Category Archives: News

Rallying to Support Westport Island’s Ethan Langley

Spaghetti fundraiser helps to lend a hand…

burma shave signs for spaghetti fundraiserLast Saturday, islanders had the opportunity to help a neighbor while enjoying dinner — and getting a break from fixing dinner at home in a hot, steamy summer kitchen.

Sue Anderson and friends organized a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at the Town Hall to help Ethan Langley with medical bills from a protracted illness due to liver failure. Sue and Ethan grew up on the island together; and according to her mother, Cheryl Anderson, Sue decided to organize the fundraiser because “that’s just the kind of person she is.” As a paramedic, Sue also sees the fallout from serious medical issues on a daily basis.

Between the dinner, a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction and T-shirt sales, more than $2,000 was raised to help the Langley family with medical bills and transportation costs. Although Ethan was unable to join his supporters, he called in from Leahy Clinic to express his appreciation and get a rousing “Hey Ethan!” from his home team.

Ethan has been living back at home with his mother, Diane Langley, as he weathers the ups and downs of awaiting a donor for a liver transplant. He has been unable to work since October when his health took a marked downturn.

Those who have suffered catastrophic illnesses know the secondary trauma of being buried by mountains of medical bills. Despite his trials, Ethan walked into the fire department this past April volunteering to do “whatever he could” because he wanted to give back. He’s made a valiant — and much appreciated — attempt to be a part of the fire department despite recurring and significant health challenges.

Ethan’s came home this week but will return to Boston Tuesday to find out his ranking on the donor list. Prayers are appreciated. Well wishes can be sent to him at 309 Main Road, Westport Island, ME 04578.

For those who were unable to attend the spaghetti fundraiser and who might like to add their support, there is an account set up for Ethan at Midcoast Federal Credit Union: Account No. 606113, 41 US-1, Edgecomb, ME 04556.

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Perfect Weather, Perfect Neighborhood Barbeque

The Westport Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD) thanks all for a great evening

serving under a thank you signOnce the annual WVFD Barbeque was underway, a turn of the head left and a turn of the head right from the entry of the Town Hall gave a view of parked cars as far as one could see. About 230 friends, neighbors and volunteers turned out to visit, enjoy a barbeque dinner and support the fire department. When just-retired Fire Chief Bob Mooney arrived to join the annual get-together, traffic was so busy, he couldn’t find a parking space and had to move on…

It was sad to miss Chief Mooney’s company, but affirming for new Fire Chief Stacey Hutchison that his first barbeque as Chief appeared to be an overwhelming success. When all expenses are paid, the WVFD will likely have raised $2,500 – $3,000 from dinner & dessert donations, T-Shirt sales and raffles. And surely there was a nod of appreciation for the sounds of the Old Grey Goose Band who stepped in to serenade us when the Back to Basics Blue Grass Band was otherwise engaged.

Putting together the annual barbeque is a monumental event for both the fire department and the Community Association. The fire department focuses on food, cooks, servers, set up and logistics. The Community Association focuses on promotion, dessert, entertainment and organizational details. Then
there are generous event sponsors who help to underwrite the event — Bath Savings, Norm’s Used Cars and John E. Bailey (whose donation honored the memory of WVFD Fire Chief Alan Anderson). This year also saw a new “guardian angel,” Liz, the innkeeper of the Squire Tarbox Inn who, along with the inn’s new owners, allowed us to piggyback our food order on the inn’s so the WVFD could benefit from wholesale pricing and reduce costs. Thank you all!!

…And — congratulations to Robert DeLong for walking away with $212 after winning the 50/50 raffle!

If you want to help with next year’s event, speak to Fire Chief Stacey Hutchison or one of the Co-Chairs of the Community Association, Drew Porter or Art Weber.

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The Community Association Does It Right

Puts on a spread, helps us connect and leads a community thank you!

For those who followed the Burma Shave signs leading onto the island last Saturday and accepted the invitation to attend the Westport Community Association’s annual “Meet & Greet,” life was good. The Meet & Greet provides an opportunity for year-round and summer residents to reconnect, sip wine, sample hors-d’oeuvres and trade laughs — and perhaps an occasional fish story.

This year also gave us an opportunity to thank Bill & Jill Cooney for years of service dedicated to preserving and caring for our historic Town Hall. Bill resigned this year as Chair of the Town Hall Committee where he has led fellow volunteers in a tireless effort to maintain and update the hall as well as to beautify the grounds of this historic property. Since the inception of the Town Hall Committee in 1993, the town has seen the Town Hall transformed from an historic structure in need of care to a well-preserved and proud symbol of our island’s history, as well as a functional gathering place for our community. Bill had been its chair from the beginning — February, 1993 — to April of this year.

