Southport Column: Condolences, library news and more

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 7:15am

We have lost two more Southport friends. Marna Denton, wife of George Denton, died on Dec. 26. Look for her obituary elsewhere in this paper. Also Michael Eastwood died on Jan. 11 after a valiant battle with Parkinson’s disease. Both, although not natives, have been long time Southporters. We send sympathy to the Denton and the Eastwood families. The funeral service for Michael Eastwood will be Friday, Jan. 24, at 11 a.m. at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church.

The library aides are actively planning for their annual Souper Bowl Luncheon on Monday, Jan. 20 at the Southport Town Hall starting at 11:30 a.m. Anyone wishing to donate a soup may do so by signing up at the library or call 633-2741. Plan on joining friends and neighbors for a delicious meal.

In other library news a new art show is on display January through February. Pam Riml and the Mid-Coast Fiber Arts Group from Camden, the Boothbay peninsula, Brunswick, Harpswell and Edgecomb have examples of their works on the library walls and tables, including colorful wall hangings, pillows, and framed pieces. In addition to this art, the books, CDs, and DVDs, conversation around the table in the inner room on Tuesday and Thursday mornings can get quite lively. Fresh coffee with usually some chewable accompaniment keeps the participants energized to elucidate the world’s problems, offering some solutions, and to keep good humor flowing. On Tuesday afternoons mostly women gather for a “stitch and chat” session beginning about 1:30 p.m. Getting out and seeing friends and neighbors is a good antidote for the winter doldrums. All are welcome.
A reminder that the library is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Thursday evenings from 6 until 8.

Many folks have asked me about the status of the Ruth Gardiner property so I stopped by the Wednesday evening Selectmen’s meeting. There I learned that there is a contract to buy the property with earnest money down. The prospective buyer has until Jan. 24 to come up with the remainder of the purchase price, and if he does so the sale will be final. Until that time and the contract is met, the property remains on the market.

In response to my questions about the progress on installing solar panels to power town buildings, Gerry explained that the company who had been hired to begin digging the holes for the poles to support the panels was busy this fall with problems caused by our several storms. Thus the project is on hold until spring.

As to other town business the budget is the focus. A public meeting with the budget committee to allow questions about the proposed budget will be Monday, Jan. 27, beginning at 6 p.m. At the Island Store and at the library is a petition asking the town to give a little over $1,000 to help finance the showing of free, family-oriented movies at the Harbor Theater. Children spend lots of time on their devices, but seeing a good movie on a big screen in the theater is a different experience. Yet for a family of two or three children to pay the price of movie admission is sometimes too much. Other towns on the peninsula are also being asked to contribute. The annual town meeting — mark your calendars now — will be Monday, March 2.

Greg Chatterton, Adam Shepherd, Maureen Kinsey, and Nancy Prisk with are working hard to increase the access to internet service on the island. They have linked with the towns of Arrowsic and Georgetown in this endeavor, the group referring to themselves as 3BI. The goal of 3BI is to provide a fiber optic network that will serve every household and business on each island, whether we do this as a three island utility or as individual towns. They have determined that it is worth our while to work only with a company or companies dedicated building a complete fiber network that will served every property with the same high quality affordable service. Stay tuned for more information on this project.

From Sandra Seifert comes the following account of the Boothbay Region Land Trust program held at the Southport Town Hall last Thursday morning. She says that the talk drew at least 100 people. The topic was the declining bird and other vertebrate and invertebrate populations in Maine. Ornithologist Jeff Wells, vice president of Boreal Conservation for National Audubon Society, was guest speaker. With slides, he explained the habitat loss of many birds and other vertebrates and invertebrates by change in population distribution. In the early history of Maine, people farmed away from the coast. Years later, when the farming industry decreased, people moved to the coast to live and not to farm. Therefore the habitat of birds, insects and wildlife decreased as well as their food source to make room for houses, shopping malls and waterfront structures. These animals as well as invertebrates, such as butterflies and insects, were forced to find new habitats that would support their food and shelter needs. While this change benefited the economy of the coast, the natural flora and fauna had to make adjustments that were key to their survival. Some of the birds we no longer see in numbers are the bobolink, white throated sparrow, and the American woodcock. Jeff stated that 40% of the bird species in Maine are a conservation concern. Climate change, carbon emissions and sea level rise can all negatively effect habitat for sea animals. The good news with all of these losses is the reversal of species re-populating in numbers such as: the osprey, the American bald eagle, the piping plover. With correct conservation practices, habitats can be restored. So what can we do on Southport to help restore habitat? Plant native plants indigenous to the area. Not sure what these plants are? Google Maine Native Plants that feed pollinators and wildlife. A list of topics will come up. Combined with the help of your local gardening center and/or garden club master gardeners, you may restore your yard to a wildlife habitat and restore birds and butterflies to your yard.

Check out elsewhere in this paper Kevin Burnham’s report and pictures of the fourth, fifth and sixth grade science fair also held last Thursday after school. Such creative teaching goes on at our Island School.