections is written by Island Fellows, recent college grads who do community service work on Maine islands and in coastal communities through the Island Institute, publisher of The Working Waterfront.
By Anne McKee “VIOLIN LESSONS at the Islesboro Community Center for all ages, free of charge! Sign up with Anne McKee by June 1.” Last spring, I plastered posters at all the key Islesboro spots—the post office, community center, grocery stores, school, and ferry terminal—as well on as the community Facebook page, a popular hub of island discourse. I wasn’t sure what level of interest to expect. Perhaps five or six students, I thought. Certainly not more than ten. Well, it turns out I was wrong. By the beginning of last summer, 18 students had signed up to take violin lessons. And now, after nearly a year of teaching violin on Islesboro, that number has risen to 23. I was as excited as I was daunted. Yes, I had played violin for nearly 20 years and taken some Suzuki violin teacher
training courses. But never had I run my own teaching studio. With the support of the Island Institute and a whole lot of hard work, things came together. I rearranged the community center’s wellness room to double as my teaching space. I mapped out how I would fit all these students in for weekly lessons, alongside my other work involving food security and renewable energy. With support from my fellowship advisors, I used some of my weekly hours to teach lessons. Matching students with instruments required some sleuthing, but soon, violins of all sizes filled the community center. I pulled many violins from the back of the school music closet. Some were low-cost rentals from mainland music organizations I knew. Others were loaned from friends, found buried in attics, or even purchased outright. It still sometimes feels miraculous that all students have a violin in their hands. One of the most surprising parts of the violin program at its onset was just how varied the violin student group was. The students spanned all age ranges, financial backgrounds, and locations across the island. Some families signed up to learn together.
The existence of this large, diverse group of students speaks not only to my incredible island community, but to the merits of removing barriers to music education. By bringing lessons to an unbridged island, and offering them free of charge, I have been able to reach people who would not have otherwise gotten the opportunity to try violin. This program is not just about setting students up with good violin technique, though. I believe music can inspire empathy and build community. Using music, I teach my students how to create beauty in the world. And the lesson program has become an intergenerational learning community. In addition to weekly lessons, students perform together for seasonal recitals, well-attended by islanders. Six-yearolds and 60-year-olds play ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ side by side. Families practice violin together. My middle school violinists effectively turned the school band into an orchestra. Sadly, my fellowship on the island ends in August, but I am excited to announce that on-island violin lessons will continue through a partnership with Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School, a power-house Midcoast Maine organization. Starting in September,
Bay Chamber will ferry out a teacher for weekly lessons at the community center. Because the funding for free lessons came from my fellowship hours, these lessons can no longer be offered for free. But I am working to make this program financially possible for every family. Bay Chamber’s scholarship program and support from island donors will help make lessons accessible for all. Many of my most difficult good-byes will be to my students. They bring me so much joy and have even inspired me to pursue a music master’s degree next year. But though I will be returning to “America” (as we like to quip on Islesboro), this little island will always be a part of me. And I will be back. Anne McKee graduated from Bowdoin College with a major in history and environmental studies and a minor in Japanese. She works on Islesboro with the Islesboro Community Center and Islesboro Central School on food sustainability, youth programming, energy systems, and music education.
www.workingwaterfront.com . june 2022
CANADIAN CROSSING— With COVID restrictions easing, Canadians are again streaming into Maine. This photo shows the view from St. Stephen on the Canadian side of the border, across the St. Croix River from Calais, probably in the 1950s. The car in the foreground appears to be a Cadillac.
Offshore oil drilling—it could happen here Senate has opportunity to ban dangerous extraction By Carolyn Lambert I’VE HAD THE PRIVILEGE of serving churches along the Southern Maine coast for over 30 years. I’ve also had the privilege of traveling, often leading groups on pilgrimage or mission trips. I’ve encountered compassionate, wise, and just people in every community, and I’ve encountered the breath-taking and awe-inspiring work of God’s hands in both the faces of the people as well as in the natural world. And yet, as far as I’ve traveled, there is no place where I’ve encountered more amazing people or more awe-inspiring beauty than right here in Maine. I love Maine, its people, and its landscapes, from the majestic mountains to the rocky coast—and everything in between. But the people of Maine—especially those who live along the coast—and the beauty of our shores are at risk. I recognize the holy and intricate nature of this remarkable coastal ecosystem, and I’m compelled to speak out about the danger facing our communities. I join with other faith leaders and scientists to raise awareness about this real and tangible threat. Twelve years ago, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig spewed 200 million gallons of toxic oil into the Gulf of Mexico. I can only imagine the grief those coastal communities felt as they watched thick oil sludge turn the fertile wetlands and vibrant shores into a toxic waste zone. Faith leaders guided those communities through the difficult months and years following the disaster, Island Institute Board of Trustees Emily B. Lane, Chair Kristin Howard, Vice Chair Charles Owen Verrill, Jr. Secretary Douglas Henderson, Treasurer, Finance Chair Carol White, Programs Chair Megan McGinnis Dayton, Philanthropy & Communications Chair Shey Conover, Governance Chair Michael P. Boyd, Clerk Sebastian Belle David Cousens Michael Felton Nathan Johnson Bryan Lewis Michael Sant Barbara Kinney Sweet Kate Vogt Donna Wiegle John Bird (honorary)
and now we must speak out to prevent an oil spill disaster like this from coming to Maine’s coast. Despite knowing painfully well the devastation that oil spills cause to communities, it was proposed just three years ago that our own coastal waters be opened for new offshore drilling. The perilous consequences of dirty and dangerous offshore drilling, like oil spills and climate pollution, poison God’s creation. It is well documented that oil spills can wreak havoc on ecosystems, local businesses, and residents alike. God created the oceans with an abundance of life, and as stewards of God’s earth, we must protect our shared home. Our oceans provide food sources and livelihoods for millions in the U.S., and our clean coast economy in Maine supports around 60,000 jobs through fishing, tourism, and recreation. From Acadia National Park to Kennebunkport, our sandy beaches, rugged bluffs, and charming seaside towns would be threatened by caustic oil spills if offshore drilling came to our coast. Offshore drilling also generates greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Any new oil and gas drilling offshore inevitably increases climate pollution. The climate crisis is already wreaking havoc in Maine as increasingly extreme weather expands its costly impact, and as these climate catastrophes become more frequent, their impacts will continue to disproportionately affect underresourced communities. Instead of extracting more of the resources that threaten God’s creation, we must use the abundant
renewable resources we’ve been provided to power a clean energy future. By harnessing the wind and sun, we can ensure that future generations will continue to share in God’s bounty. Our U.S. senators have been champions for protecting our coast from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling in the past, but this dire threat remains unresolved. Sens. Collins and King both cosponsored the New England Coastal Protection Act, which would have protected Maine by banning the expansion of drilling off our coast. That bill did not make it out of Congress, but they could soon have another opportunity to protect Maine’s shores. In November, the House of Representatives passed a budget reconciliation bill that would have protected the Atlantic, Pacific, and eastern Gulf of Mexico from offshore drilling. As the Senate negotiates its own budget reconciliation bill, there is a real possibility to enact these provisions. I, along with the Maine Council of Churches, urge Collins and King to fight for Maine’s coastal communities by ensuring budget reconciliation ends new leasing for offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Rev. Lambert is ordained in the Congregational, United Church of Christ and has served congregations in Kennebunkport, South Berwick, Portland, and Buxton. She currently serves as vice president of the Board of the Maine Council of Churches.
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Frenchman Bay fish farm terminated Chesapeake Bay going solar, money for young fishermen The controversial proposal by American Aquafarms to build a large in-the-water salmon farm is dead after state officials terminated the company’s application. The state Department of Marine Resources stopped processing the application for two 60-acre sites off Gouldsboro, the Bangor Daily News reports, because the company failed to select an approved source for its fish eggs. “The company can still submit an entirely new application,” the BDN reports, “but a restart would likely tack on several years to the permitting process. American Aquafarms wanted to establish 30 floating pens, each 150-feet wide. ********* The $1.5 trillion federal budget for the remainder of 2022 includes language encouraging Sea Grant programs, which are part of NOAA, “to provide funds for implementation of the Young Fishermen’s Development Act,” Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries (MCCF) director Paul Anderson writes in Stonington’s Island Ad-Vantages. The budget calls for spending up to $2 million annually for five years in programs aimed at training and building skills for young fishermen and aquaculturists. MCCF is working with Maine Sea Grant at the University of Maine and the Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association to conduct a statewide needs assessment for that training. ********* Maine’s herring fishery will receive $7.2 million in disaster assistance, Sen. Susan Collins announced. Atlantic herring is one of the primary bait sources used by Maine’s lobster fishery.
