Articles by: Brian Swartz

Brian Swartz

  • Meet Southwest Harbor Town Clerk Marilyn Lowell

    Meet Southwest Harbor Town Clerk Marilyn Lowell

    Growing up in Birch Harbor, Southwest Harbor Town Clerk Marilyn Lowell graduated from Sumner High School and later earned an associate’s degree in developmental disabilities at Bangor Community College. She worked three years at the Elizabeth Levinson Center in Bangor before returning to Sumner as a Resource Room education technician for 12 years. Marilyn worked

  • Put a face on it: Southwest Harbor Town Manager Justin VanDongen

    Put a face on it: Southwest Harbor Town Manager Justin VanDongen

    An upstate New York native, Southwest Harbor Town Manager Justin VanDongen majored in political science at SUNY New Paltz and “lived in Massachusetts for a little while” after graduation. Visiting Maine on weekends, he relished the state’s slower pace of life, so he soon transferred to Bath as a Lowe’s zone manager. After working as

  • Longtime resident Tom Benson loves his work and his home

    Longtime resident Tom Benson loves his work and his home

    An experienced surveyor, Tom Benson could have established his business, T.W. Benson Land Surveying Inc., anywhere in Maine, but Southwest Harbor was where he wanted to be. “This is a unique area,” Tom explained. “I enjoy being near the water. It’s a small area,” and “I know a lot of people.” His roots run deep

  • Town still reaping benefits from a special night in 1972

    Town still reaping benefits from a special night in 1972

    Sorrento has benefited ever since that 1972 evening when mutual friends introduced Dwayne Clement to his future wife, Esther, in Ellsworth. Dwayne’s father, Howard, was a Coast Guard lighthouse keeper on the Maine coast. “When I was born, we were on Great Duck Island. They then moved him over to Baker Island until I was

  • Accidental discovery led selectman to choose Sorrento

    Accidental discovery led selectman to choose Sorrento

    Rob Wilpan, chairman of the Sorrento Board of Selectmen, moved to Sorrento with his wife, Janet, in 1988. Hailing from Long Island, N.Y., they wanted to live in “a cleaner, less crowded area,” Rob recalled. Maine was the desired destination. Rob “was into bike riding while growing up on Long Island,” and he would bicycle

  • Town “always felt like home” for Selectman Ben Astbury

    Town “always felt like home” for Selectman Ben Astbury

    For Sedgwick Selectman Ben Astbury, family roots run deep in this town bordering Eggemoggin Reach. He was 3 years old when his parents moved from Sedgwick to Blue Hill, and Ben lived there for 18 years. While attending George Stevens Academy, “I played baseball all four years, second baseman. Dan Kane was my coach,” Ben

  • Tax Collector Elizabeth Gray was happy to come home

    Tax Collector Elizabeth Gray was happy to come home

    After living in Bangor a while, Sedgwick Tax Collector Elizabeth Gray was happy to return to her hometown. Elizabeth attended Sedgwick Elementary School and George Stevens Academy. “I was part of the Community Action Group, I did softball for two years, I was on the yearbook committee,” she recalled. “I had a huge part in

  • Lifelong resident Harold Hatch in first year chairing selectmen

    Lifelong resident Harold Hatch in first year chairing selectmen

    Harold Hatch, chairman of the Penobscot Board of Selectmen, has “lived in Penobscot all my life.” Of the 17 students in his eighth-grade class at Penobscot Elementary School, he and 13 others went to George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill. Harold dug clams and sandworms and raked blueberries through summer 1979. After graduation he painted

  • Longtime resident Paul Bowen says community service is important

    Longtime resident Paul Bowen says community service is important

    Since moving to Penobscot with his wife, Margaret, almost 47 years ago, Paul Bowen has served the town in different capacities, including 26 years as a selectman. He believes that such community service is important. “I’ve always felt if there were opportunity to do so, I should give back to the community I live in,”

  • Family a focus for Town Clerk Sally Bridges

    Family a focus for Town Clerk Sally Bridges

    Family is very important to Sally Bridges, the Penobscot town clerk since 2015. Growing up in Bucksport, she graduated from Bucksport High School and later earned her beautician’s license. After moving to Penobscot in the early 1980s, she married Lennie Bridges, whose family has lived in the town “for generations.” The Bridges’ four children (Kate,

  • Meet Osborn resident Elwood Magoon

    Meet Osborn resident Elwood Magoon

    While attending the Monticello School in Osborn, Elwood Magoon and his three siblings “had the same teacher [Sadie Haslam] my father [Norman] had, for all eight grades.” Elwood remembers the one-room school as “small,” with “10 or so” being the highest number of students enrolled there. There were four Magoon children: daughter Norma and sons