Meddybemps

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Town News

Linda Baniszeski

We have enjoyed nearly a full month of beautiful weather.  Perhaps we could use a bit more rain. It was delightful that when our house was full of guests throughout July. It was sunny and only rained at night.  It doesn’t get more perfect than that.  

 Happy Birthday to Ernie Hansen on August 5.  We hope it’s a really good one.

  In last week’s news I misidentified Scott Bagley, as “Todd.” My apologies to Scott and the Bagley family.  I tried to use word association when I met Scott and his wife Diane.  It didn’t work this time.  When I met him, I thought about my nephew named Scott.  However, he has a brother Todd; and by the time I created my notes, the wrong nephew was associated with his name.  It’s tough being human

 Janet Wooding reports that Ospreys are flying around and over her property, making unusual sounds.  They are either talking with each other or to their young ones. Fascinating stuff, this wildlife we live among.  

 During my sister’s and her daughter’s visit last week, we spent a few hours watching the tides and mesmerizing patterns and swirling of the waters of Reversing Falls in Pembroke.  Once the tide came in and the waters settled a bit before its reversing, we saw six to eight seals fishing, diving and swimming around where silvery fish flopped around near the surface.  Occasionally one or two seals would stop their antics and take time to look directly at us sitting on the rocks above them.  We would swear they were purposely showing off for us.  A majestic pair of eagles sat in treetops at the edge of a small inlet.  The male sat in a towering one where he could keep watch over the female who was perched on another lower tree near to what appeared to be their nest.  

  Another day, my sister Michele and my niece Andrea and I shopped until we dropped, visiting most of the stores in Calais.  A very nice young woman at Kendall’s helped my sister with an engraved medical bracelet, that they had ready before her departure to South Carolina.  

 After shopping, we had lunch. Both of them are gluten intolerant; and were pleasantly surprised to see that Double Dogs Ice Cream & Eats on North Street had many gluten free options.  We had wonderful food and service, and Juliana, the proprietor, made time to sit and talk with us.  She provides a great extended menu with many gluten free items including hot dog rolls, french fries, salads, sandwiches and more.  We each had hand dipped ice cream cones. This was my first time here.  We will certainly go back many times until it closes for the season in October. Michele, Andrea, Barry and I also enjoyed dinner at other nice places in the area.  

 During that same week, the extended Gilbert family enjoyed time at their camp. Karen and Dennis were accompanied by his son Todd, daughter-in-law Tamara and boys Corey, Andrew and TJ.   Todd brought along a jet ski and the boys loved rides on that; as well as fishing in the Gilbert’s pontoon boat, kayaking and swimming.  

 Lake Meddybemps Association (LMA) Annual Breakfast and Silent Auction on July 30 were very successful.  Everyone’s participation in making this event a success is appreciated by the Association. Donations provide for comprehensive lake water testing every five years, which costs a couple of thousand dollars.  

 I attended the Saturday, July 30 meeting regarding the Super Fund Site with Maine DEP, Federal EPA and Maine EPA representatives, LMA members, Meddybemps Selectman, various environmental groups and land trust leadership, and interested Meddybemps residents.  The sight is approximately located on Meddybemps Lake near Route 191 and Stone Road. During the meeting, we learned that the site is at a point where it needs only to be monitored periodically by Maine and Federal EPA agencies.  Since the Maine DEP became the owner of the site at the time of Maine and Federal Super-Fund clean-up, it was stipulated that the previous owners give up ownership since taxpayers were paying for the clean-up.   Maine DEP does not wish to own real estate, and is preparing to turn over ownership of the Super Fund clean-up site to another entity.  Meddybemps Selectmen did not publicize this meeting and its purpose. In all fairness to town management, the town and other ‘interested parties’ including LMA and Passamaquoddy tribal leaders were only notified on July 15, of the “intent” by e-mail from Terrence Connelly, EPA.  LMA president then forwarded that e-mail to other individuals on July 26.  EPA requests that public comments and recommendations be made before September 30, 2016, after which time a formal decision will be made as to the site’s permanent ownership.

 Having prior notice of the July 30 meeting, purpose and intent, during that meeting a representative of the Passamaquoddy Tribe presented a formal letter from its chief on behalf of the Tribe to the EPA, DEP and Maine DEP declaring the Tribe’s desire to take over deeded ownership of the site because of the ancient ancestral archaeological finds which are to remain in the ground where they were during excavation.  The site has already been designated a National Historic Site because of the artifacts.  Land use restrictions apply to the site and certain caveats will be included in the deed at time of transfer.  

 During the July 30 meeting, “yours truly” questioned why this was the first time I heard about the “purpose” of the meeting, since I believed the Selectmen had an obligation to place a newspaper notice, post the information at the post office, and/or mail a resident opinion survey -- as to whether or not residents desire the Town of Meddybemps to petition the EPA for deeded oversight of the land.  There are many ramifications of having a tribal entity owning this parcel -- such as police jurisdiction if there are problems at the site (only Tribal Police are allowed on Tribal lands) and perpetual maintenance and use restrictions.  It is among the Selectmen’s responsibilities to formally represent the best interests of the community at large for important matters such as this, no matter individual selectmen’s personal positions.  During LMA’s Annual Meeting Sunday, July 31, its membership voted to endorse the Tribal request for deeded ownership of the site with certain caveats.  A committee is to be formed to construct the actual recommendation statement to EPA.   Five members in attendance voted against it.  

 Meddybemps Selectmen meet at Meddybemps Community Center lower level, the 1st and 3rd Tuesday’s of each month at 5 p.m.  It is too late for anyone reading this to attend August 2 meeting with concerns about this matter.  I will attend and report the happenings in next week’s news item.  For those missing the 8/2 meeting, try to attend the August 16 meeting  (or forever hold your peace ☺).  Selectmen have until mid-September to create and present a formal position paper on the Super Fund site ownership to EPA and DEP entities.  Between now and then, residents should exercise this opportunity to make their wishes known to town leadership at a meeting or personally.  Selectmen are Carl Gordon, Pete Trouant and Ike Winchester.

 Further subjects addressed at the LMA Annual Meeting was a keynote speaker discussing water testing and remediation research; Treasurer’s report; Courtesy Boat Inspection program and its success; Fund raising; electiona; lake water purity testing results (very good); future water testing schedules; and Loon report (16). 

The little toddler doll girl leaning on a tree in the woods along Lite Lane is still in place.  Poor creature.  She must be sweltering in this heat with her gloves, long pants and hooded jacket.  Somebody, put her in a summer romper please.

Send your news and comments to LBaniszeski@myfairpoint.net or phone 454-3719.