GCI Firehouse Addition -- This photo arrived, along with a note from Lorraine Bracy as follows: "Thought maybe you might like to see what the new fire house is starting to look like. This was taken about a week ago, when there was no snow."
Fishing boat "Donhbe" Grounds on GCI -- The vessel was 45 feet in length and rigged on both sides for scollop dragging, which they were attempting to do the evening of 5 March at 1800 hours when a leak was discovered in the engine compartment caused by a faulty valve of some type. The Captain, Wade Strout, put his vessel on "auto pilot" and both he and his helper went below to work on the leak. The vessel grounded out about 1830 hours on the southshore of Great Cranberry in the vicinity of the "salt pond" in front of Rod Wards property, where Mike Westphal is presently completing construction of a new home. On nautical charts it is called "Rice's Point."
Mr. Strout called for Coast Guard assistance but they were unable to come ashore or to render help due to the rocks in the location. Both men put on survival suits and came ashore in 38° F water to be picked up by David Stainton. Both David and I were called by the Hancock County Sheriff's Office to render land based assistance and of course we did. David has his pickup truck and so he provided transport to the town dock where the Coast Guard then picked up the men and gave them a ride to Southwest Harbor.
The Boat was registered out of Mount Desert. Mr. Strout told me that he didn't have insurance, had $60,000 in electronics and was attempting to salvage as much as possible before wind and wave broke up the vessel, which it has done since the grounding.
[Some believe that the Captain] ... accidently fed in the wrong compass course to the auto pilot and that was the reason for coming ashore in the dark. The Coast Guard continues to investigate. The boat will probably be burned once salvage is over according to Bangor Daily News quotes from the Coast Guard. -- [Report by Dick Beal, Photos by Mike Westphal]
Firehouse Addition -- Mike Westphal sends the following note: "I just wanted to send you some updated photos of the new truck bays at the Cranberry Island Firehouse. With better construction weather here, we hope to have the addition complete by sometime in May. The members of the Fireclub want to thank all the people that have contributed towards making this project possible.
Anyone who would still like to contribute towards the completion of the addition can send a check made out to the Cranberry Island Fire Club, c/o Michael Westphal, P.O. Box 144, Cranberry Isles, ME 04625. Thanks!"
Llama Sha-Day II fatally injured -- Dick Beal of GCI sadly informs me that Sha-Day II (son of Touche) slipped on a patch of ice in late March, fell hard, and twisted his hindquarters. Unknown to Dick at the time, he also broke his pelvis. After wasting away for a few weeks, it was necessary for Dick to dispatch him around the middle of April.
Llama Touche gravid -- Cranberry's sole remaining llama is expecting, by Sha-Day II.
At a special Town Meeting in the packed and overheated Neighborhood House on Islesford, Cranberry Isles voters tonight overwhelmingly gave the nod to their Selectmen to proceed with the proposed plan to acquire property in Southwest Harbor for mainland parking, to supplement our current parking in Northeast Harbor.
After a lively debate about the benefits of off-island parking -- and the possible consequences to our tax bills -- most voters decided to favor their children's interests rather than their own. However, they did impose an amendment that the final land contract be approved by the voters at another Town Meeting, after all the details of the final land sale contract are in place.
The voters also agreed to let the Selectmen pursue the idea of leasing the current parking lot in Northeast Harbor from that Town, and managing those parking spaces ourselves, rather than burdening the Town of Northeast Harbor with that continually-troublesome problem.
7 Aug 4:51 a.m.
Baby girl Matilda Elizabeth Allen born to Gary and Lisa (Hall) Allen of GCI: 9 pounds, 21.5 inches.
The second and final special Town Meeting was held tonight, again in the Neighborhood House on Islesford. Cranberry Isles voters heard the selectmen and their experts lay out in finer detail the pros and cons of the parking plan. The Town of Southwest Harbor has already approved Town of Cranberry Isles plans to use the existing wharf and parking lot. When all was said and done, the voters decided by an overwhelming 2-to-1 margin to go ahead with the project. It's now up to the selectmen to work out details and proceed with the purchase.
After Bob LaHotan of GCI died on 30 August, there were a lot of loose ends to tie up, one of which was: what to do with Bob's cherished cat, Noah.
Now Noah always stayed with Bob, and of course he had the run of the place -- be it Bob's apartment in Manhattan or his place here on Great Cranberry. Since he'd be at home anywhere, it was decided to send him to NY for the winter, staying in Sally McShea's apartment near Bob's.
But Noah apparently likes island living. During his trip south on I-95 with Sally, he took drastic action to make his preference known.
On Sunday, September 8, during a stop at a restaurant in Portsmouth, NH, when Sally opened the cat box to let him take a drink he made a great lunge, broke the makeshift string leash, and disappeared into a wooded area near the parking lot.
Sally and her mother frantically clapped and called to no effect. Noah could not be found. They notified police, posted signs, and did everything possible. But in the end they had to continue on to New York, where they left an answering machine at Bob's apartment in case someone called the number on Noah's collar.
The next day at 11:30 a.m. Sally called and told the sad news to Jennifer and Ginger Cook, Bob's housekeepers on Great Cranberry. They immediately realized that Noah would respond only to Bob or themselves. Obtaining exact directions, and arming themselves with cat food and all necessities, they left the island at 3:30 p.m. and arrived at the scene of the affair at 7:15 p.m., about 28 hours after the great escape.
Jennifer clapped once or twice -- and Noah appeared! He was little the worse for his adventure, save for a ravenous appetite. On the way back home to the island he ate a tin of cat food and used the "convenience station" the women rigged up in the jumpseat of their truck. It must have seemed like a cat RV to him.
The reunited group arrived back in Ellsworth shortly after midnight, and stayed at a local motel until the next morning, when Noah made his triumphant return to Bob's house.
From now on, Noah will be strictly an island cat.
The third and really final special Town Meeting was held this afternoon starting at 5:15 p.m., in the Neighborhood House on Islesford. At 3 p.m., prior to the Town Meeting, Mr. Pritam Singh, owner of the property under consideration, held an informal meeting to explain his thoughts on the easements in the current Purchase and Sale agreement, and answered any and all questions from the audience. In fact, several points were raised by the audience that Mr. Singh agreed should be modified in the final Purchase and Sale agreement. Next, the Town Meeting was held, and after the voters had their say, our Selectment are now authorized to go ahead and purchase the property, taking out loans to do so, but of course only after settling final details in the Purchase and Sale agreement with Mr. Singh, to the Town's best interest. The Selectment must be unanimous in their approval of the final Purchase and Sale agreement before they can sign it on the Town's behalf.
Manset Parking a Reality -- The Town finally closed on the Manset Property the first week of December. The land and buildings cost $1.9 million but $2.4 million was borrowed -- the balance beng for improvements. Proposed development plans are being prepared for approval by voters at the next town meeting, March 2003. Keep watching this site for preliminary proposals and official news from the Land Management Commission.