The second half of October was cold, rainy and gray; very much like the weather we had in May. Many islanders once again had flooded basements. On a wet October 16, the fourth annual Mount Desert Island Marathon was successfully orchestrated by Gary Allen of Great Cranberry Island. His friend Martha Stewart started the runners off with the blast of an air horn, appropriate for the foggy day and necessary due to some rule excluding ex-cons from using starter’s pistols. A number of people connected to Cranberry and Islesford were there to help or to run in the event. Among them, Rolf Westphal took 10th place, Ted Carroll was 131st, and Heather Jones came in at 150. Amy Philbrook was there to encourage her running friends, and Sarah Corson joined Dick Atlee who offered his own version of support for the runners near the Acadia Mountain fire road. Dick played his accordion continuously for about six hours, while under the shelter of his tailgate. Eve Harrison worked at the finish line, handing out medals and helping to direct people. Our town is proud of Gary for his perseverance and success in originating an international event. Our islands have produced many great runners over the years and the tradition continues with Eve Harrison coaching the runners from the Islesford School. For two years in a row we have had a first place runner among the girls at the championship meets. More importantly, Eve has encouraged so many island kids to run. She takes special pride in the ones who, with no previous experience, are able to finish a mile-and-a-half race, no matter what their speed.
The Town of Cranberry Isles held a special town meeting on Oct. 18. Attendance was low as most of the lobster fishermen were out hauling traps on one of the few days of good weather. Thirty-two people discussed and voted on articles to give Selectmen permission to: apply for a Shore and Harbor Technical Assistance Grant, enter into a multi-year (up to 3 years) contract for the care of town floats and ramps, and use up to $35,000 of the school system’s “Undesignated Fund Balance” to replace the septic system at the Islesford School. The article to expand the Board of Selectmen from 3 to 5 was voted down by 21 “no” to 6 “yes.” The ballot vote on the “Street Naming and Numbering Ordinance” for Great Cranberry resulted in a tie. With a lack of a majority, the ordinance did not pass. Articles concerning a recall procedure for elected Municipal Officials passed by majority votes.
Both Islesford and Great Cranberry held community Halloween parties. On Cranberry, three-year-old Sofie Dowling is the only child on the island, so she invited some friends over for trick or treating during the day on Saturday. By the end of the month temperatures rose and skies lightened as if November were offering an apology for the previous month. Eleven Dip of the Month Club members went for a swim during the first week, while the air temperature was 60 and the water temperature held at 50. The cold weather is starting to come back now as we prepare for Thanksgiving and the December holidays. More people are heating with wood this year, as the price of kerosene on the island is $3.17 per gallon. Last year at this time it was $2.23.
When an Islesford resident called 911 on Nov. 3, the call went through a dispatcher in Ellsworth and two Islesford first responders were on the scene in three minutes. In such a tiny community, we all know where each other lives, but what about when the population quadruples in the summer? Renters are not always able to describe where they are staying, and the Patriot Act requires us all to have a physical address. The time has come for street signs on the islands, whether we like it or not. To be compliant with enhanced 911 services, we will all need a house number and a street address. It is hoped that the system will help to reduce our fire insurance rates, and it is important to remember that naming a private road does not turn it into a public way. Islesford has passed its street naming ordinance, and we are likely to see some kind of street signs by next summer. On Great Cranberry, the proposed street naming ordinance provoked a heated discussion at the recent town meeting. Some are afraid that
a street sign and house number will change the very nature of our community. With no inland zoning in our town, people could do a lot worse than put a number on their house and have a sign at the end of the road, but they don’t. The road names and numbers need only apply to 911 services. We will all still have our mail delivered to our boxes at the Post Office. When we order by catalog or on-line we will still be able to make up our own addresses, smiling to ourselves as we know that even with a street address, Fed Ex and UPS only make it as far as the Beal and Bunker truck in Northeast Harbor. Bruce and I call our street Coast Guard Road. David and Cindy Thomas live two houses down, but they call our street Lobster Lane. On the tax maps it is Bar Road. Ashley Bryan uses a variety of addresses: 3 Choice Potatoes Road, Langston Hughes Lane, and Rainer Maria Rilke Strauss, to name a few. No matter what the street naming committee chooses for our roads, when we check for our packages it
will still be a matter of looking in the shed at the end of the dock. Our friends will still call us to say, “Did you know you have a package in the building?” Better yet, they may still drive by to drop it off at our house. With the holidays upon us it is my wish that everyone stay safe, happy and sane. May all of your heaviest shopping days coincide with a high tide, and may all of your packages arrive on time, no matter what address you use.
Islesford, Nov. 15, 2005