Island Briefs

Late school start 

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — School is scheduled for a delayed start on Wednesday, Dec. 9, to give the district time to begin asymptomatic testing of school staff.  

Students in kindergarten through eighth grade are slated to begin their school day at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 9 in order for staff serving these grades to be tested. High school and central office staff will be tested on Thursday, Dec. 10, but there is no delayed start on that day.  

According to a notice sent out by Superintendent Marc Gousse to parents and guardians, the district is working closely with MDI Hospital and The Jackson Laboratory to plan and coordinate the testing in a way that minimally impacts students and schools.  

Phase 2, sentinel testing, the followup weekly testing of staff, is scheduled to be conducted in two smaller cohorts and is not expected to impact schools or schedules in any way. 


Deep discount on park passes 

ACADIA NAT’L PARK — Annual park passes, which normally cost $55, are being sold for $28 throughout the month of December. Passes must be purchased in person at one of the following locations: the Mount Desert, Tremont, Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor town offices, the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, Harbor House in Southwest Harbor and the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Annual passes are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. 

Eighty percent of the fees collected from annual pass sales are retained by Acadia to make improvements that enhance the visitor experience and to help fund the fare-free Island Explorer bus system. The remaining 20 percent benefits other National Park Service sites.   


Reverse holiday Advent calendar 

MOUNT DESERT ISLANDIf anyone would like to help families in need this Christmasthe Bar Harbor/ MDI Rotary Club suggests people donate a box of food to a local food bank or shelter on Dec. 24 or 26. For each day, Dec. 1 through Dec. 24people put an item in a box. The following is what the Bar Harbor food pantry suggests people who want to contribute put in their box over the next week. Additional suggestions can be found on the organization’s Facebook page. 

Dec. 4 – Boxed potatoes 

Dec. 5 – Macaroni and cheese 

Dec. 6 – Canned fruit 

Dec. 7 – Canned tomatoes 

Dec8 – Canned tuna 

Dec. 9 – Dessert mix 

Dec. 10 – Jar of apple sauce 


Grant funds for recreational development 

SOUTHWEST HARBOR  Town officials are applying for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for as much as a half a million dollars to help develop two different properties in town for recreational purposes.  

A matching fund grant, the monies would be used toward rebuilding the Manset Dock/Hook Property area on Shore Road and acquiring and developing another small parcel on Main Street that could provide more parking for visitors of Chris’s Pond.  

“It technically doesn’t connect to our property right now,” Town Manager Justin VanDongen said about a parcel that is less than an acre located north, through the woods, from the pond. “Our main interest is to provide more parking for Chris’s Pond and redevelop/build a new warming shed.” 

For that property, the town is working with Maine Coast Heritage Trust as far as development and fundraising go. 

“Hopefully we’ll get some momentum over the winter while the property is being used,” said VanDongen. 

As for the Manset Dock property, engineers have presented to the Harbor Committee preliminary plans for a redesign of that waterfront that includes moving the harbormaster office closer to the water, more parking and a walking path along the shore.  

“We wouldn’t even know if we were awarded the grant until Town Meeting,” said VanDongen. 



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