Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library and COVID-19

COVID-19 has wreaked death and economic destruction around the globe. All communities have been impacted, even here in rural western Maine. Uncertainty abounds regarding the upcoming summer tourist season.

Here in Lovell, we have been living with a ‘stay in place’ order for more than a month and we still have a few more weeks before it may or may not be lifted. And even our beloved community institution, the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library, is feeling the pain. Over the past few days, the Board of Trustees has made the decision to close the doors, lay off all employees and suspend all operations.

Per their request, I am posting the Board’s statement regarding their difficult decision with the hope that it can help get the word out to a large number of people. KezarLife is posting this statement but does so without advocating for closing the Library or keeping it open.

Please click here for a copy of the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library’s statement.

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LCpl Jordan C. Haerter

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April 22nd is a very important date in our family. In honor of Cpl Jonathan T. Yale and LCpl Jordan C. Haerter, I am reprinting a KezarLife post from August 2017. Please take a moment to read the extraordinary story of these two men. By giving their lives, they saved many others. One of those Marines saved was our son Ben.

In Jordan’s Honor

I tend not to get too personal in these pages. Maybe a couple of posts about various trips or family updates but, for the most part, I like to keep things focused on Lovell and Kezar Lake. However, this past weekend was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. We have always been proud of our son Benjamin, but over the last few days, Rondi and I discovered quite a bit more about his commitment to others, the commitment to his country and the overall respect he has earned from his peers.

In early 2008, Benjamin was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq. His station was comprised of United States Marines and Iraqi police. In the early morning of April 22, 2008, two Marines, Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale and LCpl. Jordan Haerter, standing guard at their posts, stopped a suicide bomber from killing 50 US Marines and additional Iraqi police officers. Our son was one of those Marines saved.

Over the years, there have been several memorial bike rides in Jordan’s honor but 2017 marked the inaugural “Jordan’s Run: Veterans’ Memorial 5k Run” which is part of a Veteran’s series on Long Island. Having run in, worked in and organized multiple races over the years, I was very impressed by what this race committee put together. Major sponsors (Macy’s), great t-shirts, lots of food, friendly volunteers, support from police, fire and rescue service departments. It was clear, as the participants went through residential neighborhoods as well as the downtown commercial area, that the entire town of Sag Harbor was there to support the event.

One of the realities of having a child serve in the military is that they will be placed in harm’s way. There is no avoiding this. Over the weekend, we met several Gold Star parents and it is difficult to express my gratitude to their sacrifices. In addition to meeting the Platoon Commander, we also met a number of Marines who were with Ben on that dark day. But most important to me, was meeting Jordan’s mother JoAnne Lyles. It is amazing that she has worked so hard over the past nine years, through the memory of her son Jordan, to help many others. And that is her vision, that every year runners and walkers will come together to not only honor Jordan, but to help many others. With 358 finishers in the very first race, I am confident that it will continue to grow for many, many years.

As the proud parent of a Marine, I ask every reader of KezarLife to take a few minutes to read the transcript of the speech given by Lt. General John Kelly about these two brave Marines. And to then take a moment and reflect on what this great country means to you and the people who protect our way of life.

Click here to read Lt. General Kelly’s speech.

 

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2020 Kezar Lake Ice-Out

In any spring season other than this one, ice-out on your local lake or pond is always a big topic of discussion. Now, with all of the crazy stuff going on in the world today, one may be excused for not focusing on such a trivial thing like ice-out. But we must remember that life goes on and we must look forward.

So, it is official—2020 Ice-Out on Kezar Lake is today, April 10th. This annual determination is made by Lovell’s resident expert, John Bacchiocchi. It seems that this year’s hold-out was the Middle Bay but a combination of sun, wind, snow and rain helped to open the lake.

The State of Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Land uses the following to establish the date: “Ice Out” is defined for this webpage as when you can navigate unimpeded from one end of the water body to the other. There may still be ice in coves or along the shoreline in some areas, but when a person can traverse the entire waterbody without being stopped by ice floes we will consider the ice to be out.

To see the list of Ice-Out dates around the state, click hereFor a list of ice-out dates in Maine from 2003-2019, click here. When looking at the historical Ice-Out dates on Kezar, the third and fourth week of April appears to be the common period of time but there are a number of both earlier and later dates to break up the pattern. For example, 1906 had a date of April 8th and 2016 had a date of April 2nd.  Imagine living through the lenghty winter of 1928 with an Ice-Out date of May 5th while last year’s date was April 29th!