NOAA Fisheries made the award and it will work ********* with the Maine Department of Marine Resources to administer the funds. In 2020, Collins wrote the The Maine cod fishery landed its smallest catch ever Commerce Department in support of Gov. Janet in 2020, with just 58,730 pounds brought to port, Mills’ request for a declaration of fishery failure for according to the Associated Press. The poor catch is being attributed to more stringent regulations and a Maine’s Atlantic herring fishery. The 2018 stock assessment for Atlantic herring lack of fish. The 2020 catch is 20,000-plus pounds less than revealed a population reduction of more than 70 percent within five years. Given the low numbers, catch 2017, which had been the least productive year. The John Martin,by Bud Staples, Elsie Gillespie chat around the woodstove at the annual town meeting. fishery routinely topped 10 million pounds per year limits have been reduced more thanand 80 percent. in the 1980s and early 1990s. ********* ********* A Waldo County resident died after contracting the tick-borne Powassan virus, the Bangor Daily News Elvers, the small “glass” eels caught in Maine tidal rivers, are selling for $2,220 per pound, according to reported, the third such death in the last ten years. That victim “likely contracted the virus while the Maine Department of Marine Resources. As of in Maine,” public health officials said. Powassan early April, those with licenses to catch the eels had is transmitted to humans by deer and woodchuck already filled 80% of their quota. The eels are sold to Asian aquaculture companies ticks. Only 25 cases are reported across the U.S. each year, and just 14 have been recorded in Maine which raise them to maturity to be used as food. Value for the eels sank to $525 per pound in 2020, since 2010. “Ticks are active and looking for a host to bite right when the COVID-19 pandemic upset markets. now,” said Nirav D. Shah, the director of the Maine CDC. “I urge Maine people and visitors to take steps ********* that prevent tick bites.” When Ford reinvented and reintroduced its Bronco SUV, it may have considered filming ********* the vehicle cruising along the picturesque Loop The Bay Journal, which covers the Chesapeake Bay Road in Acadia National Park for a TV commerregion, reports that more than 800 solar projects in cial. Instead, a Bronco with out-of-state plates three states within the watershed are awaiting review. languished partially submerged through a couple Utility-scale projects in Maryland, Pennsylvania, of tides while parked on the gravel bar for which and Virginia, which include commercial rooftop, nearby Bar Island is named, according to the community solar, and solar storage proposals, “have Mount Desert Islander. And forgive us for burying the lede, but yes, the been waiting a year and often longer” for review work Levi Moulden driver was from New Jersey. to be completed. Bud Staples
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A panoramic image of Seal Harbor, made in August 1910. The photograph was taken from Graycliff, the Eugene Stuart Bristol cottage. The steamship Norumbega leaves the steamboat wharf and heads out of Seal Harbor Harbor. The steamship Sappho sits just outside the harbor. PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE SOUTHWEST HARBOR PUBLIC LIBRARY
MDI region’s history now gathered and shared History Trust collaborative preserves and digitizes collections By Raina Sciocchetti
istorical societies, libraries, and museums of the Mount Desert Island region have long been assembling evidence of local history in records and artifacts. Through the History Trust, these organizations are now working together to digitize, preserve, and share the results. The idea for the History Trust began to take shape nearly a decade ago when a group of island historical societies, libraries, museums, Acadia National Park, and College of the Atlantic came together seeking to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Mount Desert Island. Known as Friends of Island History, the group cited inspiration from the leaders of the land conservation movement, particularly those who recognized the importance of caring for the island and sparked the movement to place privately-owned lands into trust that ultimately led to the creation of Acadia National Park.
Friends of Island History formed to safeguard the island’s fragile historical resources. The group engaged a consulting firm to assess the conditions of their various historical collections. The study identified great need for acquisition policies, preservation measures, and management systems among at least half of the collections, with troubling backlogs in cataloguing impacting nearly all the organizations. The group began to work towards a common agenda for cooperative stewardship and by 2017 was meeting as the History Trust. Eleven founding members voted to join the new collaborative the following year. The organization was incorporated as a Maine nonprofit in 2020 and achieved federal 501(c)3 status in 2021. According to the History Trust’s mission, “The stewards of Mount Desert Island regional collections, united as the History Trust, work together to improve collections care, enhance digital and physical access, and engage the public to better understand and use these essential, irreplaceable historical and cultural resources.”
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A sightseeing boat is shown at Beal’s Fish Wharf in Southwest Harbor on June 14, 1938. PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE SOUTHWEST HARBOR PUBLIC LIBRARY.
The History Trust is not a historical society and does not hold a collection of its own. Instead, the organization supports the consortium of historical societies, libraries, and museums in the region in preserving and digitizing their own historical collections. The Trust utilizes Digital Archive, an online database of nearly 50,000 photographs, documents, and artifacts from the historical collections of History Trust members and others. When each organization The Trust utilizes digitizes records from its collection, it can add these Digital Archive, records to the collective database. As the history of the towns on Mount Desert an online database Island inevitably intertwine closely with the histoof nearly 50,000 ries of other nearby island and mainland communities, together they connect the pieces of a much photographs, larger story. documents, and In 2021, the Gouldsboro Historical Society became the 13th member of the History Trust and artifacts. the first member not located on Mount Desert Island or the Cranberry Isles. The History Trust defines its scope as communities adjacent to Frenchman’s Bay and Blue Hill Bay to acknowledge that the history of Mount Desert Island lives on and off the island. Anyone can use the digital archives (located at historytrust.org) and search among records from each collection. Perhaps one is seeking information about and photographs of the Norumbega, a steamer that ran for the Maine Central Railroad, providing passenger service around Frenchman’s Bay for 28 years. Searching for the Norumbega in the Digital Archives will produce a written history of the vessel from the Southwest Harbor Public Library’s collection, a photo of the crew from the Southwest Harbor Historical Society’s collection, and a series of striking images of the well-documented incident “Steamer Norumbega run aground on Clark Point” (collections of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, Northeast Harbor Library, Southwest Harbor Historical Society and Southwest Harbor Public Library), among other records. Beyond the Digital Archives, the History Trust has launched two virtual exhibits to share the history housed in local collections and draw attention to
A lobster wharf at Bernard with a view across to Bass Harbor. Photo by Willis Humphreys Ballard (1906–1980). PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE SOUTHWEST HARBOR PUBLIC LIBRARY.
A winter view of Bass Harbor from Harding’s Wharf in Bernard, by Willis Humphreys Ballard (1906–1980), February 1947. Built by brothers Charles and Clarence Harding, Harding’s Wharf is the site of one of the oldest wharves in Tremont. PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE SOUTHWEST HARBOR PUBLIC LIBRARY.
the wealth of historical resources available. It is worth noting that the History Trust is a volunteer-only organization and special projects like exhibits are largely grant funded. Individuals and businesses contribute to support the annual cost of the Digital Archive. By working together and stewarding the region’s historical collections, the History Trust is making strides to ensure that these resources are accessible now and for years to come. Raina Schiocchetti is an Island Fellow through the Island Institute, publisher of The Working Waterfront, working with the Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society.
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The Working Waterfront . june 2022
Becky Shepherd, owner of Wild Oats Bakery & Café.
Becky Shepherd, owner of Wild Oats Bakery & Café, helping a customer make a selection.
Businesses cleared for take-off Brunswick Landing thriving as business hub The former air base is home to a growing number of businesses. PHOTO ESSAY BY KELLI PARK
The clientele at Blue Dog Daycare.
Megan Osborne, owner of Blue Dog Daycare, with her two dogs.
www.workingwaterfront.com . june 2022
Nate Wildes, second from right, of Flight Deck Brewing with staff.
N ate Wildes, managing partner of Flight Deck Brewing.
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust staff, next to their office, the New Mainer Community Garden, and recreational trails.
Kristine Logan, executive director of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority at the Brunswick Executive Airport.
Read Rich, a veteran and assistant director of Midcoast Veterans Council, next to a 1978 P3 Orion Navy aircraft on Brunswick Landing.
Gary and Scott Favreau, brothers and third-generation owners of Bamforth Marine.
