• Housing pinch

    A drive through rural Maine is relaxing and a little frightening. Relaxing because of the wealth of our state’s scenery inland and along the coast. Scary because of the number of older homes and farms sitting empty. The trend has accelerated over the past decade. The urban sprawl of the 1970s and ’80s — the

  • Acting on the promise

    Governor Janet Mills lost no time implementing the expansion of Medicaid. The week after assuming office, more than 500 low-income Mainers had been approved for health care coverage. The alacrity and decisiveness of her action at the very outset of her term bring to mind the legendary first 100 days of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency.

  • Sustainable energy includes hydro

    The New England states, and many other regions of the country, are legislating reduced greenhouse gas emissions for our energy production, as well as clean energy goals for the future. The increased use of natural gas as a primary energy producer for New England has dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions impact and helped hasten the

  • Downtown boosters

    High and Myrick streets may be Ellsworth’s economic legs, but the downtown is its soul. Main Street and its side roads offer up an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and services. The assortment of businesses and the locals who work there are unique. Where else can you find Sri Lankan food, burritos, craft brews, alpaca

  • “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”

    The lines above open Robert Frost’s 1914 poem, “Mending Wall.” It was set in New Hampshire, but it could just as well have been Maine. Or Mexico. In Maine, one is judged not by wealth, job or university education but by whether one is a good neighbor. Maine people construct fences only to keep children,

  • Answering the call

    Christmas Day was marred by tragedy in Hancock County when two people lost their lives in a Gouldsboro accident. Just hours later, a Mariaville man’s home was destroyed in a fire. For the families of the accident victims, 57-year-old Lisa Grant of Orrington and 35-year-old John Organes of Sullivan, a day of celebration became one

  • The LePage legacy

    Any review of Governor Paul LePage is destined to be crowded with conflicting adjectives. He has been confrontational and combative. He’s also been strategic and, in terms of his agenda, effective. Even his supporters regret missed opportunities for achievement due to LePage’s disinclination to compromise with legislators — even those of his own party. But

  • Joy to the world

    Christmas traditions, be they church-centered or gift-centered, religious or pagan, solemn or spirited, have in common many of the kindest components of our better selves: a need to gather up loved ones, nostalgia steeped in childhood memories and a nearly unstoppable urge to do something nice. It has ever been so, if Charles Dickens is

  • Law of the land

    The campaign, balloting and implementation of ranked choice voting occasioned no shortage of skepticism, challenges and outcries. We should know — The Ellsworth American expressed doubts about the citizen initiative from Day 1. But we’ve had our day. The time has come to accept ranked choice voting for what it is: the law of the

  • American energy independence

    The United States last week became a net exporter of oil. For the first time in more than 40 years, the country made the switch from importer to exporter. Analysts say the distinction may not last this year, but the milestone might be achieved again next year or in 2020. The implications are considerable. Some

  • Shriners outdo themselves

    Hats off (or should we say fezzes?) to the Anah Shrine Facts & Figures Unit for another blockbuster Downeast Festival of Trees. The three-day festival, which was held over the weekend in Franklin, was proof once again that small organizations can do big things. The service at the volunteer-run event was first class from the

  • Dam license positive news

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently released preliminary indications of support for continued operation of the Union River and Graham Lake dams. Over five-plus years of hearings, statements, testimony and submitted evidence, Black Bear Hydro, the dam’s owner, has worked with FERC to ensure continued operation of the dam and continued generation of hydroelectric power.