Blog Archives

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…

Looking Back on Westport Island 2013

dog running towards the camera under icy branchesAnother year of passages…a year older, and hopefully a year wiser…

On a civic note — we gave thanks to: Bruce Whittemore for crafting a sign marking the Westport Volunteer Fire Department; the Bristol Fire Department and a generous Island donor for giving our fire department a new rescue vehicle — making response to medical calls more efficient; Roni and Mario De Pietro for donating an 1832 Tarbox family bible to the History Committee; Sarah Rhinelander for starting the Good Egg Exchange, a community bulletin board…and to taxpayers and the Wright Landing Committee members for landscaping and maintaining the Landing — giving us a scenic, community access point to Island waterways and fishing grounds.

Thanks also to the History Committee for starting a digital library that will make historical photographs and documents accessible via the Maine Memory Network. The first digitized items were the “Sarah Tarbox Letters.” The letters, written from 1836 to 1855, give a glimpse of a time when Islanders traveled by steamer and horse-drawn coach. Visit mainememory.net to view holdings, which will continue to grow.

On a cosmic note: We got a glimpse of the December 8 Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, from Kehail Point — thanks to Michael Lewinski.

On a caring note: The Maine State Legislature memorialized Islander Richard “Bruce” Stedman who died this year. Bruce served the U.S. Navy in WWII and dedicated an extensive career and his personal passion to the United Nations and making the world a more peaceful place. We were also saddened by the loss of Phyllis Colby Hodgdon Mortimer who served as Westport Island’s Town Clerk for 43 years. …And, we share the grief of others who lost loved ones.

On a commercial note: Half Yard Productions, a National Geographic-contracted crew, filmed the labors of two wormers on Westport Island as part of a new TV show.

On a climatic note: We sat out Winter Storm Nemo on February 9 and 10. The storm left us with snow aplenty and without power. We ended the year with ice and snow that strained Island trees and challenged footing, but thankfully left us with electrical power.

On a contemplative note: Like the seasons, the robins and the osprey came and went — and the grasshoppers came and stayed — seemingly longer than most summer people.

On a congratulatory note: Eight-year old Mara Abbott won the T-Shirt Design Contest for grades K-6 sponsored by Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools (FARMS).

On a celebratory note: Three of our volunteer fire fighters and one resident Portland fire fighter made the grueling Fight for Air Stair Climb in Boston. They raised a few thousand dollars for the American Lung Association. The Community Association pulled us together for some fun, including humor by cartoonist Jeff Pert; the summer barbeque; and the Island Christmas Program! Moreover, we live where poets and artists from here and away draw inspiration.

Between the Conservation Commission’s Island Cleanup and the Fire Department’s Yard Sale, we cleaned up during 2013. Here’s to starting anew in the year to come.

Photo credits: Rescue Vehicle, Jeri Pendleton; Aurora Borealis from Kehail Point, Michael Lewinski; Robin’s Eggs, Dedee Greenleaf-Hodgdon; and Mara in the Snowbank, Alexa Abbott

Westport Island Spells Summer with a “Q”

Barbe-que that is…courtesy of the Westport Volunteer Fire Department

Mother Nature defied weather forecasters’ rain predictions for an all-sunny evening of fun at the Fire Department Summer Barbeque. About 200 people turned out to support the Department’s annual fundraiser. And, once again, the Back to Basics Bluegrass Band was on hand to get hands clapping and toes tapping…

A Micro Westport Bird Count

On what was not a good day to be a bird…

Once again, this was the weekend for Cornell’s Great Backyard Bird Count. What a difference a year makes…

Last year, the Sunday of the count was a February-dream-come-true: blue sky, sunshine, an early robin and lots of other birds soaking up the day. This year, swirling snow and icy temperatures equaled: bird scarcity. The birds proved to be a more intelligent life form than me – they stayed out of the blowing cold — and I, too, retreated after a couple of hours.

The sightings:
A lone eider duck bobbing on the Sheepscot River at the mouth of McCarty Cove;
Three crows fleeing the feeders when psycho-puppy bounded across the backyard snow;
A dark-eyed junco at the thistle feeder;
A mourning dove taking refuge on and under the deck; and
A blue jay working the feeders.

Team Westport Took it to the Top

Islanders raised pulses and dollars in the Fight for Air Climb

The 2013 Fight for Air Climb has passed, but Westport Island left footprints in Boston. As of today, the Westport Volunteer Fire Department’s three climbers raised $2,425 from their supporters for the American Lung Association. (Paul Bonyun achieved “VIP status” by raising $1,500). Portland Fire Department’s 37 climbers — with Westport Island’s Angie Calvo as one of its climbers and top fundraisers — raised $7,602.

Times for climbing the long, warm 41 stories of One Boston Place in full turnout gear were:

  • Angie Calvo (#1200): 14.58 minutes
  • Paul Bonyun (#1474): 14.57 minutes
  • Libby Mooney (#1476): 36.31 minutes
  • Jason Abbott (#1475): 10.57 minutes

Of note, Westport fielded two of the most senior firefighter climbers. They were awesome. Check it out…

Music courtesy of the United States Air Force Band; two included pictures courtesy of Alexa Abbott

Looking Back on Westport Island 2012

Another year of passages….

On a civic note: We voted to consider withdrawal from our supervisory school union after a contentious debate; and voted to adopt a school funding formula more advantageous to taxpayers. Almost 80% of registered voters turned out to vote in the presidential election – under the halo of new lights in the Old Town Hall. The majority joined the nation in re-electing President Barack Obama and joined fellow Mainers in sending Independent Angus King to Washington.

Thanks to taxpayers, the Wright Landing Committee, and professional facilitators, we have an awesome boat ramp and jetty. …And, we have a bodacious new fire truck — which has been blessed, as we have been with a dedicated cadre of fire department volunteers who do more than most realize.

On a cosmic note: We had a bird’s eye view of the “super moon” on May 6 — just 222,000 miles away; and, we thankfully survived the Mayan Apocalypse on December 21.

On a caring note: Westport Islanders rallied around Jimmy Cromwell to help pay medical bills from a debilitating fall at his worksite. We grieved with our neighbors who lost loved ones this year: each loss rending in some way our Island fabric.

On a commercial note: A bad year for lobstermen with prices hitting new lows. It was a better year for Judy Hughes’ MicroMainea whose microgreens now adorn the dishes of prestigious Midcoast chefs.

On a climatic note: East Shore Road washed out and was then repaired after a “super rain” on June 3. Donna Curry’s property survived a microburst on August 3. And, the Island took a glancing hit from Hurricane Sandy on October 29.

On a contemplative note: The robins and the osprey came and went; and the Main Road beavers left us – hopefully on a jet plane to a better life.

On a congratulatory note: Best birthday wishes went to centenarian Priscilla Caskins, and an Island’s appreciation went to Ruth Nelson for a Spirit of America award recognizing her volunteer contributions to a better Island.

On a celebratory note: The “Paving” brought us a smooth ride back and forth to the mainland. The History Committee received a grant to digitize historical photographs and documents for community access to selected historical holdings. And…We had some fun!

A Westport Island Christmas Greeting

doorsI heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
‘There is no peace on earth, ‘ I said
‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.’

angelThen pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.’

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

     -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow