April 24,2020 (Week 4) Newsletter (COVID-19)

Bristol Notes - April 24,2020 (Week 4) 

For the Bristol Selectmen:

Chris Hall, Town Administrator

And so it continues

There are no new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Lincoln County over the last week, as of Thursday, April 23rd. The total still stands at 12 cases, but nine of these people have recovered. Maine’s total of 937 reported cases includes 44 deaths, 485 people who have fully recovered, and 408 active cases. We are extremely fortunate that so far, no-one in Lincoln County has been hospitalized, let alone died from the virus. Collectively we are doing something right.

We are coming to the end of the fourth week of the stay-at-home order. How that changes the reality of life in Bristol depends in part on your job, and in part on your age and health. People with ‘essential’ jobs in health care, grocery stores, construction, at Masters Machine or at Bath Iron Works continue their schedules largely as usual even though workplaces try to enforce social distancing and there are no evening entertainments to go to. People who are laid off, and self-employed people such as fishermen and clam diggers whose markets have gone away, are hurting badly. Schools expect to be closed through the summer, and parents have had to adjust to having kids at home who are not able to play with their friends. Older residents who are the most vulnerable to the Coronavirus are for the most part strictly observing the ‘lockdown,’ and may be unable to visit family and friends or carry out travel plans. Informal traffic counts on Route 130 at the Town Office suggest traffic is now down by perhaps a quarter below normal for April, but it is definitely creeping up – whether from additional Bristol summer residents returning from points south, or people relaxing their vigilance, is unclear.

The Town Office has heard from many seasonal residents who are still in Florida or in our major urban areas, expressing the hope of getting back to Bristol by the summer but nervous about the quarantine rules, the reduced health care capacity here, or whether they will be welcomed or shunned. On the last point we can say that you will be warmly welcomed as always – as long as you respect the two-week strict quarantine for anyone traveling from outside Maine, if that is still in effect when you return. We have plenty of volunteers who can help you by delivering groceries and supplies, and it’s worth remembering the words of Cicero: ‘If you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need.’ Please stay home during the quarantine period!

Alfred Ajami has updated the following graphs, showing that Lincoln County continues to do well compared to Maine as a whole and neighboring states. He writes, “Now is not the time to lower our guard. Note should be taken of the mortality rate. It has been progressing in step with the increasing case counts. Recent clinical data also indicates that COVID-19 is more than just an upper respiratory disease, triggering multiple organ compromise and failure, especially in the elderly, through blood clotting disturbance and immune system exhaustion in brain, liver, gut and kidneys. Bottom line, this isn’t just a bad version of the flu.”


Food Pantry offering Additional Hours

The New Harbor Food Pantry, operating from the basement of the New Harbor Methodist Church, is adding additional pick-up hours due to increased demand during the coronavirus. They will be open on Wednesday, April 29th, from 5 pm to 6.30 pm, and thereafter on the second Wednesday of each month (May 13, June 10 and so on). Contributions to the Food Pantry can be sent to PO Box 100, New Harbor, ME 04554

Reny’s is Open!

In an earlier Bristol Notes I noted that ‘even’ Reny’s had closed due to the coronavirus. The good news is that they have reopened – for safe curbside pickup. Orders for their Damariscotta store can be taken by phone at 563-3177 from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Saturday, for pickup in the Damariscotta parking lot. See their website by clicking here for details. It may not be the ‘Maine Adventure’ we know and love, but it’s still Reny’s!

A Message from the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid

Don Loprieno writes:

“In these stressful and difficult times, the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid hope that all of us stay safe and healthy, remain close to each other even as we keep our distance, and in general strive to protect each other as we protect ourselves.

“Radically different as life has become in recent weeks, it may help to look back to the past to get a better sense of the present.  We are, after all, dealing with a variation of what some have called the ‘lifeboat’ syndrome, but in many ways we are far better off and considerably less isolated than our predecessors.

