News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 8, 2022
British Canal sign stolen yet again
New recycling rules discussed

by David Avery

On Tuesday, September 6, the select board met at Emerson Hall and learned from Town Manager Shawn Blodgett that the British Canal sign had been stolen again, for at least the fourth time in the last few years.

The sign, which marks the site of the historic canal that dates from 1779, was discovered missing on Saturday, according to Blodgett.

In addition, a bronze marker signifying a national historic landmark is missing and was perhaps stolen for the metal content, Blodgett guessed.

After past events, the canal sign was recovered. Most recently, in July the sign was vandalized to reveal a vulgar message to those arriving in Castine for Bastille Day. It was repaired.


Blodgett also spent much time at the meeting discussing recycling in Castine, and especially the changes residents are currently facing.

He explained that the town has entered into a temporary agreement with a company called Pine Tree Waste, which is run by the waste management firm Casella.

The new arrangement means that the rules governing recycling have changed again. “Change is hard,” Blodgett said in sympathy with residents who have questions about what is recyclable now.

Pine Tree has different rules from previous vendors, and residents need to follow those rules. If they do not, the town’s waste will simply be taken to a landfill, undermining recycling efforts, Blodgett said.

Most importantly, the town manager explained, residents who are unhappy with the rules have been abusing the staff at the transfer station.

Blodgett suggested that residents familiarize themselves with the new rules, rather than take out their frustrations on town employees. Information was included in property tax bills, he said, or it can be obtained at town hall.

Other business

In decisions, the select board approved a liquor license for a 400-foot cruise ship scheduled to visit Castine on September 21. The license allows the ship to serve liquor on board while anchored off Castine. The vote was 3-0.

The Hurtigruten passenger vessel, Roald Amundsen, carries 500 passengers, but according to the attorney representing the firm, the passengers will not be coming ashore in Castine. The attorney appeared at the meeting by remote computer connection.

The ship will make four stops in Maine. The first will be in Eastport.

The board also approved a special amusements license for Maine Maritime Academy for a band to play at Homecoming on September 16.

The board voted 3-0 to approve a resolution committing Castine to participating in a Community Resilience Partnership Program to mitigate effects of a changing climate. To join the state-sponsored program a community must adopt such a resolution and meet other criteria, Blodgett told the board. Doing so will open the door for certain designated funds in the future, he said.

The board approved a municipal warrant for $486,000 and a Water Department warrant for $118,000.

Board member Gordon MacArthur reminded those present that golf carts are not street-legal vehicles, and that the sheriff will ticket and fine drivers in golf carts. The only legal way for a golf cart to travel on a Maine road is perpendicular to it, he said. Golf carts can only cross roads, he explained.

Debbie Rogers requested that the board consider asking residents if they desire a change to the name of the Negro Islands in the Bagaduce River when it creates the binding survey it agreed to earlier.

Rogers is a member of the Island Name Change Committee, which has been meeting for more than a year to come up with alternative names to recommend to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

The USBGN does not necessarily always change names just because a complaint has been lodged, Rogers explained. A petitioner complained to the federal organization about the current names as they appear on charts and maps.

The select board agreed to consider Rogers’ suggestions, but board chair Peter Vogel also wanted to be clear that the select board was very appreciative of the time and effort the the committee had put into this task.

Resident Bobby Vagt also made a request of the board. He asked that the board try to find some money to pave a short section of Court Street in front of the fire station. “Right now they’re driving across the surface of Mars,” he said of the fire apparatus.

Finally, resident Liz Parish asked about the status of a Port City Architecture report evaluation of possible locations for a future fire station. Blodgett said the company said they were finalizing the report three weeks ago. He agreed to follow up again.