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Facilities Director James McLean performs repairs on the leaky cupola at City Hall Tuesday afternoon. The Colonial Revival style building was completed in 1935 to replace Hancock Hall, which was destroyed in the fire of 1933.

Jenkins Beach sold; closed this summer for improvements

DEDHAM — Joe Jenkins has sold his sandy slice of heaven, Jenkins Beach on Green Lake.

But don’t fret, Jenkins sold the property to his only daughter, Julie Jenkins, and her husband, Duncan Dwyer, who plan to tend the property as carefully as Jenkins and their ancestors have.

The roughly 2.5-acre parcel, which includes a sand beach and waterfront access to the 7-mile lake, has four small camps, three of which can be rented. There are boat rentals, a snack bar and fishing — everything one needs for a day of fun in the sun.

“My grandfather bought it in 1940,” Jenkins said. “My dad went to work there in 1941. I was born there in 1942. I had already been there for some 45 years when I bought it. I bought it in 1977 from my parents.”

“They’ve already started renovating the camps,” Jenkins said of his daughter and son-in-law and young grandson. “They’ll move to the beach this summer.”

Jenkins said his beach drew people from Ellsworth, Bangor and Brewer and still does.

Rita Boutagh of Sullivan was a patron in her younger days.

“I loved going there as a child, running to the snack shack, and swimming out to the slide,” Boutagh said. “The only real place in the ’90s that had a slide like that around.”

Jenkins, a retired math teacher, works during winter as an ambassador for Sugarloaf and has no plans to rest.

“I’m sure I’ll end up being a consultant,” he said. “I’ll probably work as hard as I did when I owned it.”

Julie and Duncan said they are excited about taking over.

“We already have a contractor down there working on the camps,” Julie said. “We plan to do a lot of renovations and upgrades to the camps and the property itself.”

Duncan added, “It’s a big deal to take over an institution. We want to get the beach in the best position possible for the future.”

To that end, this first season of their ownership, the property will largely remain closed for the season, while work is being done.

“We are renting camps this summer,” Duncan said. “We’re still doing boat launches for folks who live on the lake.”

The couple said the annual pancake breakfast on Fourth of July weekend will be held for the Green Lake Association but other than that, Jenkins Beach will not be in its usual Memorial Day through September’s end mode of operation.

“We share the same vision as Joe — we’re going to find a way to make this place accessible to people who might not otherwise have access to Green Lake,” said Duncan. “It is a remarkably unique piece of property. We honestly believe it’s the best lake in Maine.”

Jenkins Beach has a website and a Facebook page where you can check for news about the property.

Crocuses herald spring’s arrival even as snowbanks still linger on the landscape.


How about one s’more?
Local Girl Scout smashes state cookie record

ELLSWORTH — At just 8 years old, Liliana Osnoe is an entrepreneur to be reckoned with.

Just part-way through the Girl Scout’s annual cookie season, Liliana has sold over 2,600 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in Ellsworth and surrounding areas, making her the top cookie seller in the state of Maine.

“I knew I wanted to break the record,” she said. “I was really proud of myself!”

The previous state record for cookie sales was set by Serenity Morse, then 10 years old, with a total of 2,083 in 2022. At a whopping 2,626 boxes at the time of publishing, Liliana blew that record out of the water.

Everywhere she and her family went, Liliana brought her sales sheet with her — to her doctor’s appointments in Bar Harbor and to family visits in Blue Hill. Even when they stopped at Tradewinds for a snack, Liliana brought in her sales sheet and asked everyone there if they might like to buy a box.

“That was one of her big things,” said her mother, Priscilla Tripp. “Bring [the sheet] with us everywhere we go, and ask people while we’re there.”

Liliana didn’t start off with the goal to break the state record. In fact, it wasn’t until she broke her personal goals of 502 boxes and 1,002 boxes that she decided she wanted to aim for the stars.

“She said, ‘I want to set a record of 2,002 boxes,’ and I was like, 2,002 isn’t over the record, can I make a suggestion?” Priscilla explained. “So I said, ‘How about 2,222?’ Her favorite number is two.”

But over 200 cases of cookies take up a lot of space. With five family members in a two-bedroom apartment, the pair began looking for a shed of some kind to operate out of. In a small-world moment, a familiar face brought them their solution.

Last summer, Liliana set up a lemonade stand, which ended up raising enough money to finance a family trip to Walt Disney World. Of all of the customers to come by, one didn’t want any lemonade, but did want to make a memorable donation of $100.

In their search this year for shed rentals, they came across P.E. O’Halloran Inc. Upon meeting up with the owner to discuss a possible rental, they found a happy surprise — the customer from last summer who made the $100 donation was, in fact, owner (and City Councilor) Steve O’Halloran, and he remembered Liliana and her lemonade stand.

After some discussion, O’Halloran offered her free temporary use of an Amish Shed Co. shed, which is currently stationed outside her apartment complex. There, she handles orders, organizes deliveries and schedules pickups outside of her own home.