The Working Waterfront . june 2022
Our Island Communities Peter Kilgore’s island poetry Crackling words evoke ‘ravishing’ imagery By Dana Wilde
n some alternate history of Casco Bay, Peter Kilgore is the poet laureate of Long Island. His terse, descriptive lyrics written during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s evoke so purely the sights, sounds, and sensibilities of the island as experienced by human beings, if not cormorants, clams, and wind as well, that the island residents together with Portland’s sagacious cultural commissars assign him a sort of shaman-like status, in which he is responsible for caring, through words, for the psychic health and well-being of the island community. He is spectacularly successful. The vivid, concrete spirituality of his poetry in books like Drinking Wine Out of the Wind and poetic series such as “Island Poems” and “The quarry:west end:long island:fall,” draws from deep in his childhood riding Casco Bay Lines ferries between Portland and the island. He grew up in the Bayside neighborhood in the 1940s and ’50s, before urban renewal razed the elmlined Franklin and Wilmot street areas of the north side of the neck. His family kept a cottage on Long Island where he spent endless summers, “swimming at Fowler’s Beach, dancing at the VFW Hall, baseball games,” in the recollection of his second wife, Carol, an island resident who “fell in love with Peter when I was ten.” The “sweet, gentle poet,” as the Portland novelist Agnes Bushell would refer to him in the 1990s, is in high school a skilled baseball and basketball player,
then a graduate of Bowdoin College, and later a founding member of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, which eventually becomes Maine’s largest, most prestigious writers group. He joins the shapeshifting staff of Contraband, Portland’s most influential little magazine of the 1970s, and writes scores of poems, some published in chapbooks like Openings, River/Road, and The Bar Harbor Suite, in the Beat-influenced minimalist idiom of the time—very short lines and dazzling, clever imagery. His earlier books trace his experiences as a wilderness guide for excursions on the Allagash and St. John rivers. Later come the poems from the island, based on experiences of those brilliant moments of sea, wind, and shore that for centuries have struck human hearts on Maine’s coast, inscribed themselves on memory, and permeated the rest of life. Peter Kilgore’s gift is the ability to translate those inscriptions from his own psyche into words. In his taut phrases, the island transforms. “Jerry’s Point” is a place on Long Island’s west end that “I’ve known / since I walked here as a boy”, he says in “A Poem of Naming.” Then by the mid-1970s, memory and imagination assign the point a more powerful appellation: “the Place where Cormorants Cross.” We, many of us have in one way or another, wished for a shaman, maybe like a Wabanaki m’teoulin, to guide us through the deeply felt but dimly channeled sensibilities that arise while standing on a rockbound shore. The poet finds the translation of what
that world looks like—a name illuminates a place, and the place the name. Kilgore was consciously influenced by those Native voices who named and illuminated places in exactly this way. Machigonne, “Great Neck,” gets renamed Falmouth for colonial purposes, then Portland, then Munjoy Hill; then inversely Kilgore, descending down to his roots, renames Jerry’s Point, where cormorants cross. Drinking Wine Out of the Wind might have been the book to launch a laureate. It narrates a micro-odyssey
The summer of Cronkite By Richard Flagg
alter Cronkite was known as “The Most Trusted Man in America” when he was the anchor of CBS’s network news in the 1960s and ‘70s. His sign-off “and that’s the way it was” was recognizable to millions. Cronkite refused to allow his personal beliefs to affect his job of reporting accurate news. It was his integrity and commitment to fair reporting that made him the most trusted man in America. For me, his most endearing quality was that he loved Maine and sailing around Penobscot Bay. If there is such a thing as an unassuming 64-foot yacht, the two-masted vessel owned by Walter Cronkite was it. While some owners turn their boats into floating palaces, Cronkite’s Wyntje was the kind of boat on which you could spill your wine and not worry about being thrown overboard. In 1989, the year of Vinalhaven’s centennial celebration, Cronkite was asked to be grand marshal of the parade. With delight, he accepted our small town’s request.
The parade consisted of fire engines, floats, vintage cars, and most of all, the island’s proud residents. The marching band was made up of musicians old and young, experienced and novice, but what they lacked in harmony they made up for with heart. Many of my family members attended the celebration. Our large gaggle gathered in front of the Star of Hope building. Cronkite as grand marshal sat high on the horse-drawn steampowered fire pump (used between 1900-1920). Our town is so small we got to enjoy the parade twice, as after once going through, it quickly makes a U-turn at the town’s gazebo, repeating it all. As Cronkite came by on the parade’s first pass, all 50 of our friends and family around us, in unison, waved and cheered: “Hi, Walter!” Minutes later, on his return leg, again in unison, we waved and with warmth cried out, “Bye Walter!” With a huge smile, Cronkite laughed, slapped his thigh, and waved back his goodbye. It’s the small things that make up life!
www.workingwaterfront.com . june 2022
from city to island to windswept illumination along the shore. It opens with names of boats (“THERESA / CARACARA / APRIL GALE”) seen on Portland Harbor, then tracks a ride to the island through overheard snatches of ferry-deck conversation (“he roamed / & he wandered / he wandered / & he roamed // what he needs / is a good / sound thrashing”). A few poems on, he’s walking the island, sees the year’s first crocuses in a garden off the road, smells wood smoke through rain and fog on the way toward the west end. At Fowler’s Beach he finds sand dollars and blue beach glass, and he’s “WINDSTUNNED” in the April gale. Anyone who’s roamed Atlantic island shores recognizes the exhilarating bite of this image. It’s elemental. And it leads to a spontaneous prayer to the spirit of the sea: OCEAN send me your biggest wave (all clichés) YOUR AWE There in the “fists” of wind on the beach, his words, “all / clichés,” seem inadequate to the feeling. Gulls, herons, cormorants too are socked by the breeze; the sun on the sand reveals a “micascopic / universe”; and by the time he starts “thinking about spending / a day at the quarry”, he’s already swept by swirling natural images into a “CALLIOPE BRAIN” consciousness. Now, about two-thirds of the way through the journey, comes a turn, a portal “BREAKING / THROUGH” from the startling concrete world of wind and birds to a world of psychotropic transformation:
i high on grass see eider down the outer side of Overset Looking, in other words, past Overset Island to a feathery vision of the open sea. Here in the glow of the natural world are the places where the m’teoulin goes, or at any rate, the place where “BRANCHES / talk / to me”. Sufi poets speak of divine intoxication, and Kilgore uses their very metaphor of drunkenness: WINO OF THE WORLD huddled in a harbor of stone drinking wine out of the wind Next he walks to the point, crosses Fowler’s Beach hunched in the spring cold, “billygoat[s] the path in front of Bean’s[,] cross[es] the strip to Mt. Hunger” and then “the rocks where Bill Floyd used to moor his boat.” “I backtrack toward the quarry where they blasted breakwater stone for Overset. A small crescent of juniper and willow. … I draw strength here I have power. “… I crest the northwest rim stop to gawk as two hawks shot from rocks like puffs of dust in this gale wind. My power! My joy! My place on earth!” In the spindrift expanse of sea, wind, and “golden apple of the sun”:
this day’s wine is mine rake of wind earaches of wind rapier wind i’ll be this day’s monk Monk, m’teoulin, Sufi, whatever religious figure you ascribe to it—it’s a ravishing spiritual experience of perennial beauty. The journey narrated in Drinking Wine Out of the Wind is no doubt an amalgam of Kilgore’s many trips to Long Island through the mid-1970s. His connections to the island continued into the 1990s, even after he moved to Washington state, and up to 1992 when, agonizingly, he took his own life. The value of a poet often goes unrecognized in his or her lifetime. In some alternate universe, a poetry reading by Robert Creeley at the Unitarian church in Portland in 1989 was not the last place and time I talked with Peter Kilgore. In that parallel universe, his poems strike loud chords into the heart of the island. And poetry’s capacity to uplift, to heal, and to open doors of perception that are normally closed, is a commonly recognized medicine of the spirit. Here, in this universe, Kilgore’s voice remains, but more distant, singing just the windward side of Overset, like the Wabanaki voices that still murmur just beneath the bustling muddle of Machigonne. He’s not a laureate, but nonetheless, as critic and poet Carl Little phrased it, a member of a distinguished “roster of inventive poets” from Maine. We are a people implicitly improved by his island voice. Quarry: The Collected Poems of Peter Kilgore is available from North Country Press in Unity.
