Two county businesses change to making COVID-19 protection products

Tue, 04/07/2020 - 7:00pm

    A sign of the times is people working together to bring calm during a crisis. And that is exactly the case in Lincoln County, according to Emergency Management Agency Director Casey Stevens. With the state under a stay at home order from Gov. Janet Mills, Stevens told county commissioners April 7 that public response to the crisis is “phenomenal.” He described community efforts especially in food distribution as the best example of people coming together.

    Another example is two Lincoln County businesses having turned the crisis into an opportunity to protect their neighbors from COVID-19’s expansion. Two  manufacturers have switched production to coronavirus personal protective gear and germ sanitizer lotion. Stevens announced Split Rock Distilling, a producer of vodka, whiskey, rum and gin in Newcastle is now making hand sanitizer and Pro-Knee, a knee pad manufacturer in Whitefield, is now manufacturing face shields. “The best thing is that Split Rock is making their sanitizer available first to local health care professionals and first responders,” Stevens said. 

    As a sign of the times for those who aren’t obeying the state’s order, Lincoln County EMA has placed three electric mobile signs around the county flashing this three-part message: “At work for you. Stay at home for us. Quarantine works.” The signs are in Boothbay, Newcastle and Jefferson. Stevens reported the next two weeks are vital in staving off the virus’ spread. “The word for the next two weeks is mitigation. We are in regular contact with the state EMA and state CDC (Center for Disease Control) and they are telling us the next two weeks are vital in battling COVID-19’s spread.”

    In other action, commissioners received a letter from Sagadahoc County informing them of a decision to discontinue sharing a juvenile victims’ advocate position. Sagadahoc and Lincoln are part of Maine Prosecutorial District 6 and for years have shared a juvenile victims’ advocate. But a recent dispute in financing it caused a rift between the two counties. Sagadahoc sent a letter indicating the advocate would become a full-time county employee and would no longer work for Lincoln. In recent years, the job was partially funded through a federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant. 

    “I think this is a good decision because I haven’t been entirely happy with the set-up,” said County Administrator Carrie Kipfer. “But we need to check with the district attorney because the grant was supposed to be split between two counties.” 

    Lincoln County has also received a $4,500 Maine Arts Commission Bicentennial Grant. The county is serving as a fiscal agent for Lincoln County Historical Association who applied for a $10,000 grant. The association is planning the county’s celebration of Maine’s 200th anniversary of statehood. Commissioners ended the meeting after an executive session discussing personnel. Commissioners meet next at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 21.