May 15,2020 (Week 2) Newsletter (COVID-19)

Bristol Notes - May 15,2020 (Week 2)

For the Bristol Selectmen:

Chris Hall, Town Administrator


Partial reopening

On Friday, May 8, Governor Janet Mills announced further reopening measures for those Maine counties that do not have ‘community transmission’ of the Covid-19 coronavirus. In a two-step process coordinated with New Hampshire’s similar measures, most retail stores were permitted to open as of this week. Restaurants can open from Monday, May 18th, if they can physically separate customer tables and also kitchen staff. Face masks or cloth coverings are required by most businesses, and there are complex rules for each type of business aimed at the safety of staff and customers, which are likely to be in place for a long time: please click here to read more.

Whether this easing is the light at the end of the tunnel, or an oncoming express train, seems (sadly) to have become a political question like so many in our divided country. As of May 14th, Lincoln County still has only 15 reported cases, of which 12 people have recovered. Alfred Ajami’s data (see graphs on next page) suggest that state wide and nationally, however, we are far from being able to say the virus is beaten. I observe that at least in Bristol, most people are following the guidelines, despite occasional grumbling and a lot of economic pain. In particular, we are grateful to our neighbors returning to Maine who are adhering to the 14-day quarantine on arrival rule which remains firmly in effect.

Confused about the rules on quarantine? This Bangor Daily News summary may be helpful by clicking here.

Adami Graph

Alfred Ajami writes: “In looking at the data trends, it would be premature to make predictions about the consequences of “early” reopening in Maine, even for Cumberland County. The next 2-4 weeks should provide a clearer picture of where we are heading. Political viewpoints aside, COVID-19 is unquestionably here to stay, much like influenza. Now is the time to look ahead on how to handle it with the same risks (infection and fatality rates) that society has already deemed an acceptable fact of life. A well-considered piece on what measures ought to be implemented is this 7 minute read by clikcing here.

Pemaquid Beach Pavilion finished!

The new Beach Park pavilion has been certified complete by the architects, Theodore and Theodore of Arrowsic, and will be officially handed over to the Parks and Recreation Commission today, May 15th, ahead of schedule and on budget. The $800,000 project has been paid for from grants ($630,000) and Parks reserves. Congratulations to Ledgewalker Builders, the Bristol-based general contractor, and their subcontractors DiMauro Electric, Hanley Construction, McClintock Foundations and Grindell’s Plumbing & Heating.

Because of Covid-19, we will not be able to have an opening party. However it is planned to open the Beach Park on July 1st, when you will be able to use the new changing rooms and food service area. Bristol Parks is developing new policies for social distancing and regular disinfection of the pavilion. It will take a little longer for Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust to reopen the Beachcombers’ Rest exhibition and touch tank in its new home, due to space and gathering constraints and concern for the health of volunteers.

Time to start planting the garden

The Maine and national media all report that there is a boom in interest in gardening and especially planting fruit and vegetables during the coronavirus stay-at-home period. Certainly I see a lot of activity in the yards of my neighbors in Bristol Mills, now that (hopefully) the last frost is past. So this week’s featured Bristol business has to be Julie’s Greenhouse and Farm Stand in Round Pond.

Julie and Bill Knight have made Julie’s into a Bristol summer institution over the last three decades. Julie’s opened on Mother’s Day weekend, and will be open daily through the summer from 9 am to 5 pm. Visit their location at 1171 State Route 32, just south of the Lower Round Pond Road, for a wide variety of flowering plants, fruit and vegetable seedlings. Later in the summer they also sell cut flowers and fresh seasonal produce at their farm stand – all organic. Telephone 529-5482 for information or to pre-order.

A Message from Caring For Kids

Pat Porter writes: “Caring for Kids is a 501(c)3 organization, dedicated to serving the needs of the children of Bristol and South Bristol.  The idea started 26 years ago with the desire to provide local children with a Merry Christmas and has since grown to serve many other areas of need in the community. 10 years ago, the actual organization was formed when we began delivering snack packs to the schools.  Several years ago, we started delivering summer meal boxes to families on Fridays. Last year we opened the “take what you need and leave what you can” food pantry in Bristol Mills. Our programs are funded by donations, grants and proceeds from our Once Again Shop (thrift shop) and our Bottle Return, both of which are located at the Congregational Church of Bristol, on Rt. 130 across the road from the Bristol Town Hall. We also hold bake and craft sales during the year and special programs are presented throughout the summer.  The COVID-19 pandemic has created an even greater need for our services.  Once schools were closed, we began packing the “summer meal” boxes in March, three months earlier than previously scheduled.  The pantry in Bristol Mills empties as soon as it is filled because so many local families have lost their sources of income.  With the schools closed we still deliver 45 snack packs to the school on Friday to be picked up, and in addition we deliver 53 snack packs with the family meals, which are now picked up at the New Harbor fire station.

“Just when the need is greatest, COVID-19 has thrown us a curve by eliminating most of our sources of funding.  The Once Again shop is closed, there are no craft or bake sales and the summer programs are in doubt.

“A savings account has been established at Bath Savings in Damariscotta and they will deposit all funds received for Caring for Kids into that account.  If you can, would you please, help us help the community, by sending a donation to Caring for Kids, c/o Bath Savings, P.O. Box 339, Damariscotta, Maine 04543.  You can also drop checks or cash at their Damariscotta location, 8 Church Street.  Their drive-through is open until 4 during the week and until 12 on Saturdays.”

News from Colonial Pemaquid

Don Loprieno writes: “The Friends of Colonial Pemaquid have posted their 2020 calendar of special events and lecture series on their website (friendsofcolonialpemaquid.org) and Facebook page but because of the pandemic and social restrictions that we are all dealing with, the programs are subject to change if they pose a health threat to the public.

“Unfortunately, the first casualty, so to speak, is the annual performance of the Maine St. Andrew's Pipes and Drums, held on Memorial Day on the grounds of Colonial Pemaquid which had to be cancelled because of limitations on group sizes as well as the requirements of social distancing.  Decisions about other programs will be made on a case-by-case basis.  Please check our social media to stay informed.”

Another cancellation featuring Colonial Pemaquid is the planned Lincoln County-wide Bicentennial Pilgrimage, a self-guided tour of the county’s historic sites with prizes, which was scheduled for the week of August 10 to 16. It will now take place in 2021.

Park Manager (and archaeologist) Dr. Neill DiPaoli confirms that the state park will officially open on Memorial Day weekend, though for the time being the Fort House and Tower and the Museum will be closed to visitors. The Fisherman’s Cottage will however be open for re-enactors to demonstrate life in seventeenth century Pemaquid, and restrooms and boat launch will be open.

On the subject of the history of Pemaquid: the Town just received a list of Bristol’s prehistoric (pre-European settlement) archaeological sites from Dr. Art Spiess, Senior Archaeologist at Maine Historic Preservation. An astonishing total of 52 sites are listed. He writes, “Reconnaissance archaeological survey of the shoreland zone is complete. (An) Intensive survey of several score sites is recommended.” There’s a lot of history beneath our feet!

Thank you to all who have donated to Bristol’s Worthy Poor Fund in response to the appeal launched in Bristol Notes #8. Fifty-eight generous people have sent a total of $23,940 to date! In addition to direct assistance to a number of applicants, this has enabled the Town to supply $100 prepaid grocery cards for Reilly’s Market to families using the New Harbor Food Pantry.

 

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!