$143K in fed funds for island communities awarded to Island Institute

The Island Institute, in Rockland, has been selected to receive a USDA Rural Development Rural Community Development Initiative Grant in the amount of $143,350 to build capacity and provide technical assistance to the rural Maine island communities of Vinalhaven, Frenchboro, and Eastport.
The grant will provide Vinalhaven, Frenchboro, and Eastport with  support through Fellows who will work alongside the communities to develop opportunities in education, grow the creative economy, and improve critical emergency management services for island residents.

Unplugging a way of life: Maine island eyes trading local control for cheaper electricity

On Swan’s Island and other islands, high energy costs have been a fact of life. Many places are considering how to change that, but the situation on each island is unique.
“About the only thing the islands in Maine have in common is that they’re islands,” Schwabe said.
Some, such as Swan’s Island, have connections to the mainland. Others generate all of their own electricity through a local utility and have no connection, such as Harbor Island, which guards Burnt Coat Harbor and sits in view of the Swan’s Island cooperative.

Looking For Broadband Down East? Check It Out Of The Library

“There are efforts underway to increase rural internet access. Briana Warner is the economic director for the Island Institute, which is working to help island communities with similar problems.
Warner points to the island of Islesboro, which is planning a $3 million project to get gigabit-speed connection. She says every town doesn’t need to go that far, but she thinks it’s important for both educating students and making them want to come back after college.”

Smith: Creating a better Maine

“As you struggle to recover from two disappointing national political conventions, perhaps this news will help. Let’s focus on the wonderful work of three Maine organizations: Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI), Island Institute and the Maine Community Foundation.

How two of Maine’s first year-round artists made Maine an arts destination

“Stell Shevis — and her artist husband, William (known as “Shevis”), who died in 2010 — moved to Belmont in 1945 at a time when artists who could make a living in Maine year-round were rare. Despite Maine’s longstanding importance as a source of inspiration for artists, most of the artists associated with the state before then were seasonal residents, who spent summers on the coast before returning to Boston, New York, or Philadelphia to sell their work.

Homeowners with solar panels affect your power bill. Maine’s debating whether that’s fair.

“When homeowners with rooftop solar panels generate more electricity than they need, they can sell that excess power back to the utility company.
That has made installing solar power affordable for many Mainers. But other customers are footing part of the bill for those payments, and with solar power growing in popularity, regulators are concerned that’s not fair.

Boatworks rowathon a success

“This fundraiser has helped us a lot,” Boatworks Director Tony Archino told the group before they headed out, “but even more importantly, it gets more people involved with and connected to what we do.”
One of the boats, rowed by Gretchen Blank, was outfitted with a special camera recording footage for a virtual reality project, a collaborative effort of the Island Institute, the Camden International Film Festival and Big Room Studios.

From deer hunting to near-death experiences on the water, the Island Journal is fascinating

In the current Volume 32 of Island Journal, I really loved the story by Scott Sell, “One Deer, Two Islands,” about deer hunting on Frenchboro. Here’s how it begins: “Zack Lunt’s hands are covered in blood and bile and fur. ‘The fun part is over for me,’ he says, midway through field-dressing the buck he just shot. ‘It’s all work from here on out.” Boy, he got that right!

Islesboro moves forward with $3.8 million broadband network

“Ziegler said Islesboro’s strategy to build the municipal broadband network is unique and unlikely to be duplicated by mainland communities. A report issued in December by the Island Institute suggested that other island communities could benefit by increased broadband adoption, because the technology would lead to new jobs and economic activity.”