Thank you Bill and support team Jill and fellow members of the Town Hall Committee. Of particular note, a special thanks to Bob Mongeon — carpenter, heating technician and jack of all trades — who also retired this last year. And thank you to the Community Association for the work, refreshments and thought put into this delightful event!

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Selected photo credits to Laurie Jaramillo

The Community Association’s First Pancake Breakfast Was…

Awesome!

pancake breakfast collageWhether you call them hoe cakes, johnnycakes, flapjacks or pancakes — they were great. Dick Barker brought his secret recipe; and he, Jim Hatch and Brad Adler served up some “satisfyingly” fluffy rounds to flavor with your choice of real maple syrup, blueberries, chocolate chips, jam or all of the above…

Friends and neighbors came and lingered over coffee and the chance to connect after a long, cold winter. More than 100 people ate, served their neighbors, laughed and conversed…and, they raised more than $300. Great job Community Association! Nice way to kick off the season.

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Professional collage courtesy of Laurie Jaramillo

A 2017 Westport Island Halloween by Candlelight

October 30’s winds take down trees and bring darkness…

The storm of October 30 downed more than 60 trees on town roads alone — not counting the state portion of the Main Road and private roads — and downed scores more throughout the island. With about ten electrical poles broken, wires on the ground and some wires stretched by broken and uprooted trees and pulled off of houses, residents woke to no power, no cable, few landlines and spotty internet.

The good news: no one was hurt, neighbors are helping neighbors and Central Maine Power (CMP) did its initial assessment of damage on Monday evening — when its crews ensured one lane was “safely” open on the Main Road at Fox Run, 200 Main Road and the Squire Tarbox Inn where trees brought down the wires and blocked the roadway — proceed with caution. The bad news, we are at the bottom of the triage list for power restoration with no critical services and a small, residential-only population. CMP states we should have substantial power restoration by the end of the weekend. Crews will come in numbers to Lincoln County today; although they are not yet scheduled for the major work needed on Westport. Time Warner/Spectrum and Fairpoint will not be able to do restoration work until CMP restores its poles and lines.

A warming center is open daily until 8:30 pm at the Westport Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD) where residents can warm up, charge their electronic devices, take a shower, get water, use the microwave and kitchen facilities and connect. The WVFD’s landline is operational: 882-6806, or you can call the Fire Chief directly with questions: 460-0367.

Thanks to private citizens and D&G Cromwell, all roads are navigable. East Shore Road is open on both sides, but is still blocked in the 200 block. Although roadways are navigable, they are not necessarily safe. Be cautious of trees on wires, wires in the roadway and hanging branches.

You may see the island’s Emergency Management Assistance personnel out and about collecting photographs of damage. Lincoln County has also asked that we collect pictures of damages to private property. If you have photographs of damage to your private residences, structures or vehicles, please send them to wagnerhiggins11@gmail.com or townclerk@westportisland.us and provide any details that you can. The County is in the process of compiling documentation of damages for the state’s request for a Disaster Declaration.

Regardless of the power situation, we will have the State election at the Town Hall on Tuesday, November 7, from 8 am to 8 pm. Today is the last day to get a regular absentee ballot. If you need one, call the Town Clerk at 380-4476 and arrangements will be made to get you a ballot. Absentee ballots are only available after today for Special Circumstances. Call the Town Clerk if you have questions.

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A Beautiful Day for a Run, or Walk

Westport Island’s 13th Annual Shore Run

On Sunday, the sun shone on the 13th Annual Westport Island Shore Run 10K and 5K Fun Walk. The numbers of runners and walkers were the lowest ever (something to work on for next year), but the weather was simply perfect for a scenic outing with friends.

The 10K race by the numbers: Garret Bonney, Boston, took first place with a time of 47:25, a 7:38 pace. Leslie Couper, Falmouth, took the top women’s spot with a time of 50:52, an 8:12 pace. Nora Bradford was the top finishing Westport Islander with a time of 55:35, an 8:57 pace. And Top Dog, Besor, with handler Gail Reinertsen, Brunswick, finished with a time of 1:08:19.

The 5K fun walk by the numbers: there are no numbers, but it was a beautiful walk! Top Dog: Gracie, with her handler, Westport Island Town Office star Dedee Greenleaf-Hodgdon. Congratulations to all the finishers!

