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Westport Island Votes 2014

May peace now come to the air waves and the home telephone…

Westport Island cast a record number of absentee votes this year, and an impressive number of townspeople filed into the Town Hall yesterday to vote…all hoping to make a difference — and to make all the signs and telephone calls go away.

The Town Hall mascot, the “Island loon,” has now been presiding over Westport elections for 125 years — since 1889 — and has seen a lot of voters come and go. Yesterday, it saw the six voting booths full many times during the course of the day with about a 70 percent voter turnout.

Including absentee voters, Westport Islanders cast a total of 432 votes in this election. Throughout the day, poll workers confronted questions and problems with an eye to maintaining the right of people to vote and the integrity of the process. The final count for the day — with three ballots — took counters into the wee hours. Thank you voters, poll workers, and ballot counters for your dedication to the process and making this another “good vote”!

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How Islanders voted the contested races:

United States Senator Shenna Bellows (D) 141
Susan M. Collins (R) 289
Christopher A. Lyons (I) 0
Deril V. Stubenrod (R) 0
Governor Eliot R. Cutler (I) 32
Paul R. LePage (R) 214
Michael H. Michaud (D) 184
J. Martin Vachon (U) 0
U.S. House District #1 Isaac J. Misiuk (R) 147
Richard P. Murphy (I) 34
Chellie Pingree (D) 235
Barry Stephens (R) 0
Maine Senate District #13 Leslie T. Fossel (R) 209
Christopher K. Johnson (D) 202
Maine Legislative District #89 William H. Coombs (I) 206
Stephanie Hawke (R) 179
Register of Probate (write-ins) Stephen Brian Gottlieb (D) 15
Kenneth S. Maguire (R) 4
Catherine H. Moore (R) 58
District Attorney Geoffrey A. Rushlau (R) 207
David A. Sinclair (D) 186
Question 1: Bear baiting referendum Yes 227
No 192
Question 2: Maine agriculture bond Yes 247
No 160
Question 3: Small business loans Yes 242
No 162
Question 4: Cancer Center Yes 238
No 166
Question 5: Biotechnology jobs & training Yes 199
No 202
Question 6: Clean water bond Yes 250
No 158
Question 7: Marine economy bond Yes 248
No 157
Municipal Budget Committee referendum Yes 195
No 174

Calling Westport Island Volunteers…

to the business of governing…

You stated that we had a young board of officers, to rule the town…there is but one… the rest are sly and underminded and do not know what they are in office for…they will not have much influence upon the business of the bridge; for there are two to one in favor of the roads, and also the bridge…They that are opposed to the roads and bridge being built…have but one…and he would have no more influence, on the minds of the people, than a child.

Roads, bridges and strong opinions…Could be any year in the life of the Island. It just happens to be 1848, and the sentiments come from Franklin Tarbox writing to his sister Sarah.

Built in 1840, the first Westport bridge had a price tag of $6,000 – a pretty hefty purse in those days. Then, as now, those that wanted to be geographically isolated from the troubles of the mainland were pitted against those that wanted aesthetics and privacy with convenient access to services. …And, those that wanted to invest for the future and what they considered the communal greater good were pitted against those that carefully minded their purses and costs vs. benefits. There are always issues to divide.

Tis the season once again to nominate a selectman, a road commissioner and two budget committee members; pontificate…and meet about the town’s business. Town voting will be June 28; town meeting June 29.

Ten plus committees of volunteers and another 10 to 15 volunteer officers are sworn in each July 1 and form the core of our town government. Volunteers contemplate and formulate planning and development regulations; maintain our 70 plus cemeteries; monitor shellfish harvesting; operate safety — and safety net — services; advocate for preserving land and a community trails system; hear planning appeals; and do much more. New committee members are always welcome on all committees. The Planning Board in particular is looking for an interested planner or two.

Also Wanted: two Budget Committee members; nomination papers available from the Town Clerk and due May 14 (25 to 100 signatures needed). Benefits: Learn the town’s budget, engage in dialogue with citizens and selectmen, and offer suggestions to the Selectmen.

Compensation for all town positions: An opportunity to “pay it forward” for living in such a pretty, peaceful place — where people may disagree, but nonetheless care about the Island.

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Westport Island Pays Tribute To Ruth Nelson

Emily Adler congratulates Ruth NelsonOn Tuesday, November 20, 2012, Westport Island’s Ruth Nelson was honored at the Lincoln County Spirit of America awards ceremony in Wiscasset. The Spirit of America awards pay tribute to individuals and organizations for outstanding volunteer contributions to their communities.

County Administrator John O’Connell presided over the awards ceremony before an audience of almost 50 award recipients, supporters, and camera snipers. State Sen. Chris Johnson was also on hand to present proclamations on behalf of the 125th Maine Legislature to echo its support for the efforts of volunteers in bettering Maine communities.

Westport depends on many volunteers to keep the engines of our community running. Ruth Nelson is one who stands out. As Chair of the Planning Board, she has led an effort to update town ordinances; she has written and secured grants to improve the Ferry Landing; she is Treasurer of the Community Association; and she is a member of the History Committee where her passion for antiques and her writing and editing skills have made her an important resource.

Ruth was uncomfortable with being singled out. However, she glowed when accepting the award from First Selectman George Richardson. She told the audience, “I’m doing what I love. I don’t want to sit around in a rocking chair and look at the water.” (Good deal.)

Westport Island has participated in the Spirit of America awards since 2010. The Board of Selectmen solicits nominations and picks the tribute recipients. Past recipients have been the Westport Volunteer Fire Department (2010) and the Westport Island Human Resources Committee (2011). Here’s a look at this year’s ceremony…

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Westport Island Vote 2012

stuffed loon that has presided over the town hall since the turn of the 20th centuryUnder the watchful eyes of the loon…

Townspeople filed into the Old Town Hall on November 6 to cast their votes — hoping to hand their chosen candidates a “win;” and judging from the comments, hoping to put an end to this year’s political advertising.

The loon has been presiding over town elections since 1889. According to the Westport Island history compiled by John and Louise Swanton, the loon was shot at Squam Creek by Everett McCarthy of the Post Office Road; and “young” Cornelius Tarbox of West Shore Road mounted the bird and presented it to the Town. It’s been sitting atop the beam framing the town hall’s stage as unofficial mascot ever since.

Including absentee voters, Westport Islanders cast a total of 489 votes in this election — representing a voter turnout of over 75 percent. Election officials were primarily volunteers. We owe the integrity of the ballot box, the incoming voter’s list, the ballot count, and the accommodating Westport voting experience to our neighbors. Thank you all…

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How Islanders voted the contested races:

President Gary E. Johnson (L) 7
Barack Obama (D) 254
Mitt Romney (R) 221
Jill Stein (G) 4
U.S. Senate Danny Francis Dalton (N) 3
Cynthia Ann Dill (D) 20
Andrew Ian Dodge (I) 5
Angus King (I) 276
Charles E. Summers (R) 163
Stephen M. Woods (I) 9
U.S. House District #1 Jonathan T. E. Courtney (R) 196
Chellie Pingree (D) 275
Maine Senate District #20 Leslie T. Fossel (R) 255
Christopher K. Johnson (D) 208
Maine House District #61 Stephanie Hawke (R) 202
W. Bruce MacDonald (D) 262
Question 1: Same-sex marriage Yes 251
No 222
Question 2: Higher education bond Yes 220
No 241
Question 3: Conservation bond Yes 296
No 170
Question 4: Transportation bond Yes 339
No 124
Question 5: Water systems bond Yes 299
No 164
RSU #12 revised cost sharing formula Yes 379
No 79