Guest blog: Maine Broadband Coalition 2019 Legislative Update

This legislative update, provided by the Maine Broadband Coalition, highlights the most noteworthy advances for broadband in Maine and summarizes the final outcomes of bills passed and bills that have become law during the first regular session of Maine's 129th Legislative Session. It also highlights bills to watch for during the second regular session beginning in January 2020.

Rural Libraries and Digital Inclusion

On June 25, 2019, Island Institute staff facilitated a meeting co-hosted by the Maine State Library and held at the Rockland Public Library to discuss the digital inclusion work happening in libraries throughout Maine. Attendees representing fifteen libraries from Washington County to Wells, Maine, shared experiences and exchanged resources for meeting the needs of communities in a world increasingly dependent on the internet.

2019 Legislative Session: Highlights for Maine's island and coastal communities

The first session of the 129th Legislature wrapped with a flurry of activity. This blog post captures few of the important energy and climate change related outcomes for island and coastal communities.

End-of-year event gives students the opportunity to celebrate, connect, and learn from each other

On June 18th, twelve students from four Maine islands, and their families, gathered at Thomas College in Waterville to celebrate the high school graduation and send-off of the MAP class of 2019 and welcome the newest MAP cohort. The event also kicked off the annual MAP Leadership Intensive.

Guest blog: Value in seeing how it’s done

Residents from five Maine islands and two coastal communities joined the Island Institute in May 2019 for a community broadband tour of the Cranberry Isles. During the exchange trip, members of the Cranberry Isles Broadband Group shared what it took to connect their five islands, and guests exchanged ideas with the other island and coastal communities represented. In this guest blog post, Keith Harriton of the Swan's Island broadband group reflects on the trip and the benefits of building connections and learning from each other.

ABD Boot Camp May 2019

During their first "Aquaculture Boot Camp” on May 1-3, our new Aquaculture Business Development (ABD) cohort ventured out to the Damariscotta area to tour local farms and learn from industry partners already working in seaweed, oysters, scallops, and mussels. One of the many benefits of the program, trips like these offer participants the chance to connect with others in their field and learn about their operations. 

Policy Update: State Investments in Broadband Infrastructure

Much has been written about why Maine needs to expand access to broadband, but less has been written about where the state has made investments and where they are likely to be made. In our latest policy update, Senior Policy Officer Nick Battista looks at why state funding is a critical piece in bringing broadband to the rural parts of our state and investing in infrastructure that is critical to their future.

The 48-Hour Field Trip

Last week I was fortunate to experience my first ever TLC field trip. The Outer Islands Teaching and Learning Collaborative, or TLC, is a group of one- and two-room school houses whose teachers support each other on curriculum and problem solving and whose students meet for virtual reading groups, student council, and science classes. Based on my experiences the past few months, the highlight of the TLC is the biannual field trip. Each fall and each spring, the TLC schools join together for multi-day field trips off island, a chance for socialization and off-island experiences, not to mention overstimulation, play, packed schedules, and possibly a college campus dining hall buffet (dessert, anyone?).