While on the Maine.gov page, be sure to click on a few of the Maine lake web cams including the KLWA’s camera at Boulder Brook.

This year, more so than previous years, I am looking forward to being in the kayak doing the shoreline plant surveys. That would indicate to me some return to normalcy.

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A Maine Farmer and His Tools

Many people who know my father-in-law, Albert Stearns, are familiar with his great stories of life on the family farm in West Lovell. However, not everyone is aware of his great collection of tools that were a necessary part of everyday life. Over Christmas, our daughter filmed Albert explaining some of the various tools plus a demonstration of some of them.

Anna lives in Brooklyn and she has used the quarantine time to put the finishing touches on her short film. Click here to step back in time.

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Governor Mills — Emergency Declaration

Governor Announces Significant Recommendations & Signs Civil Emergency Proclamation to Respond to COVID-19 in Maine

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Governor Announces Significant Recommendations & Signs Civil Emergency Proclamation to Respond to COVID-19 in Maine

March 15, 2020

In the wake of several new presumptive positive cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Governor Janet Mills announced several new significant recommendations to respond to COVID-19 and signed a proclamation of civil emergency (PDF) to further protect public health. Governor Mills is recommending:

  • Ending classroom instruction in all public schools as soon as reasonably practical.
  • Postponing all non-urgent medical procedures, elective surgeries, and appointments at hospitals and health care providers across the state until further notice.
  • Restricting visitors and all non-essential health care personnel to long-term care facilities except for certain compassionate care situations such as end of life until further notice.
  • Postponing all events with 50 or more people all gatherings of more than 10 that include individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as seniors, until further notice.

Governor Mills issued the following statement:

“With several new presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in Maine, it is important that we prepare and respond – but not panic. The Maine CDC has prepared for this eventuality since last year and we are coordinating across government and with communities statewide to respond to this threat. Proclaiming a state of civil emergency unleashes critical state authorities and allows access to federal funds that will support our response efforts to delay and mitigate the outbreak in Maine. These new recommendations will also further protect Maine people.

“Perhaps it is some odd fate that today we also celebrate Maine’s 200th year as a state. Two hundred years ago, we separated ourselves from Massachusetts and embarked on creating our own destiny as a state. We then, as Maine people, learned to be self-reliant and, at the same time, to rely on each other. Today, we are self-reliant and, at the same time, we rely on each other.

“Time and again, Maine people have risen to the challenges put in front of us. We have conquered them because we are a strong, resilient people – borne of the western foothills; the northern potato fields; the bold, rocky coasts; and the tall, pine forests. We have been lifted up by the courage, conviction and resilience that comes from loving a place and its people. Together, we will get through this.”

The Proclamation to Further Protect Public Health signed by Governor Mills today brings the State of Maine to highest alert and allows Governor Mills to deploy all available state resources to protect the health and safety of Maine people and to take every action she reasonably deems necessary to help respond to and protect against the spread of COVID-19 in Maine. It also eases Maine’s access to critical federal aid to boost response efforts.

Governor Mills also strongly recommended that:

  1. Ending classroom instruction in all public schools as soon as reasonably practical.

    The Maine Department of Education has been working closely with school systems in preparation for this step and has secured a waiver from the USDA to allow schools to provide meals offsite to students.

    Governor Mills has also directed the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to pursue federal waivers that will help ensure additional child care capacity. Additionally, she has directed Maine DHHS to work with health care organizations on standing up child care centers for their workers along, along with other options to keep front-line workers protecting the public’s health and safety.

  2. All hospital systems and health care providers across Maine postpone non-urgent medical procedures, elective surgeries, and appointments until further notice.

    This will relieve the strain on the health care system as Maine prioritizes COVID-19-related cases.

  3. All long-term care providers prohibit all visitors and non-essential health care personnel; except for certain compassionate care situations such as an end of life situation, until further notice.

    Recognizing the difficulty of this situation, Governor Mills urges Maine people to find other ways to show older people or those with chronic conditions their love such as by calling them on the phone; writing them, emailing them, using Skype or FaceTime.

  4. All events with 50 or more people be postponed and that all gatherings of more than 10 that include individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as seniors, be postponed until further notice.

