Walking along what many here on Cranberry call the rosa rugosa beach, the salty, slightly balmy evening air filling my heart as I breathed in was a sign that summer is nearing. All the floats at the town dock have been put into the water, and many summer residents have made their appearances this past week, removing storm windows, opening curtains, planting flowers and dusting away cobwebs hidden in the corners of their homes. The spiders must now find new homes to spin their webs until next winter. While beach combing, rubbing the smooth, tumbled sea glass between my thumb and index finger, I looked up to see all of my island friends’ dogs scamper up and down the beach together in elation, tongues hanging out as they left their paw prints in the sand, and I thought to myself how blessed these dogs are to live and play in such a beautiful, peaceful place. Then I thought about how blessed I myself am to be here, to be a part of it.
That same feeling arises when Islesford and Great Cranberry meet as a town to practice democracy. This past Saturday, May 14, there was a special town meeting held at the Islesford Neighborhood House to discuss very important matters such as our ferry service. The room was filled with community members from both islands. Year-round residents, homeowners and non-voting residents came to give their opinions and be a part of our community’s decision-making process. As always, it is a fascinating event to participate in, to see true democracy at work and be able to listen to the insightful and contrasting opinions of your fellow community members to help better form your own opinion.
The most pressing issue was that of the ferry service. Ex-captain for the Beal and Bunker ferries Rob Liebow read a compelling, emotional and beautifully crafted letter he had written not only expressing his personal opinion but giving historical background on the Beal and Bunker ferry service and its founder, Wilfred Bunker. After hours of respectful open discussion, the community came to vote on Article 7, deciding on an option for the town and its Board of Selectmen to pursue. The town will be pursuing option 7b, a single operator, private service contracted by the town of Cranberry Isles. Rather than accepting a service, this option will have the town soliciting service from a private contractor based on specific terms and conditions decided upon by the town and the Board of Selectmen. The town must now seek a postal contract to be subcontracted to a private operator and permanent landing rights in Northeast Harbor.
This solution to helping secure ferry service for the islands and those who rely on its transportation would not have been possible without the hardworking and determined members of the Municipal Advisory Committee, the Transportation Task Force, and community members who attended these meetings. Without their time and dedication to this issue, islanders could have been left without solutions fitted to our specific needs and desires. Although a decision on how to move forward has been made, community input and participation is still needed. As a member of this magical community of the Cranberry Isles, please participate however you can, whether at town meetings, Board of Selectmen meetings or MAC meetings. All are open to the public, and your voice, our voices, matter in making our community come together to work better and live better in harmony as the unique town of Cranberry Isles.
Ben Stevens graduated from Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday, May 7. He’ll spend some time on the State of Maine this summer and be licensed to work in the large ships.
Paul Brumaghim graduated from Bay Path University on Saturday, May 14, and will be on Islesford for the summer.
There was a joint island church service on Sunday morning to celebrate Pentecost, sometimes referred to as the church’s birthday. Held at the Islesford Congregational Church, it was followed by the 3rd Annual Chili Nights Cook-off, originally scheduled in February but postponed because of foul weather. Several people came over from Great Cranberry with Tom Powell for the service, and more came on the 11 a.m. mail boat for the chili party.
Islesford attendees were Skip Stevens, Joy Sprague, Dave Thomas, Ashley Bryan, Soos Valdina, Sally Rowan, Amy Palmer, Bruce Fernald, Brenna Sullivan, Cari Alley and Christopher Hathaway. Those from Great Cranberry included Tom, Becca and Lew Powell; Chris Johnston; Darlene Sumner, Kariah and Audre; Ingrid Gaither and Samson. Apologies to those whose names I missed.
Cari Alley was the planner and primary host. She wrote: “Thank you to everyone that came and helped raise over $900 to support Colegio Moriah in the Dominican Republic.
“Five teams entered! Four of those teams were in the ‘bean’ category, while there was one entry in the ‘other’ category. There were no entries for ‘no bean’ or ‘cornbread.’
“The teams were Chili Not Chilly, Kariah Sumner, 1st place; The Incinerators with their chili con carne, Amy and Adele Palmer, 2nd place; Team Solo with his ‘maybe chili,’ Bruce Fernald, 3rd place; The Red Hot Chili Pepper with her Chili-wow-wow, Joy Sprague; Buggin’ Out with her white chili, Brenna Sullivan, who won 1st place in ‘other.’ ”
This week includes birthdays for Sannah and Whit Chaplin on May 20. Jim Fortune adds one on May 21, followed by Ben Stevens on May 24. Christopher Hathaway celebrates his birthday on May 26. Happy birthday to all!