Though Liliana doesn’t make an individual profit from cookie sales, she has sold over $15,000 worth of cookies so far, and is still taking orders online. According to the Girl Scouts, 76 percent — “...every penny after paying the baker,” — of all cookie sales are reinvested directly into local Scout troops.

Right now, Liliana is raising money for her plane ticket to the National Girl Scout Convention, which she was invited to attend. The Girl Scouts cover half of the transportation and room and board costs, and Liliana is making up the difference on her own.

Next year, Liliana hopes to once again crush the state record, setting a personal goal of 4,000 boxes.

“I really like it,” she said. “And next year, I’m gonna try beating this [year’s] goal!”

Cookie season ends April 30, so anyone interested in purchasing a box has until then to do so.

Draft solid waste budget up by 58 percent

ELLSWORTH — The city’s Public Works Department anticipates budget increases in numerous sectors for fiscal year 2024, according to the draft


City councilors heard from representatives from the water, watershed, harbor, wastewater, solid waste and highway divisions on March 30 to discuss proposed fiscal year 2024 budget breakdowns. Among that group, wastewater and watershed are the only departments anticipating a decrease from fiscal year 2023’s budget, at 3 percent and 7.09 percent, respectively.

Most significantly, the Solid Waste Department anticipates a 58.14 percent increase in total costs for fiscal year 2024, jumping from $347,163 in fiscal year 2023 to an anticipated $549,005.

According to Public Works Director Lisa Sekulich, the hike comes mainly from the increased cost of waste collection and transportation. With the conclusion of the city’s last trash collection contract, the Public Works Department put the service up for bid last fiscal year. The bids were significantly higher than that of the previous contract. The city entered five-year contracts with Casella for both hauling and pickup.

Sekulich said that because the annual increase was significantly more than budgeted last year, some of that additional cost is being rolled into subsequent years of the contract.

Municipal solid waste collection was $72,100 in fiscal year 2023 and will jump to $238,000 in fiscal year 2024, according to the draft budget. Transportation costs are expected to increase from $18,000 to $40,000.

The Solid Waste Committee will discuss possible ways to offset the jump in expenses at its next meeting on April 12, including looking at the possibility of increasing the cost of services. Sekulich said she does not want to increase the $3 per bag Ellsworth residents pay for trash stickers but that charging more for transfer station users who pay by weight for disposal might be an option.

“One of the things I think we should talk about potentially is not raising the [trash] sticker price yet, but there is a price for people who weigh their trash versus buying stickers, and I think there’s some room there to do an increase,” Sekulich said.

The highway sector also saw a potential 11.92 percent increase in its budget, stemming primarily from the request to add another employee and the increasing cost of road salt and other key items such as fuel and gravel.

The Public Works Department requested the addition of another full-time staffer last year, but was denied, according to Sekulich. The highway sector is again requesting the approval of another staffer this year, which is a cost figured into the budget increase, with payroll jumping from $742,000 to $825,751. The addition would lower the overall overtime costs (most often seen during snow plowing season), and would take pressure off the current staff during heavy snowfall when it comes to plowing the roads and clearing sidewalks. This would also mean the termination of outside contractors that the city currently pays to fill in the gaps with snow clearing downtown.

The cost of road salt increased by $25 per ton, according to Sekulich. This increase contributes to the higher allocated budget for salt for fiscal year 2024. The department budgeted $175,000 for salt for fiscal year 2023, but due to the increase in costs, has gone over budget.

“When I put this budget together it was looking fairly good for our salt numbers but then winter decided to show up,” Sekulich explained. “Currently, we’re at about $189,000 worth of salt,” which is $14,000 over the original budget.

“Part of that is not because we’re using more... we’re using less salt, but it’s costing more money to get it.”

The highway sector also upped the budget for fuel from $80,000 to $125,000, and the budget for sand and gravel from $42,000 to $60,000.

In all, the highway budget is anticipated to grow from $1,566,450 in fiscal year 2023 to $1,753,228 in fiscal year 2024.

Across the other public works sectors, water anticipates a 2.4 percent budget increase, and harbor anticipates a 9 percent increase. Both attribute rising costs and payroll to the higher budget.

Incoming Chamber director declines position

ELLSWORTH — The tenure of the new Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce director is over before it started. Three days after the Chamber board announced the hiring of Jacqueline Ewing and two days before she was due to start, the Chamber released a second statement announcing that it was not to be.

According to the announcement issued Saturday afternoon, Ewing emailed board President Tom Wheeler the morning of Friday, March 31, with her decision.

“After careful consideration, I have chosen to move forward in a different direction and so I will not be accepting the position of Executive Director of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce,” Ewing wrote. “I wish the Board success in their continued search and am thankful for the meaningful discussions we have had over the past few weeks.”

“The Board accepts Jacki’s decision and we wish her the best,” Wheeler said. “Our search committee will continue its search for leadership that will guide the Chamber’s transition into the next phase of its growth.”

Ewing was to succeed former Chamber executive director Gretchen Wilson, who stepped down in January.