Broadband big town topic

Thursday afternoon saw a meeting about internet broadband service. The Cranberry Isles Internet Broadband Committee includes Malcolm Fernald, Skip Stevens, Rosalie Kell and Ingrid Gaither; many thanks to Jim Fortune for his assistance throughout. People who attended at Islesford were Skip and Malcolm, Barb and Bruce Fernald, Cindy and David Thomas, Kaitlyn and Cory Duggan, Joy Sprague, Katelyn Damon, Melissa and Jim Amuso, Ann Fernald, Tammy Palmer and Sally Rowan. There were others at Great Cranberry and more from outside who connected by phone through the school’s phone conference system, which showed those who spoke. Some of the off-island participants were Sue and Richard Hill, Chris White, Joanne Thormann and Chris Sandberg. Mark Ouellette, president of Axiom, the company that will provide services to the town of Cranberry Isles, was part of the meeting and presented information and answered questions.

The town meeting was held at the newly renovated Longfellow School on Great Cranberry this past Saturday, March 11, at 9 a.m. Coffee was brewing, and town members brought many assorted baked treats for folks to munch on while discussing and listening to important points and opinions on articles being voted on for the town. The first half of the meeting was fairly swift, passing articles approving pay for town officials and employees and voting in members for various positions. Denise McCormick was voted in to continue as the town clerk and town treasurer. We’re happy to have such a dedicated, knowledgeable and hardworking woman working for us here at the town of Cranberry Isles! Florence J. Sprague won the vote to continue as one of our selectmen until the year 2020. Ingrid Gaither will serve another three years as chairman of the Municipal Advisory Commission (thanks for all you do, Ingrid!), and new year-round resident of Great Cranberry Laurie Dobson is now an elected member of the MAC. Then we moved to the Cranberry Isles School Department budget, where all articles were passed, granting full funds to the school needs to continue to educate the children of the Cranberry Isles to their fullest potential.

Article 17 looking for permission to enact the land use and shoreland zoning ordinance provided much discussion. While there is an updated version that was unable to be provided in time for the town meeting, the article was passed as is. There will be much discussion on this item coming at the next selectmen’s meeting and community members are encouraged to come.

Article 18 was passed to appropriate funds to provide the construction of a septic system and bathroom to the town property of Islesford for the municipal garage that houses the Volunteer Fire Department. Water is life. Article 19 was passed to provide funds for the renovation and restoration of the oldest Spurling Point Cemetery on Great Cranberry. Article 22 stirred up much creative conversation. The article itself, which was amended after much discussion, was to authorize the municipal officers to borrow funds for the construction, renovation or purchase of a building for the purpose of a town office. This article brought forward many thoughts from community members about a permanent or rotating town office, a satellite office for the opposing island, using currently underused buildings or shared spaces such as one of the schools when not being used full time. The article was passed to grant funds to look into the many options we have, and creative community input will be helpful to move forward.

There was good discussion about articles 26, 27 and 28 regarding the authorization of funds to be borrowed, partnering with an internet service provider and applying for grants in order to build a broadband network for Great Cranberry, Little Cranberry and Suttons Island to provide long-term broadband internet services. Mark Ouellette and others from Axiom attended to present their company in person and answer people’s questions. This will help the Cranberry Isles in many aspects, providing services to some not yet provided, having access to more resources, allowing for further access to education, making it easier for many community members to do their work remotely and help diversify the islands. These articles were passed, and steps are being taken to bring better internet services using the next generation of technology.

There was so much invigorating and important discussion that not all the items on the docket could be discussed and voted on in a timely manner. Being a community made up of islands, we all know we are limited to a boat schedule. The town meeting will be continued in the same location this Friday, March 17, at 8:45 a.m. sharp. Local governance on the Cranberry Isles is a marvelous and enriching experience never to be missed. Not everywhere do we have the privilege to come together as a community to fully discuss our concerns and wishes. Moments like these display democracy at its finest. A community and an event like this should not be taken for granted. Even whilst amongst heated conversation, tension from disagreement, and the frustration of being constrained to an always weather-dependent boat schedule, we must never forget that we are the lucky ones.

Islesford Boatworks is coming to the surface in island consciousness. Topics have included summer housing for staff and a new young assistant! Tony Archino has introduced Sarah “Sadie” Ames Archino, who arrived Sunday night to join Tony, her mother, Sarah, and brother, Hank. Congratulations, Sarah, and welcome, Sadie! Sadie was 8 pounds, 11 ounces and 20.5 inches at birth. Sarah will be on sabbatical next fall, and they will spend the semester on Islesford. The Islesford community will have a great time getting to know the whole family better and watching Sadie grow.

Ann Fernald, Ashley Bryan, Serena Spurling, Jason Pickering and David Thomas joined Cindy Thomas for tea at the library on March 7. On Thursday, Jeri Spurling joined Ashley Bryan, Elliott Damon Hadlock and Bode Duggan making and flying paper airplanes. The book they had read was “Wind Flyers.” Cindy said Jeri makes the best paper airplane she’s ever seen. Might be all the spatial design Jeri does?

The only birthday this coming week is on March 23, Gretchen and Frances Blank. Many happy returns, Frances and Gretchen! And a new birthday for the Islesford community: Sarah Ames Archino on March 12.

Sally Rowan and Sarah McCracken

Sally Rowan and Sarah McCracken

We look forward to reporting all the news. Send items to us by 5 p.m. on Sunday. For Islesford, email Sally Rowan at [email protected] com, and for Great Cranberry, email Sarah McCracken at [email protected] or call her at 978-879-5939.
Sally Rowan and Sarah McCracken

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