F/V Bounty sets traps as seen from Hurricane Island in southern Penobscot Bay. Heron Neck Lighthouse on Greens Island is visible in the background. PHOTO: JACK SULLIVAN
The Working Waterfront . june 2022
Sea-inspired ceramics in Boothbay Harbor Alison Evans took the leap from New York By Stephanie Bouchard
hen it was time for ceramist Alison Evans to “get real” about her life, she “naturally” gravitated back to a community where she spent much of her youth: Boothbay Harbor. “It’s one of the most beautiful places in the entire world,” said the 46-year-old owner of Ae Ceramics and Ae Home Store at 93 Townsend Avenue. But the community’s beauty wasn’t the biggest reason she was drawn here. It was the community’s embrace of entrepreneurship. “I love how there’s so many small businesses,” she said. “There’s so many mom-and-pops. There’s a lot of people who are entrepreneurs here. I think for me, when I was younger, trying to figure out my life, I was really inspired by all the people here who had made a life for themselves by having their own businesses,
At the heart of her work are marine life-inspired whether it was like landscaping or fishing or whatever it might have been. It just seemed like a place designs, most notably her Oyster Series of platters, where you could come and build your own business, plates, and bowls. “I refused to be a starving artist. That was one of the if you wanted to.” decisions I made: ‘I am gonna do this At age 25, Evans was creating and I’m gonna do this well,’” she said. ceramics for other people in New To that end, she knew she had to York City, but was miserable. Maine “I refused to be a find a design that would appeal to a tugged at her. lot of people. “I was too scared to do it for a starving artist.” “I chose something that I knew while. I didn’t think I could make it —Alison Evans people would love,” she said. “I knew on my own like that,” she said. oysters would speak to people other She decided to just go. than myself.” “The fear of not doing it became After a short foray out of state, she returned to greater than the fear of doing it,” she said. She found herself a waitressing job, connected with Boothbay Harbor with her growing family, setting up a local ceramist with whom she traded labor for use house, studio, and more recently, a home goods store, of his equipment, and slowly began building her own on Townsend Avenue within sight of the Opera House at Boothbay Harbor. ceramics business.
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www.workingwaterfront.com . june 2022
At left, Alison Evans poses with one of her oysterinspired bowls. At right, Evans works in her studio with her daughter, who was home on school vacation. At bottom right, Annie Buchholz works with clay.
She initially was nervous about being able to meet her I-won’t-be-a-starving-artist goal because of the seasonal nature of retail in Boothbay Harbor, but most of her sales are wholesale to home goods stores all over the U.S. “That has carried me and helped me build the business to what it is,” she said. “And then, along the way, the world changed, and the internet became the place where people shopped.” From her early waitressing days to today, the support of the people in the community has been a constant fuel to keep pursuing her own small business dream, she said. “They believed in me… and that was super powerful for me,” she said. “There are just so many cool people around here that have been a part of my life and inspired me to just not be scared to do it.”
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www.workingwaterfront.com . April 2020
RanBeRRy RepoRt Letters c to the Editor Racism heritage TO THE EDITOR:
Thanks very much for your article on our heritage (“Maine’s not-so-clean history on race,” May issue). Having lived away in Denver for more than 30 years, I was sad to be labeled a PFA (person from away) by a local here in Eastport. ByAlthough Barbara Fernald the vast majority of people here have been warm and ACTIVITY being on thelabeled islands,anything at the end welcoming, is of February and into March, likesoa hurtful. It serves to remind meisthat mirrorothers imagehave of thebeen action at thewith end many dealing of August into September. Just as the discrimination for their entire lives. summer residents of the Cranberry How sad for the sources of bigotry. Isles endbetheir right in before I will evenvacations more diligent my fall, many year-round residents end awareness of my interactions with their winter breaks just before the others. spring equinox. It’s time to get backJeanne to work and Pegrum reconnect. Eastport Our annual town meeting takes place on the second Saturday in March. For selectmen and town employees, winter has been anything but a vacation. They have been working steadily, gathering information to write the TO THE EDITOR: warrant for townreading meeting.The It’s Working the time I always enjoy of year we come together as a town to Waterfront. decide on projects and spending and I was surprised in reading the article, how much money is to be raised by “Maine’s not-so-clean history on race” property taxes. Todd Little-Sebold that professor Discussion of the the KKK schoolin budget could talk about Maine alone can take well over an hour.antiThe without mentioning its virulent islands take turns hosting the meetCatholicism. The orginal KKK was ing and the luncheon. This year, town
Town meeting,Venue painting eating correction lines, Be clear on immigration doughnuts, and throwing rocks certainly about race, but the resurgent KKK of the 1920s was xenophobic toward all non-Yankee groups and was particularly strong in Maine.
TO THE EDITOR:
I appreciate the thoughtful article on (some of) the history of racism in Maine, including islands and coastal communities. I must, however, point bright red with black stripe) and, out errors that aunfortunately cast like an everyworse other lobster fisherman in Maine even light on our church than thisactual winter, he read about, talked about, the facts. and experimented with purple paint. The meeting referenced having taken The latest whale regulations require place at the Bar Harbor Congregational all Maine lobster fishermen use new Church occurred on April 9,to1924, but markings on the ropes they attach to at the Bar Harbor Casino (which no lobster traps. Depending on how close longer stands). At that meeting, the to shoreminister they fish,Rev. they Homer will haveNelson to add BHCC 2-4 purple marks on each buoy gave an invocation (different fromline. an On warps that are 100-feet or less there introduction), though I have not been musttobeunearth one 12-inch purple mark withable his text. I wish I could. inThough a few fathoms of the trap and 36we cannot erase athis inch purple mark within 2 fathoms of disturbing moment in our history, the the buoy. If the warp is longer that 100 Bar Harbor Congregational Church feet, the requirement is for a(even 12-inch repudiates any association in purple mark trap,and a second 12passing) withnear thethe KKK, instead inch purple mark halfway to the buoy, takes seriously our fundamental and a 36-inch mark near the buoy. commitment to equity and inclusivity— Bruce figures he will be putting 1,500 not only related to anti-racist work to 1,800 markings on his rope in all; two but also in response to every other to three weeks of extra work if he does dynamic that results in exclusion, it without hiring help. A number of fishmarginalization, victimization, or ermen are applying paint to their ropes oppression. by resting them in 3-foot long gutters made from lengthwise-halved PVC pipe. Rev. Rob Benson Bruce’s first attempt was with sprayPastor paint but he soon moved on to the more efficient brush and latex paint. Some fishermen will add a 3-foot
TO THE EDITOR: As winter winds down, islanders mix prep work and gatherings Ray Estabrook I’m writing to tell you how much we
Belfast meeting will take place on Islesford. What’s for lunch? Homemade pizzas, salads, and desserts. Life gets busier as we volunteer to help prepare the first community meal of the season. Town meeting is a great opportunity to hear about winter from friends andTHE neighbors. “How was your trip to TO EDITOR: ...?” “Who knew was I read the article ingrand-parenting the May issue about so exhausting or that there were so Maine’s racist history and thought it was many cold germs involved?” “You did excellent. Thank you for acknowledging all that painting?” These same questhis aspect of our state’s history. tions could be asked in September at Though it’s apparent that it existed a school board meeting in a large sub(and continues to exist), rarely is this urb. (Preferably notand during the meetperspective shared discussed. In ing while someone else has the my opinion, we will make little floor!) to no In January and February, Bruce and and progress on healing, reconciliation, Itrue gotequity to spend a lot of time with our and inclusion until we can grandchildren in Southern Maine. all talk openly about how those outside Visiting them was the of of the predominant racemain and goal culture most of our winter travel. We considwere, and continue to be, treated. ered trying to you paint kitchen, but Again, thank forour creating a space we kept catching odd coughing virusfor this important dialogue. I hope your es andsparks experienced more meaningful, down time article thoughtful, than we wanted, so we never and productive conversations. got to it. Maybe I’ll paint it in May, when I can have the windows open. Douglas Corman Bruce saw more than enough paint, Mount Desert anyway, this winter. During his “time off” he painted 600 buoys (white and
enjoy The Working Waterfront and piece of purple the end the look forward to rope everytoissue. The of article buoy or toggle, aboutline Allen Islandbut in all theattachments April issue must be made with a splice or a tuck. was really great! IBut know it’s a stretch to your compare folI wanted to bring to attention lowing Maine whale rope requirea misstatement in the review by Tina ments plein Dear air workshop, but Cohen with of thea book Maine. Cohen awrites, person could return home from ei“Fear or disdain of immigrants ther and say that they’d been paintwho have moved to the U.S. is, sadly, ing in their spare time. If Bruce were nothing new. Some Americans react writing an essay on how he spent his with simplistic, paranoid thinking, winter vacation, painting would be a saying ‘build the wall’ or ‘you will not part of it. Another part would be the replace us.’” description I heardishim tell hisattack brother This, of course, a direct on Mark about walking to get doughnuts, the Trump policies which thankfully in February, with our son and kept our border secure. The Robin, actual truth our grandchildren Henry and Cora. I is that Trump and most conservatives was withpro-immigration; friends in Portland, are away actually it’s and just Stephanie wasforgotten away withthat friends in conveniently we are Florida. Father and son were in charge. against illegal immigration which gets “Yeah, into we got doughnuts atbyThe morphed anti-immigration the Cookie Jar and then walked to the left-biased media everywhere. beach for ayou picnic throwtimes rocks.” I think canand findtomany on Eating homemade donuts and record with Trump saying he supports throwing rocks at the that legal immigration. It’s beach—if pretty obvious isn’t a mirror image of many childthat a wall is not meant to stop legal hood summers immigration isn’ton it? Islesford, I don’t know what is. q My wife’s family immigrated here from Germany, assimilated to our Barbara Islesford (Little society, Fernald learnedlives ouron language, and Cranberry Island) with her husband Bruce.