“Settlers along the 17th century Maine coast were generally situated in a series of villages and very small communities with sporadic communication between them – no phone to pick up, no media, social or otherwise, regular mail service a benefit of the far distant future. Any news that did arrive was probably no longer current or perhaps even accurate.  Though knowledge of the germ theory was many years away, it was known that proximity was a factor in becoming sick, though a scientific basis for that precaution was not yet in place.  Medicine, with few exceptions, had little to offer.  There were no vaccines or inoculations, and in an age when the average life expectancy was approximately thirty-five and people seldom traveled, little if any immunity developed from contact with different peoples and cultures, an example of which was the devastating effect of European diseases on Native American villages in the early 1600’s.

“2020 is what we’re hoping our optometrist will say about our vision, but it could also be the year when our historic perspective could be improved by focusing on the benefits we have rather than ones we have temporarily lost. Life has suddenly become very restricted and we all feel beset by hazards and challenges that have occurred in a very short period of time. Even so, we are more fortunate than perhaps we know.”

Golf: ‘a good walk spoiled’ (attributed to Mark Twain)

Golfers in the community are disappointed that Wawenock Golf Club in Walpole, like others in the state, is not considered an essential business! The Club warns people against even walking (without golf clubs) on the course: this is a violation of the closure order and could lead to serious fines being levied on the Club. Only maintenance personnel are permitted for the time being. There is good news for when reopening is permitted, though: groundskeeper Greg reports that the April rain has been getting the course into great shape, and a new ball washer has been acquired for the driving range. The Club is hopeful that the course, even if not the clubhouse, can be opened in the first phase of reopening the economy.

News Briefs

At the end of this month the Town Office will be saying farewell to Lindsay Currier, our Deputy Treasurer. Lindsay is moving to an accounting job which she can do online from home – clearly the wave of the future. We will miss her – and will soon be advertising a vacant position.

The Elmer Tarr roadside cleanup – usually set for the Saturday after Earth Day, i.e. April 25th – has been cancelled as a collective community event – but that doesn’t stop many people from cleaning up their patch of roadside. Please make an effort (weather permitting) to do your part to make Bristol’s roadsides attractive for the summer. If you need bagged trash to be picked up and taken to the Transfer Station, please call the Town Office at 207-563-5270.

Pemaquid stonemasons Phil Fitton and Michelle Reilly have been repairing the stonework on the southeast corner of the Bristol Town Office in the past week. The rear of the building rises on a fieldstone foundation above the riverbank, and 150 years of weather have taken their toll. Along with last year’s paint job, and reroofing in 2018, it is hoped that the Town Office will now be good for many more years.

Bristol Fire and Rescue received a grant from the Maine Municipal Association Workers Compensation Fund, in the amount of $1,688.42, to buy Stop/Slow Paddle Signals and Cones for traffic control at incident sites.

Bristol Parks and Recreation received a second $10,000 grant from the Strypemonde Foundation for the Pemaquid Beach Pavilion. Parks will continue fundraising so that the proposed running/ walking trail, children’s play area, and outdoor furniture can be completed to complement the impressive new Pavilion. 

Lincoln County Television continues their excellent reporting from Miles Hospital, three times a week. Their Wednesday reports are available by clicking here, which include interviews with Pediatrician Dr. Andrew Russ and Nurse Midwife Stacey Rees.

Newcastle’s Split Rock Distillery on Route One – named for Bristol’s Split Rock Road, as its two owners live at opposite ends of it – has made the news for converting part of their capacity to producing hand sanitizer. Both that, and their more traditional products, can be ordered online for ‘no-touch’ curbside pickup at: https://www.splitrockdistilling.com/hand-sanitizer/

Mother’s Day is May 10th – that’s when Julie’s Greenhouse opens for the season in Round Pond!

Donations have continued to come in for the town’s Worthy Poor Fund. The total contributed since the start of the Coronavirus state of emergency is now $17,150. Thank you all!

For more information on any of the matters touched on in this report, please email Chris Hall at TownAdmin@bristolmaine.org. Thank you for reading!