    These recommendations significantly enhance the previous social distancing recommendations offered by Governor Mills. Social distancing is one of the most effective methods to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Janet Mills has also taken strong steps to protect Maine workers and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. She has requested that the Small Business Administration (SBA) provide economic support loans to Maine small businesses in order to help them overcome any temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19. She has also submitted emergency legislation, sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Sara Gideon, that temporarily expands eligibility for unemployment insurance to individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19.

Governor Mills has also directed the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to examine additional ways that the State can support Maine’s small businesses, including working with the Finance Authority of Maine and other potential lending partners. Her Administration is also working around the clock to prepare emergency legislation and enact a budget that helps response to the issues presented by COVID-19 with the goal on minimizing its impact on Maine people and reducing its spread.

These new steps from the Governor build on the work done by the Mills Administration to prepare for and respond to COVID-19, including:

  • Convening a Coronavirus Response Team, led by Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah and comprised of key individuals in the Mills Administration, to coordinate State government’s response across departments and local agencies and health authorities.
  • Declaring a health insurance emergency to require health insurance carriers providing health care coverage in Maine’s commercial market to cover costs related to coronavirus testing and increases access to care.
  • Directing the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to issue emergency rules to ensure MaineCare does not charge copays for office visits and prescription drugs that may be needed for COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, and to allow for a prescription refill of up to 90 days so people have to make fewer visits to pharmacies.
  • Distributing personal protective equipment to first responders and health care professionals across Maine as it becomes available.
  • Temporarily suspending non-essential, out-of-state travel for all State employees and reviewing leave policies and telecommuting options.
  • Applying for and receiving a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow schools the ability to provide meals offsite to students, if the school or community currently has, or qualifies for, a USDA Summer Food Service Program.
  • Requesting that the Small Business Administration (SBA) provide economic support loans to Maine small businesses in order to help them overcome any temporary loss of revenue due to COVID-19.
  • Submitting emergency legislation, sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Sara Gideon, that temporarily expands eligibility for unemployment insurance to individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19.
  • Launching a 211 option for Mainers to get answers to questions about COVID-19 at any time. This service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing info@211maine.org.

For more information on Maine’s response to COVID-19 and updated testing results, visit the Maine CDC website. Additionally, Maine CDC and 211 Maine have launched a new option for Mainers to get answers to questions about COVID-19 at any time. This service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing info@211maine.org.

The best thing that Maine people can do to protect their health is to take the same preventive measures that avoid catching a cold:

  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, shortness of breath, and lower respiratory distress. Call ahead to a health care professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness. Health care providers will make the initial determination on whether COVID-19 testing is advisable. As appropriate, health providers will take samples and submit them to Maine CDC.

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2020 Lovell Town Meeting

On Saturday March 7th, Lovell residents once again came together in the historic Town Hall for the Annual Town Meeting. Sixty people were in attendance for the three-hour meeting.

The meeting started with Jon Bliss elected as moderator. With the elected officials and staff on the elevated stage, the first of 84 Articles were presented. Unlike last year, there was an absence of controversial proposals. There were two articles that drew extensive discussion. Article 4 covered the Mill Pond Dam and whether the town should continue to pursue solutions to the antiquated dam. Excessive cost was a valid concern to residents but there was a greater concern for the loss of the pond not only for recreational purposes but as an important source of water for local Fire Departments.

More time was spent on Article 59 where the Budget Committee reduced the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library’s request by $1,700. The value of the Library to everyone, from young children to senior citizens, was discussed by several people. Donna Woodward, President of the Library’s Trustees, made a strong presentation that highlighted all of the Library’s important services as well as their numerous fund-raising efforts. In the end, the voters agreed to restore the $1,700 to the Library’s budget request.

Stephen Goldsmith was elected to a three-year term as Selectmen and numerous elections and appointments were made to various Boards such as the Planning Board, School Board, Budget Committee, Board of Health and School Fund Trustees. State Senator Lisa Keim came to give an update on both road and school funding. The many ‘frost heaves’ throughout the region were discussed at length.

The remaining Articles met with minimal discussion, were quickly approved and the Town Meeting was over just before noon.

A great New England tradition continued for another year!

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Toys for Tots

Marine Toys for Tots Program

Kezar Realty is proud to serve as a collection point for this year’s ‘Marine Toys for Tots Program’. You can drop off unwrapped toys here at the office (224 Main Street, Lovell). If no one is here, feel free to leave them at the front door. The last day for collection will be December 13th. The Toys for Tots charity began in 1947 and annually delivers more than 18 million toys to needy families. Find out more about the program here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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