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www.workingwaterfront.com . june 2022
Letters to the Editor became productive participants in our country, something that has been lost in the latest rush to let millions of people into the U.S. While I know full well that conservative thinking people like myself are a minority here in the Midcoast, it’s still discouraging to see one of our favorite publications publicizing misinformation. Bruce Fagley Port Clyde
Allen, Benner islands context TO THE EDITOR:
I found the article in the April issue of The Working Waterfront on Allen and Benner islands interesting. I am glad these islands are now in good hands. When George Weymouth dropped anchor off Allen Island, he immediately established bad relations between the English and local inhabitants. First, he rebuffed emissaries of the regional chief, and then he kidnapped three Indians and took them back to England. I would like to correct one thing: The Indians encountered by Weymouth in 1605 were not Abenakis. They
were Etchemins, whose homeland extended from the Kennebec to the St. John rivers. Unlike the Abenakis, the Etchemins did not grow their own crops, but relied largely on wild foods, especially those from the sea. Such corn and beans as they ate they obtained though trade with Abenakis. In 1605, Etchemins living south of the Narraguagus River were joined in a defensive alliance with Abenakis living east of the Mousam River in southern Maine. Known as the Mawooshen confederacy, meaning “band of people walking and acting together,” the alliance was formed in response to Mi’kmaq (known to the English as Tarretines) raids from the north. The Mi’kmaqs, having early contact with the French, acquired guns and shallops (small sailing vessels that could also be rowed) from these newcomers, giving them a military advantage over their southern neighbors. This allowed them to replace their formerly peaceful trading with their neighbors with raiding. In 1615, they managed to kill the grand chief of the Mawooshen confederacy, followed a year later by “The Great Dying,” a disease of European origin that wiped out huge numbers of indigenous populations from Narragansett Bay well Downeast. The descendants of the Wamooshen confederacy are known today as Penobscots, who for many decades made a distinction between saltwater
families (largely Etchemins) and those living up-river (largely Abenakis). William A. Haviland Deer Isle
Librarian sleuth solves mystery TO THE EDITOR:
The void, the impenetrable wall, the mental dead end—even youngsters suffer the torture of drawing a complete blank. Usually the elusive factoid—who wrote Moby Dick? What was Beyonce’s first hit?—bubbles to the surface after a few deep breaths. If not, there’s always Siri. Unfortunately, there are those mental tabula rasa moments that persist, when whatever has slipped the mind seems gone forever. This is exactly the state of empty-mindedness that Beckie Delaney, co-director at Jackson Memorial Library in Tenants Harbor saved me from recently. I had been struggling for 20 years to remember the title of a book I read and loved back in 2002. I read the long-lost book while renting a cottage in Cushing. Naturally, the end of my vacation presented me with a terrible temptation to tuck that little volume into my suitcase. I did resist and left that lovely book to its fate.
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The Working Waterfront welcomes letters to the editor. Please send them to editor Tom Groening at tgroening@ islandinstitute.org with LTE in the subject line. Letters should be about 300 words and address issues that the newspaper covers. We also print longer opinion pieces, but please clear them first with the editor.
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The summers that followed I searched in Maine’s many used book stores, but the hunt was complicated, as I couldn’t remember the title or author, only the plot. When I stopped into the library with a list of recommendations by Maureen Corrigan, “Fresh Air’s” book critic on NPR, Ms. Delaney made short work of my list. She was so efficient, I decided to lob my standard question about the mystery book with my well-practiced plot synopsis: “Girl in the 1800s stays behind while everyone else in town heads to the Ohio territories. Against all odds, she survives a Maine winter alone.” Without batting an eye, Ms. Delaney turned to her computer and tapped out a request to her colleagues at surrounding libraries. Within the hour, I had my answer. Here I Stay, by Elizabeth Coatsworth, published 1938. Thank you, Ms. Delaney.
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The Working Waterfront . june 2022
It’s the people
As island awakens and reopens, social ties are renewed By Courtney Naliboff
table. The food, at least, was there, and was some solace. But as it turns out, the appeal of these AFTER 17 YEARS on North Haven, some elements of life have achieved a summer routines isn’t only the food. pleasant predictability. After the first It’s also the people. Like the dormant heavy spring rain, the peepers will dandelions and hibernating peepers, begin their insistent shrieking from year-round islanders are scarcely seen in the winter, mostly vernal pools and roadside because there just aren’t bogs. Dandelions and many places to congregate. violets will be the first Nor has congregating to bloom, followed by As it turns out, indoors been a condoned strawberry blossoms, activity of late. thickest in the flood plain the appeal of And, like the rounds of our compost. A redthese summer of robins once again winged blackbird will hopping around my perch on a dead cattail routines isn’t lawn, our summer stalk at the edge of Sage only the food. friends fully depart in Woods. the winter months. Their And in May, the island reappearance is as much restaurants will begin a harbinger of pleasanter to open, tentatively as a magnolia blossom, just weekends to weather as any other sign of spring start, and then a gloriously full schedule or summer, and re-opening island restaurants provide the perfect habitat as the days approach the solstice. Even in the worst of the bad times, it to spot them in. Calderwood pizza at my house is was possible to get some Calderwood takeout, or have a Nebo meal on the delicious, but Calderwood pizza at porch or seated at a socially distanced an outdoor table with summer and
year-round friends stopping by to chat is sublime. A Nebo cocktail in a to-go jar is a fun (and delicious) novelty, but doesn’t have the same zing without a passing “How was your winter?” The several summers we endured without The Landing’s French fries, burgers, and ice cream were sad, and then even sadder in 2020, but its reopening in 2021 was the cause of much rejoicing. Not only does my summer require veggie burgers and French fries to feel fully realized, but its spacious porch and lawn are designed to facilitate spontaneous social interaction, whether it’s kids cartwheeling on the lawn or climbing on the anchor, or adults taking a moment for a complete conversation while they do. I recently turned 41, and while I didn’t ring in that birthday with quite the same flair as 40 (I did not, for instance, light anything on fire this year, although I did run into the sea), I did play some fiddle tunes with friends, including one I hadn’t seen since a long ago contradance at Waterman’s.
Then I headed over to the brewery, where I shamelessly flaunted my birthday status, basking in a surprisingly on-key rendition of “Happy Birthday.” My half-pint of Campfire Porter, on the house, was smoky and delicious, but the pleasure of running into people was just as fine. Within the predictable structure of the island’s summer season comes the unknown variable of the people one might encounter and the conversations that ensue. It’s the wild card that makes each summer, as similar as they might feel, unique and rare.
Courtney Naliboff lives, teaches, writes, and plays music on North Haven. She may reached at Courtney.Naliboff@ gmail.com.