With the generosity of sponsors Wayfair; Maine Yankee; Sheepscot River Marine Service; Bath Savings Bank; Ames True Value Supply; Sharon Drake Real Estate; Newcastle Jeep, Chysler, Dodge; the Westport Island Brewing Company; Sparhawk Gear; Norm’s Used Cars; Wiscasset Ford, First Federal Savings, Hodgdon Yacht Services and the Hampton Inn of Bath, it’s estimated that over $1,000 was raised for the Westport Volunteer Fire Department.

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Photo credit: photo of Garret Bonney, Bib #20, by Rob Whitney

Westport Island Solar Eclipse

A brief shadow on a beautiful day

About 1:30 p.m., the light inside the house dimmed for about 20 minutes as with the shadows of passing clouds. An “instamatic” digital camera and a handheld welding mask gave a peek at the progression of the celestial crossing — more impressive with the eye than with the lens.

Not since June 8, 1918, has there been a coast-to-coast solar eclipse. And, this one just nipped the northeast with the moon blocking less than 60% of the sun’s face. Although impressive as a partial eclipse, Maine has a date with a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 — leaving plenty of time to save up for the proper eyewear and camera equipment…

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Another Successful Summer Barbeque

Shows “the love” for the Westport Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD)

Cloudy skies and a passing squall gave way to beautiful weather for a summer’s eve chicken barbeque on Saturday. The annual barbeque is the Westport Volunteer Fire Department’s flagship fundraiser event. In partnership with the Westport Community Association, the Fire Department hosted a great spread with entertainment from the Back to Basics Bluegrass Band. More than 200 Westport Islanders turned out to enjoy the evening and support their emergency responders.

Almost $3,000 was raised from dinner donations, a 50/50 raffle, fire department T-shirt and hat sales and the “Dunk the Chief” tank. A San Franciso firefighter renting a house on the island stopped by just to drop a donation in the fire boot, and several said it was the “best barbeque ever.” Thanks to all for making it a great evening…

A Westport Island House Featured in a Digital Exhibit

The Maine Historical Society’s digital library features the Cornelius Tarbox, Jr. House

Cornelius Tarbox, Jr. HouseThe Maine Historical Society’s digital library, the Maine Memory Network (MMN), is featuring a digital exhibit that highlights a Westport Island treasure, the Cornelius Tarbox, Jr. House. As many long time islanders know, the entry hallway of the house is decorated with a panorama of marine murals that have captured the imagination of owners and visitors past and present. Current owners Bob and Callie Connor have become guardian angels of the murals.

West hallway mural with three masted schooner headed to a lighthouseThe Connors have invested in preserving the murals, and they have become avid “art history detectives” intent on identifying the artist who left his, or her, mark on Westport Island. Since purchasing the house in 2013, the Connors have educated themselves on 19th century folk and marine muralists working in this area. They have networked with and invited experts on the works of famed Maine muralists Rufus Porter; his nephew, Jonathan Poor; and others working in a similar school of painting to view the murals. Through their research, the Connors have determined that a mural in the Five Islands Baptist Church in Georgetown is by the same artist.

One day, the Connors hope to identify their home’s muralist. Ideally, the exhibit at MMN will bring the story of the murals before more history detectives and elicit more clues that may help to solve this muralist whodunit.

See the MMN exhibit: Mural Mystery in Westport Island’s Cornelius Tarbox, Jr. House

Westport Island’s February Blizzard

Had both upsides and downsides…

Depending where you live on the island, tree buffering and drifting, Islanders reported from 23.5 inches to 3 feet of snow when the first blizzard of 2017 subsided on February 13. When life was back to normal, historic island landmarks — the Town Hall, the Community Church and the Baptist Church, as well as the Town Office, looked like wintry greeting card images.

fire department's caved in portable garageThe Westport Volunteer Fire Department’s hard-bottom inflatable boat just looked buried, and now it looks homeless.

The boat lost its home in February’s snow deluge. Snow accumulation caved in the boat’s portable garage. Only the frame of the garage still stands, so the boat is now exposed to the elements. Space is too limited inside the fire department bays to move the boat inside, and the plastic tarp has proven to be an inadequate solution.

There would be space inside the garage if it weren’t for “historic” Engine 1, which also needs to be inside. Engine 1 is no longer a regular, functioning member of the fire department; it is used only for parades and ceremonial events. …But, it is a sentimental favorite of many islanders, because it is the first fire truck purchased brand new for the island back in 1963.

Wanted: Covered parking for Engine 1

The fire department is seeking assistance from an island resident who might have unused space in a barn or garage to park Engine 1. The Engine is 23′ long, 7’9″ wide and 8’4″ high. If you can help the fire department by providing a temporary or ongoing shelter, please call Fire Chief Bob Mooney at 460-0367.

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