The water is flowing again on Vinalhaven now that the town’s recent problems with main leaks, low pressure and water loss have been straightened out. Last Monday, Maine Water reported that the water system was operating normally and the storage tank was more than 90 percent full after two more service line leaks were discovered and shut off. More system leak tests were conducted last week, but it appears things in the water district are back to normal for now.
A new (but not unheard of) predicament some islanders are facing is an increase in their electricity bills. December costs are understandably higher for most because of Christmas lights and cold weather, but some people were shocked this month when they received bills much more expensive than anticipated. Charges ranged from around $50 for a house that’s been closed for the winter, to between $200 and $500 for active homes, according to lamenting customers.
It is important to not just look at the price of your electric bill but also the amount of kilowatt-hours you use, according to Andy Dorr, energy and economic development associate at the Island Institute. The island’s rate went up 2 cents (to $0.2653 per kWh) in December, and with record cold and the Christmas season, an increase in a home’s kilowatt-hours was likely with space heaters, well pumps running more to prevent frozen pipes and multiple strings of lights — just a few causes of increased kWh usage.
If you don’t decorate much for Christmas, plugged-in appliances — such as washing machines, computers and refrigerators — still draw power even when you’re not using them and may account for up to 10 percent of your energy bill, Dorr said. He recommends turning off electronics when not in use, and if you plan to go away for an extended period of time, it would be efficient to unplug appliances or turn off power strips.
This Monday marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and students in grades 3, 4 and 5 celebrated early with a performance of “I’m Gonna Let It Shine: A Gathering of Voices for Freedom” on Jan. 15. Chronicling the civil rights movement, the kids sang “Get on Board, Children,” “If You Miss Me From the Back of the Bus,” and “I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table,” among other freedom songs. The musical ended with “We Shall Overcome,” with the audience joining in the last couple of verses.
Director and drama teacher Hilary Martin noted in the program how impressed she was with the students’ thoughtful approach to such weighty material. Musical director Michelle Wiley added that she had reviewed the musical several years ago but waited for the right time to put on the show. “The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech seemed like perfect timing,” she wrote. “Placing these songs in their historical context adds so much depth and meaning beyond simply singing them.”
In high school basketball, the Vikings hosted the Richmond Bobcats Jan. 17 and 18 in this season’s last home series. Friday night was also the traditional senior rose ceremony, where players graduating this year and their parents were honored with flowers. Our girls won 52-41 that night but fell 52-38 the next day. The Viking boys lost both of their games, falling 67-35 on Friday night and 75-51 on Saturday morning. The last home game of the season is Jan. 29 versus North Haven, after which the Vikings will finish their seasons on the road.
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