Journal of an Island Kitchen
My dumb kitchen
Voice-commanded devices have no home here By Sandy Oliver
the second-hand toaster I own sometimes falls down on the toasting job in WHEN YOU READ about smart one of its slots so one side of the bread kitchen appliances, what you learn is is toasted more than the other, but that everything about them except “Why?” is why it was free at the dump. Then there is the Alexa-voice My life is blessedly free of smart toasters, coffee makers, voice- controlled coffee maker. This one controlled faucets, and automatic involves Google Assistant somestirrers. I probably wouldn’t even times, it appears, and an app on the phone, and has all kinds think about them except of settings possible and a favorite foodie website K-cup compatibility. hawked, “Smart Kitchen The automatic I detect the need to be on Tools You Need Right top of your e-game in order Now.” I said, “Oh, yeah?” pan stirrer to get the settings right, What about the smart supposedly but a human has to put 2-slice toaster? The slots turns saucewater in the machine even apparently are wide enough to swallow bagels, English making into an though you can set it up so a delivery of coffee arrives at muffins, frozen waffles, easy and goof- your door just in the nick of and slabs of bread. LED lights show the progress proof process… time so you never run out. My coffee maker, also of toasting and it has autosecond-hand acquired at matic one-touch lowering the same dump swop shop which “makes for gentler handling of your toasted goodness,” where I got my toaster—though the a feature I had never even considered Baptist Church rummage sale is another important before. Plus they have crumb great place to find them—has lines on the pot so you can add just the right amount catching trays. Well, so does the second-hand four- of water, though I actually have to count slice toaster I picked up at the dump’s scoops of coffee put in the filter holder. I don’t have to tell Alexa to tell the Swop Shop. Reviews of the device report that this toaster toasts only one coffee maker anything. I do this in the side and warms the other. What? Who quiet of the morning when I barely funcwants only one side toasted? I admit, tion but at least I don’t have to set up any
settings, that whole requirement of electronic smart-world living which is never easy for those of us born before 1980. Speaking of adding water, how about a voice-controlled kitchen faucet? You might want a touchless soap dispenser to go with it. Reviews praise the faucet’s good looks and say they are pretty easy to install, though why they are telling the buyer that I don’t completely understand because I’d much rather a plumber did it. (If I could find one, they being in short supply—which is maybe why the maker encourages the buyer with ease of installation.) The only reason given for acquiring one seems to be that sometimes we approach the sink with hands full. If I could tell the faucet to “stop leaking, for heaven’s sake,” maybe I’d consider it. Soap dispensers come with or without batteries; one has a plug-in recharger. They are hygienic, but I always thought that soap was anyway, and I never have to recharge my soap bars. The automatic pan stirrer supposedly turns sauce-making into an easy and goof-proof process as it circles around in the saucepan. I keep wondering how it knows whether the mixture is catching on the bottom of the pan? It’ll go for hours without complaint but a human has to set the timer so it knows when to quit.
Sauce-making really relies on cooks for the correct texture achieved by experienced eye and feel communicated through a whisk. Like so many strong and patient kitchen tools, I bet this one has as lousy judgement as my food processor has. The only time I ever long for something even remotely like this is when I make seven-minute boiled icing which requires beating the sugar and egg white mixture for what seems an eternity. Now if I were severely compromised physically, I can imagine something like a voice-activated faucet would be grand, and also the stirrer. It would offer me more independent living. Otherwise, shrug. I guess there is something in all of us that wishes we could just boss someone around. “Alexa, go do this or that.” “Faucet, on!” Don’t even have to say please. Thing is, I like a dumb kitchen where I can be the smart one. Sandy Oliver is a food historian who lives, gardens, cooks, and writes on Islesboro. She may be reached at SandyOliver47@gmail.com.
www.workingwaterfront.com . june 2022
Running the regulation gauntlet Island fishing economies face new hurdles By Barbara Fernald MY HUSBAND, Bruce, launched his lobster boat at the end of March and was setting traps by the first week of April. He spent the winter painting buoys, repairing old traps, and building new ones. By the time he was ready to set out again, 600 of his 800 traps had passed through his hands. For each of Bruce’s 600 buoy lines (a.k.a. end lines), he had to follow the latest NOAA regulations for New England fisheries designed to prevent right whales from becoming entangled in lobster gear. Fishermen were notified in early winter they had to install a new “weak link” in all their end lines by May 1. This could be done either by inserting a 3-inch piece of 5/16-inch rope (NOAA approved, with a 1,700-pound breaking point) halfway between the buoy and the trap, or by inserting a NOAA approved plastic link halfway down the end line. Bruce chose the rope option. On the first day he hauled the freshly adapted gear, a number of the weak link ropes came up fuzzy and twisted, causing concern for how long this rope could be used before it broke and traps would be lost. (A new trap costs around $100 for the size Bruce uses.)
Maine lobster fishermen have He took a picture of the rope that was gnarly after just ten days in the water been complying with “whale saving” and emailed Patrick Keliher, Marine regulations for over 20 years, at their Resources commissioner, and then own expense. First came the breakstormed outside to his trailer, loaded away swivels on their buoys and the with 60 traps he was planning to set the request to remove all knots from next day. Each end line had the weak their lines. Then all New England lobstermen were tasked with marking rope link properly installed. Each rope would have to be cut out different sections of their end lines and replaced with a plastic link before with red. Then, in the first COVID winter, he would set them. As he left, Bruce said, “If the commissioner calls back, Maine lobstermen spent time taking have him call me on my cell phone. I’ll out the red markings and putting in purple because someone be out here dealing with at NOAA realized it all of this #@&*!!” might make sense to From the talk I’ve have different colored heard, these links are From the talk rope for each state to making many fishermen I’ve heard, these determine the origins pretty nervous. Yes, they will fit through links are making of any entanglement. (Massachusetts got to the hauler, but how long many fishermen keep the red markings) will they last before The most costly breaking? Does it stress pretty nervous. adaptation, so far, was the the plastic to drag them 2009 regulation outlawing through the hauler multiple all floating rope that times? Is there any truth to lobster fishermen use the rumor that a fisherman was injured when one of these links to connect traps to each other on the broke and the rope hit him in the eye? ocean floor. They had to replace it with What if the trap or traps are hung up on “whale rope,” a neutrally buoyant rope the bottom? Will the weak link be rugged that lasts about three years. The original enough to get those traps to the surface? floating rope would last for about 20 Stay tuned because these measures are years, so the 2009 regulation caused a more recurring expense to fishermen. just now starting to be tested.
We hope the latest weak links do not become an even more costly modification. From the MaineLobstermen.org site, I learned that Maine lobster fishing is one of the last sustainable wild fisheries in the world. How much longer can they last when NOAA seems determined to hold Maine lobstermen accountable for right whale deaths they did not cause? It would be terrible to see a way of life disappear from the islands just to try to save a whale that rarely, if ever, swims through here. Our island landscapes could drastically change and yet whales will still die from whatever it is that kills them while they are swimming in waters farther offshore. There have been no right whale entanglements in Maine waters since one in 2004 and one in 2002. As far as is known, both of those whales survived and are still alive. Unless they got hit by a ship.
Barbara Fernald lives on Islesford (Little Cranberry Island). She may be reached at Fernald244@gmail.com.
An island’s story reveals a life
Painter Sarah Faragher explores ‘intimacy of place’ Autobiography of an Island: A Memoir By Sarah Faragher (2021)
Review by Carl Little IN 2004, while visiting Great Spruce Head Island, painter Sarah Faragher had the occasion to explore nearby Bear Island. Conversing with a Bear islander, she learned of Birch Lodge, a humble dwelling that could be rented in June. Invited to consider this option, Faragher soon found herself taking up annual summer residence in the middle of Penobscot Bay, her painting supplies at the ready—and her soul, as it were, brimming with the possibilities of retreat and reflection.
