James Fortune, the administrative assistant to the Cranberry Isles selectmen, served four years in the Air Force after graduating from Maranacook High School in his hometown of Readfield. Leaving the military, he went to the University of Southern Maine to earn a degree in geography and anthropology, with an applied minor in urban planning.
Fortune worked in several municipal planning departments in Maine before moving to Islesford on December 1, 2010. Among other responsibilities, he oversees the town’s facilities, including land in Manset that offers parking, a dock, water access, a boat shop, and a warehouse.
The town also leases parking spaces in Northeast Harbor, from which the Beal & Bunker ferries run year-round to Islesford and Great Cranberry Island.
Then there are transfer stations, salt/sand sheds, and town-owned docks on both islands, plus similar docks on Sutton Island and at Manset, and the municipal fire station on Islesford. The town has installed new hoists at the Islesford and Great Cranberry docks.
Also the town’s road commissioners, the selectmen launched a major road-rehabilitation program for which Fortune issues bids and monitors the work. “In eight years we’ve done four major rebuild projects and some significant repairing on Great Cranberry Island” and rebuilt a long section of Main Street on Islesford from the town ramp to a point well beyond the Ashley Bryan School, he said.
Fortune credited the selectmen and town voters for pursuing a $1.3 million USDA grant funding 85 percent of broadband internet installation on Islesford, Great Cranberry and Sutton Island, the latter populated seasonally. The town funded the remaining 15 percent. Axiom started building the system on Islesford in February 2018.
“Jobs are a big thing out here,” and broadband will give residents the ability to run internet-based businesses from home, Fortune said.
He has a daughter who lives in Freeport.