• Fairer fares

    Fairer fares

    The Maine State Ferry Service needs to raise more money from users of the service, under a state law requiring that half the agency’s budget must come from passenger and parking fees and fares. That’s fine. The proposal on the table, though, is not the right one. Summer residents of Swans Island, who make up

  • A party of one

    A party of one

    Last Friday, Maine State Police and Department of Corrections staff, under orders from Gov. LePage, descended on the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport before first light. Their message to the prison’s 51 employees? “Good morning. You’re fired.” Their message to all 63 prisoners was hardly less jarring. They were being transferred immediately to the Charleston

  • Trash talk

    Trash talk

    It’s February 2018, and that means where our trash goes is about to change. The Municipal Review Committee, a consortium of 187 towns, ends its business relationship with the Penobscot Resource Energy Co. on April 1. At last count, 111 of those towns plan to stick with the MRC and begin sending their trash to

  • Reducing friction

    Reducing friction

    Despite a push over the last 12 months to improve civility and communication in Bar Harbor town government proceedings, the budget season is beginning with continued friction between the Town Council and the 22-member Warrant Committee. What can be done to clear the air? Members of both bodies are volunteers who slog through snow and

  • Energy mix

    Energy mix

    During the two weeks after Christmas, Maine and the Northeast experienced the coldest continuous weather in 50 years. Degree days, a measure of temperature variations as they affect the heating requirements of buildings, exceeded the previous season’s levels by 55 percent. Natural gas customers with interruptible supply contracts were turned off so that homes and

  • Selfless service

    Selfless service

    Some friends were out to dinner at a local restaurant last Wednesday when they got the call. Cold water rescue, their pagers said, and the volunteer firefighters left their just-served meals and headed to the station. Other volunteer paramedics and firefighters around the island left warm houses, food and family to head out into the

  • Responsive government

    Responsive government

    Last week, the Board of Selectmen in Mount Desert held a public hearing on a proposed action: a marijuana moratorium ordinance. Much of the time, in many towns, required public hearings are a formality. A handful of interested parties attend and offer testimony, but the legislative phase of crafting an ordinance is already mostly complete.

  • Conversation partners

    Conversation partners

    The first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration and the 2017 Women’s March is one of those moments that brings into sharp relief the political diversity of Mount Desert Island and Hancock County communities. For some, this weekend last year was a launch pad for a year of political action they’d never imagined themselves taking: calling

  • Sensible law

    Sensible law

    Political observers are starting to identify how the nation’s two political parties have marginalized the majority of moderate voters, the voters who comprise the largest block of citizens in our country. Changing patterns — with extreme positions both left and right — leave a ripe middle ground that can be exploited. Working to enact important

  • Don’t drill

    Don’t drill

    The U.S. Department of the Interior released a proposal last Thursday for oil and gas leasing in federal waters along the continental shelf. The Bureau of Ocean Energy management is working to develop a new Outer Continental Shelf program that, if approved, will supersede the currently approved 2017-2022 program. Two oil and gas leases are