With more than a decade’s worth of week-or-more visits behind her, Faragher decided to convert the notes she’d been keeping into one extended narrative of her island life. The result is Autobiography of an Island: A Memoir. Being pretty much alone on the island lends a Petit Prince quality to Faragher’s situation. Like the young protagonist of Antoine de SaintExupéry’s classic story, she addresses a range of emotions, among them, loneliness, love, loss, anger, and resolve. She gains an intimacy with the place that makes this book her autobiography as much as the island’s. The writing is descriptive and detailed. For example, Faragher lists the supplies she must carry with her. There is food, clothing, toiletries—including peppermint soap “because the mosquitoes don’t love it”—and the “relevant page from the tide calendar,” plus flip-flops and extra pens. She is particularly good at rendering the weather, which is with her at all times in one way or another. Not all is painting, lying out in the sun, listening to seals, skinny-dipping,
and watching the sun set and the moon rise. Faragher has her share of demons, and the island has given her the time and distance to address them. A recurring motif, if you will, is her strained relationship with her biological father who more or less abandoned her family early on. As someone who has made a living as a bookseller, Faragher provides a generous assortment of quotes as well as a 23-page reading list, which features a mix of art books, poetry, Maine fiction and non-fiction, nature guides and children’s literature—from Lord Byron and Emily Dickinson to Ruth Moore and Louise Dickinson Rich. Among her favorite go-to sources are the Canadian painter Emily Carr and what she refers to as the three H’s: Robert Henri, Charles Hawthorne, and Hans Hofmann, whose books on the creative process sustain her. Fittingly, the book is diary-sized. Ideally, it would include some of Faragher’s paintings; the cover image, one of her stunning Bear Island views, will have to do. At the same time, it
would have been fun to have a small map of the island with all its curious place names: Piggy’s Point, Graveyard Beach, Mosquito Alley. One imagines something like the Hundred Acre Wood map in Winnie-the-Pooh. The book is dedicated to Faragher’s husband Ryan King, who passed away in July 2021. The book was written before he died so references to him in the text bring a frisson of sadness. “I can’t seem to keep my thoughts about loving the world to myself,” Faragher says early on and bears that out as she shares her impressions of the island. Her passion for this place, for painting and poetry and the life she lives, carries across the water. To order a book, contact the author through her website at www.sarafaragher.com. The book is also available at Littlefield Gallery in Winter Harbor and the Landing Gallery in Rockland where Faragher will have a solo show “Portraits of Place” June 2-26.
The Working Waterfront . june 2022
Keeping credit cards working on an island Isle au Haut is one outpost to benefit from broadband By Jack Sullivan AT AN APRIL 4 event celebrating a federal award to expand Maine’s broadband access, Peggy Schaffer, director of ConnectMaine, put it best when she called establishing the highspeed internet a “team sport.” The $28 million federal grant would not have been awarded without community members, internet service providers, elected officials, and state and nonprofit organizations working together. In this wave of federal funding, there were 12 awards nation-wide, and Maine’s includes the Rangeley Lakes region, rural Lincoln County, and all of the Blue Hill peninsula and Isle au Haut. These improvements will dramatically increase the ability for small businesses to operate, including keeping credit card processing and online marketing working. The funds also will enhance online learning, telehealth, and entertainment. In total, at least 11,000 households will be connected—contributing to Gov. Janet Mills’s goal of connecting all Mainers to fiber internet by 2024.
Mills, one of the “team players” Schaffer referred to, was present at the celebration, as was Andy Burke, the former mayor of Chattanooga, Tenn. Under Burke’s leadership, Chattanooga became the first U.S. city to connect every resident to a fiber network. Currently, Burke serves as the special representative for broadband from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the awarder of the grant. Burke provided the national context for the award, explaining that it’s part of larger $48.2 billion coming to the Department of Commerce as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was supported by both Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King (both of whom had representatives in attendance). Referring to President Biden’s plan to connect every American to a quality affordable and reliable internet connection, Burke said, “We’re worried about that rancher in Montana, and we’re worried about you all in Maine.” For employees of the Island Institute, it’s easy to get caught up in the grind of acquiring grants—working through applications with providers and
communities, navigating unforeseen setbacks and complications, and serving as the connector between groups that may seem to be at odds. Community development work requires perseverance and adaptability, and celebrations like this are not only important to the community members who worked hard for this connectivity, they are also important to the Island Institute. I was inspired to hear my colleagues thanked for their hard work by both government officials and by community members. It was a reminder that our role is both important and valued. During her remarks, Mills referred to broadband as the “great equalizer.” She described how it bridges the gap between the poor and the rich, and the rural and the urban. She also compared it to other infrastructure investments like rural electrification and the construction of the interstate highway system. Just like the 20th century’s campaigns for connectivity, this 21st century wave will bring people closer together and simplify life. Specifically, this expansion of reliable high-speed internet will keep the credit card machines running
on Isle au Haut. “My wife and I own a gift shop that she runs, and I don’t think I hear her swear any other time but when that credit card machine goes down,” said John DeWitt, a resident of the island, when describing the woes of a business owner with an unreliable internet connection. Similar testimonies were given by other residents of the affected communities: stories of young families refusing to relocate to rural Maine because they require broadband to work remotely, and reports of the havoc the pandemic and remote learning wreaked on teachers, students, and parents. The necessity for change was palpable and so was the relief that it was on the way. Jack Sullivan is a multi-media storyteller with the Island Institute, publisher of The Working Waterfront. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Institute’s Waypoints dives into state’s stats By Meghan Grabill RESILIENCE IS ONE of those buzz words that seems to be everywhere these days. It is the new version of sustainable, but with even less of a clear definition, therefore making it infinitely harder to measure. A while back someone described it as not attaining resilience, but continually striving for it. It was a bit of an epiphany for me. Resiliency is not a state, it is a way of life. The point of being resilient is to be able to overcome adversity and bounce back from crises. Over the past two years the world has seen its share of challenges; some were immediate, like the pandemic, and others span a longer time horizon, like climate change. Resiliency is what helps communities navigate these changes. In the Island Institute’s upcoming fourth publication in the series, Waypoints: Navigate, topics related to Maine’s coastal communities and their resiliency are investigated more deeply. A central topic in this edition are those factors that make the Maine coast a welcoming, attainable place to live. Affordability of housing is a key concern for many communities. This is not surprising considering the steadily increasing price of property near the coast and the decreasing number of days a property is on the market.
In 2011, the median cost of a property in a coastal community was $206,000 and it spent 83 days on the market. In 2021, the median cost was $380,000 and median days on the market was only seven. Another area of focus delves into the wage necessary to live in coastal communities, to pay for necessities like shelter, transportation, and food. In some communities the median household income is greater than the cost of living, indicating that a larger proportion of residents can meet basic costs and have some money for discretionary spending. However, in many of our communities the opposite is true. Preparedness along our coast starts with assessing the risk or threat, planning for how to deal with it, finding the funds to make the change, and finally making the change. Comprehensive planning is a tool communities can use to guide their future. Due to the time it takes to complete a comprehensive planning process, along with the technical resources necessary, not all coastal communities have completed one, and even fewer have updated in the past ten years. Communities with plans can submit them to the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry to determine if it is consistent with the Growth Management
Act, which gets the community some privileges and protections. Along the coast, about 40% of communities have updated plans currently consistent with the Growth Management Act. Funding from federal and state governments, along with local organizations, can make a huge difference. The funds awarded to selected coastal communities to build out broadband will move Maine toward having affordable, high-quality internet for everyone. Another source of federal funds coming to Maine is for alternative fuel corridors where $19 million will help expand public electric vehicle charging stations and other alternative fuel options. Since Maine needs to add 75,000 workers by 2030 to offset attrition and grow, different workforce pathways are needed. There are 13 career and technical education centers high school students can access along the coast to attend a variety of programs. Coastal graduating seniors attend two- and four-year institutions at roughly the same rate (67%) as their peers across the nation (68%), which is slightly higher than Maine as a whole (64%). Giving youth a range of options to explore potential careers is one key to a resilient economy. Other topics covered in the publication include infrastructure loss from
rising seas, occupational diversity, and a look at change in the landing value of the lobster fishery. Because resiliency is ever-changing, it is a difficult topic to capture in a publication. Many of the datasets explored are changing annually, if not monthly. However, the data and statistics covered in Waypoints: Navigate are important to anyone living along or with an interest in the coast of Maine. The publication may not be able to tell how resilient one community is, but it gives insights to areas where we can continually strive for greater resiliency. Check out islandinstitute.org/ waypoints for past editions and get added to our mailing list for Waypoints: Navigate which will be released this summer. Meghan Grabill is a senior community development officer with the Island Institute, publisher of The Working Waterfront, working on community data. She holds a Ph.D. in regional development planning. She may be reached at email@example.com.
