June 12,2020 Newsletter (COVID-19)

Bristol Notes - June 12, 2020 (COVID-19)

For the Bristol Selectmen:

Chris Hall, Town Administrator

COVID-19 Update

While some states that may have opened up their economies too soon are now seeing record numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths, the Northeast generally seems to have turned the corner and Maine is cautiously reopening the economy. Lincoln County and much of rural Maine remain largely free of the disease. As of June 11, Lincoln County had just three active cases (20 total diagnosed, 17 recovered). No new cases have been reported in the county for 18 days. State-wide, Maine deaths reached 100, the same number as Australia. All of Australia.

Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, with the lowest rates of Covid-19 infections in the Northeast, are coordinating their reopening and now reciprocally allow travel and (as of today, June 12th) stays at lodging establishments without quarantine. There are exceptions to this. New Hampshire, for example, is only lifting its stay-at-home order on Monday, June 15th. Vermont distinguishes between residents of different Maine and New Hampshire counties. Thus Lincoln County as a low-risk area qualifies Bristol residents for exemption, while Cumberland County (for example) is still considered high-risk and its residents must quarantine on entering Vermont.

Maine travelers must still quarantine for 14 days in Massachusetts, and vice-versa. However, limited Downeaster train service from Brunswick to Boston resumes on June 15th. Starting July 1, visitors to Maine from other states may have the quarantine requirement waived if they can show they have tested negative for the virus at least 72 hours before travel to northern New England. Details are available by clicking here.

Alfred Ajami’s updated tracking graphs are on page 4.

Congratulations to our Grade 8 Graduates at Bristol Consolidated School!


Maine Primary and Referendum Election – July 14th

The State Primary and Special Referendum Election day is Tuesday, July 14. Both in-person and absentee voting are available for this election. Voters enrolled in a party may vote in their party’s primary. All voters may vote in the referendum election, with two proposed state bond issues submitted for approval: $15 million for broadband infrastructure and $105 million for transportation infrastructure.

In-person voting will take place on July 14 at the Bristol Mills Fire Station, 1206 Bristol Road (not at the Town Office).  This location will be open from 8am until 8pm.

Voters may cast an absentee ballot instead of voting in person.  To minimize interaction with others during this public health pandemic (COVID-19), many voters may prefer voting by absentee ballot.  Casting an absentee ballot is convenient and secure.

Absentee ballots may be requested in writing, by phone, online, or in person up to and including the day of the election, without specifying a reason.  However, if you are asking to receive your ballot by mail, please request it early enough to allow for postal mail delivery time – both to receive it and return it (2-5 days each way – all local mail now goes to Scarborough for sorting).

You can request an absentee ballot by either calling the Clerk’s office at 207-563-5270, or online from: https://www1.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/online-form.pl

Absentee ballot requests are being accepted right now.  Printed ballots were received from the Secretary of State on June 11th, and your ballot will be issued as soon as possible. Ballots must be returned to the municipal clerk no later than 8:00 pm on Election Day.

For additional information: https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voter-info/absenteeguide.html

Blood drive

Bristol Consolidated School and the American Red Cross are hosting an upcoming blood drive. Please join their lifesaving mission and schedule an appointment today!

Date:Tue Jun 16, 2020, 10:00 AM - 03:00 PM

Bristol Consolidated School gym

2153 Bristol Road, Pemaquid, ME, 04558

Appointments only. To sign up, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or go to: https://rcblood.org/3cN8lkM

The need for blood is constant and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need for patients in our community. Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every 2 to 3 seconds and most of us will need blood in our lifetime. Thank you for supporting the American Red Cross blood program!


CHIP Coordinator Brittany Gill writes: “The Community Housing Improvement Project (CHIP) will be missing a large group of energetic teenagers this summer.   Every year for decades, a group of youth from Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church comes to the peninsula for a week long service project in July.  If you have not noticed their big white vans and cheerful yelps, perhaps you have noticed some of the work they have done around the community: painting at the lighthouse, visiting The Greens, and shingling at the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder. The mainstay of their service project, however, is home repairs as directed through CHIP: up to a dozen during their week-long visit.  They have replaced skirting, repaired floors, painted and built ramps for seniors, disabled people and others who are unable to keep themselves safe, warm and dry in their own homes.

“This will be the first year in over a decade that the Youth Group will miss a service summer trip to Pemaquid. Our thoughts are with them, as they struggle with a much larger case load of Covid-19 than Maine has. We are thankful that they have decided to keep our community and theirs safer by staying at home this summer.  And we certainly look forward to seeing them in 2021!

“In the meanwhile, people with illnesses, disabilities, and financial need are still calling CHIP for help with home repairs.  A donation to CHIP will pay a local carpenter to repair a hole in a neighbor's floor, build a safe entryway or replace a broken door.”

Contributions can be sent to PO Box 6, Newcastle ME 04553.  Questions and requests for help left on their voicemail service – (207) 677-3450 – will be responded to promptly.  For more information, visit https://www.chipinc.org/

Free Dump Day!

Clearing out your basement? The Bristol–South Bristol Transfer Station allows all taxpayers one free day per year for the dumping of non-commercial bulk waste without the usual charge (8 cents per pound, 6 cents for brush). With the commitment of taxes each May a new taxpayers list goes to the Transfer Station for recording the use of your Free Dump Day. Please note, this is good for one pickup truckload – 1,500 lbs. – not multiple trips all day! The Transfer Station’s manager, David Poland, is authorized to turn away (or charge fees to) users if this privilege is being abused.

Please note that Free Dump Day does not apply to certain listed items with separate dump fees: appliances, mattresses, etc. See the full list at https://www.bristolmaine.org/transferstation.

DoT Roadside Spraying

The Maine Department of Transportation will be applying herbicides on state-maintained roads in Bristol this year. This occurs every two years, and is usually scheduled for after Labor Day south of U.S.1 because of the high summer traffic, but there is no certainty about the timing. The DOT sprays only state-maintained roads (not town roads): in Bristol this means Route 32, Route 130, Harrington Road, Huddle Road and Snowball Hill Road.

Property owners have the option of signing a no-spray contract with the Maine Department of Transportation, whereby the property owner agrees to control vegetation in the state right-of-way adjacent to their property, up to ten feet back from the edge of the pavement; to keep in place small signs provided by DoT that show the road crews where the ‘no-spray’ zone is located; and to refuse herbicide applications in the right-of-way in exchange for mowing to maintain visibility.  

To request a No-Spray Agreement, call the Statewide Vegetation Manager, Robert Moosmann, at 592-0774, or call Mark Davis in the DOT Midcoast Region Office in Augusta at 624-8200.

Granite Hall Store

The Granite Hall Store in Round Pond Village will be reopening for the season on Saturday June 13th from 10 to 8:30 daily.  The ice cream take-out window has been open since May 30th.

Owner Sarah Herndon writes, “We will be following the Governor’s checklist with masks required, hand sanitizing before entering, social distancing inside the store, and only a certain number of people inside at a time.  Because of the many nooks and crannies and stairs inside the store, we will be asking customers to respect other people’s space.  At this point we will not be picking out candy by the piece, but will be selling it by weight and making up assorted grab bags! 

“It’s a challenging time, but we look forward seeing all our customers again soon!”

Alfred Ajami’s Covid graphs: note the troubling uptick in US cases as the virus now spreads rapidly in southern and western states.

Ajami Graph

For more information on any of the matters touched on in this report, please email Chris Hall at [email protected]. Stay home and stay safe!