www.workingwaterfront.com . june 2022
In Plain Sight
When mariners in distress got help Federal government began funding assistance in 1848 By Kelly Page
Unfortunately, the geographic scope was limited with approaches to the WHETHER IT IS for work or play, ports of Boston and New York being anyone spending significant time on the initial focus. Additionally, there a boat knows that help is a radio call was no system for training or equipaway, and that other beacons and ment monitoring in place and stations signals can be relied upon to alert to were sparsely manned by volunteers. Efforts began in 1871 to expand and the need for help. But how would that work if there was no one designated to professionalize national life-saving practices resulting in the establishmonitor for signs of distress? This was indeed the reality in mid- ment of The United States Life-Saving Service in 1878. Along 19th century Maine with the Revenue at the height of mariCutter Service, Lifetime commerce and Saving Service became coastal travel. Foul part of the Coast Guard weather or navigational Nationally, the in 1915 and was later errors coupled with Life-Saving Service joined by the LightMaine’s rocky coastwas responsible for House Service. lines could easily result Maine was home in disaster and loss of saving over 175,000 to seven life-saving life. A wooden vessel run aground without lives from 1878-1915. stations by the end of the 1870s, each with a timely assistance was keeper and a crew of sure to be destroyed surfmen experienced by the crashing surf in boat-handling who knocking it against the rocks with those on board unlikely to had met established physical requiresurvive a swim for help in rough and ments. The crews spent their days running drills, testing equipment, and frigid waters. The need for coastal first responders monitoring the shoreline for those in tasked with the rescue of fishermen, need of their services. They performed rescues either by sailors, and passengers close to shore was apparent. Beginning in 1848, the rowing out to a vessel in distress or federal government began to dedicate by securing a line to the vessel where funds for buildings, boats, and equip- people could travel along the line safely to shore. Nationally, the Life-Saving ment for such rescue efforts.
The Cranberry Isles Life-Saving Station photographed in about 1885.
Service was responsible for saving over 175,000 lives from 1878-1915. The station pictured here is identified as the Cranberry Isles Life-Saving Station in about 1885. Several watercraft and a launching ramp for surfboats can be seen along with a roof-top platform to lookout for vessels in need of assistance. This station has been out of service since 1946 but the building is still in existence on Little Cranberry Island. It has undergone significant alterations and expansions since it was first built in 1879. Only the gable end of the original roofline is recognizable on the present-day structure.
Many such stations in Maine are private property and have been converted to residences. In fact, this spot is a currently a vacation rental.
Kelly Page is collections and library services manager for Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. Among the exhibits the museum is featuring this summer are “Zach Horn: Looking for Winslow Homer” and “Uncharted: Maine Artists | Maine Waters.” Explore resources and plan your visit at www.MaineMaritimeMuseum.org
My wife can’t throw a flatbar But she, columnist, and cat survive By Phil Crossman MY WIFE CAN DO almost anything, really, almost anything. I mean mechanical stuff, electronic stuff, and carpentry stuff, plus all sorts of things that involve thinking, like philosophical and ethereal stuff. Further, she’s a marvelous painter and runs her own very successful gallery. She also knows (she reminds me now and then) what’s best for me, which is a real plus since I have little sense myself; enjoys doing laundry, is an accomplished seamstress and, very important, she can cook. One thing she cannot do, however (the only thing I think, upon reflection) is throw a flatbar, toss really; she can’t toss a flatbar. A flatbar, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a steel pry tool/ nail puller, kind of a mini-wrecking bar, about 16 inches long. I was on our roof a few years ago shingling, something she could
have done herself as she reminded trajectory, and took a couple of softball me, were she not busy simultane- pitcher type practice swings, creating an arc from behind ously doing several of to front of about 180 the other things she degrees. Then she held can do. I needed my it by the other end, the flatbar and had left it one with the right-angle on the ground near the It was the only bend and did the same bottom of the staging. I called down to her time I’ve ever seen thing. Typically deliberative, and asked her to toss it that particular she repeated the proceup to me. She retrieved dure trying one method it and curled her mouth expression cross then the other. up on one side; her brow her face. Because the sun was furrowed, and she put her setting, I urged her on hands on her hips as she and, clearly pressured regarded first the flatbar and unsettled, she opted and then me on the roof. for a toss holding the It was the only time I’ve ever seen that particular expression angled end. With her tongue held to cross her face. I’d never seen it before starboard by her teeth and with, as I and I’ve never seen it since. If I never say, an odd expression, she let it fly. We used to have a cat. Its name was do again it will be too soon and, in that Alice and it could not catch a flatbar event, I will not press my request. She held the flatbar by the straight with any more aplomb than my wife end, looked up at me as if to gauge the can toss one.
I was ready. I stood at the edge of the staging with my arms outstretched in anticipation of catching the flatbar. The cat, preening, relaxed, behind my wife on the front door stoop, clearly curious but unconcerned, in anticipation of enjoying the rest of its life. P.S.: In fact, the cat was not harmed although it was certainly a close call and one that left Alice with a new and cautionary regard for the woman she had, until then, regarded as a benevolent and devoted caregiver. But the alternative made for a better, if only momentarily better, story. Phil Crossman lives on Vinalhaven where he serves on the town select board. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Working Waterfront . june 2022
Art of the Waterfront
A visit to Prock Marine with Lois Dodd, Jeff Epstein Two painters engage with Rockland waterfront By Carl Little
he Rockland waterfront is a busy place, with all manner of marine activities happening all the time. Among its most venerable businesses is the Prock Marine Company on the northern end of the harbor. Founded in 1938 and incorporated in 1963, Prock Marine provides construction engineering services ranging from dredging to shoreline stabilization. As it turns out, the company also provides subject matter for painters. In their painting expeditions along the coast, Lois Dodd and Jeff Epstein, seasonal residents of Cushing, sometimes find themselves in Rockland looking for a motif. On more than one occasion, they have ended up parking on the shoulder of Route 1 near Prock Marine. They set up their easels on the paths running through the narrow woods above the facility. On hot days, Epstein notes, they appreciate working in the shade “and whatever breeze is available coming off the water.” The elevated view gives the two painter friends ample options. While Epstein has focused on the assortment of shapes and colors in the view, Dodd, he says, is “always happy to see people using their time constructively” and so is apt to turn her attention to elements of the busy work site. Dodd’s Prock Marine is the most detailed of the oil-on-panel paintings she has made there. Todd
Jeff Epstein’s Crane, 2002, oil on canvas, 10 by 12 inches. COURTESY THE ARTIST
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The two painters have known each other since the early 1990s when Epstein was a graduate student…
Prock, the company’s president, helped identify some of the objects. The containers in the foreground are 40-by-10-foot sectional barges while the pipes lying on one of them are “spuds” which are placed into a pipe pocket pinned to the side of the sectional barges to hold them in position. He noted that the crane boom on the left is “unpinned and folded back” while in storage. Finally, he pointed out Owls Head in the distance. In Epstein’s painting Crane, a section of the gangly apparatus cuts diagonally across a view of the harbor. The energy of the brushstrokes gives the illusion of movement, as if we were watching the crane in midlift. The industrial latticed boom contrasts with the sailboats anchored in the background. The two painters have known each other since the early 1990s when Epstein was a graduate student at Brooklyn College and took a drawing class with Dodd. In an interview conducted at the time of “The Mentors Show” at the Falcon Foundation in Damariscotta in 2011, Epstein credited Dodd with helping him learn how to go about painting on-site as well as the value of “stopping sooner than later” when working on a painting. Their special comradery resulted in these fresh impressions of a bustling section of Rockland’s harborside infrastructure. “God Gives a Reward to Industry” reads the city’s motto. In turn, these painters of that commerce provide a kind of visual gift to our approving eyes.
Lois Dodd’s Prock Marine, 1999. Oil on panel, 14¾ by 16½ inches. COURTESY CALDBECK GALLERY, ROCKLAND
Paintings by Epstein and Dodd will be featured in, respectively, the June and August 2022 shows at the Caldbeck Gallery in Rockland. A show of Dodd’s work is now on view at the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont, through Nov. 27.
The Working Waterfront . june 2022
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Join us in our efforts to the working waterfront!
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The Island Institute is focusing on clean energy projects—including electrifying the boats, wharves and businesses on the working waterfront—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make Maine’s marine economy more resilient to future changes.
OUR ELECTRIFICATION WORK INCLUDES:
Distributing Spark! grants to promote interest in and offset costs for electric outboards.
Funding solar projects on the working waterfront to stabilize energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
3 WAYS TO SUPPORT MAINE’S WORKING WATERFRONT: 1 - Online at giving.islandinstitute.org 2 - Call the Island Institute office at (207) 594-9209 ext. 141 3 - Mail your gift to: Island Institute, PO Box 648, Rockland, ME 04841 All gifts count toward membership