Taking a quick look back at 2022, one could argue that the November election in which Democrats and an independent swept up House and Senate Seats in Knox County was the big story of the year.

In Rockport, talk of the town continued to be the construction of a new hotel in the village and this year saw it clearing most obstacles, despite opposition from some residents.

In Camden, debate continued over whether a major river restoration project should preserve or remove the Montgomery Dam. The Select Board threw out two petitions from groups looking to influence the development of this project and the year ended with a new town committee and consultants quietly going about the work of studying the issue.

The town of Camden taking Rockport to court over failure to pay sewerage treatment fees also stood out as an important local story.

Many of the other events of 2022 were annual in nature — toboggan races, Winterfest, Camden Hills Regional High School graduates marching in the streets, various holiday celebrations — however, the year did serve as a return to semi-normal as the approach to the COVID-19 pandemic continued to evolve.

Here is a look back at the year that was 2022:

JANUARY

The Jan. 6 vigil on the Village Green in Camden. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

More than 50 people gathered in the Village Green Thursday evening, Jan. 6, for a vigil showing their unity in supporting voter rights on the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol building by an angry mob.

The vigil was organized by Rep. Vicki Doudera, D-Camden, and included speeches, a prayer, a moment of silence, the lighting of candles and a chance for citizens to register to vote. The group also sang “America the Beautiful” together.

Tyler Smith points out that most of the materials used in building the Rockport Hotel are from Maine. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Residents were given a tour of the unfinished interior of the Rockport Harbor Hotel on Friday, Jan. 21 as part of a two-day open house. The hotel had been under construction for about a year and Tyler Smith, who is developing the project with his parents, Stuart and Marianne Smith, said he was excited to have people see the progress. Work on the hotel continued throughout the year.

FEBRUARY

Scene from the SunDog Outdoor Expedition fundraiser polar plunge at the 2022 Winterfest event in Camden on Feb. 5. Photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer

Winterfest week kicked off Feb. 5 at the Camden Public Library Amphitheater and Harbor Park.

The day’s events included ice sculptures, a doggie fashion show, the family story walk with librarian Miss Amy and the polar plunge into the harbor to benefit SunDog Outdoor Expeditions.

These racers experience a range of emotions during a trip down the icy, 400-foot wooden chute during the 31st U.S. National Toboggan Championships on Feb. 12 at the Camden Snow Bowl. Photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer

After being grounded in 2021 due to the pandemic, the 31st U.S. National Toboggan Championships proved a tale of two distinctly-different, weather-related days — one warm, wet and slow and the other icy cold, crisp and fast.

No matter, as hundreds of racers and fans had a blast during the popular three-day event and times improved on Sunday, Feb. 13 as champions were crowned at the Camden Snow Bowl.

Members of the Save the Dam Falls Committee hold a banner in front of the town office Feb. 24 in downtown Camden. Pictured from left, Ray Andresen, Tom Rothwell, Jennifer Healy, Jean Brewer, Robert Nichols, Ken Gross, Tom Zumwalt, Shawn McBrien, Ron Hawkins and John Webster. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

A group of residents calling themselves the “Save the Dam Falls Committee” said they turned in 21 pages of petition signatures representing more than 500 registered voters on Feb. 22 at the town office.

They wanted Camden voters to face a question at the June 14 town meeting, “Shall the Town of Camden protect, preserve, maintain, and repair the existing Montgomery Dam near Harbor Park in Camden?” However, petition efforts around the dam issue did not resolve it in 2022.

MARCH 

Town officials from Camden and Rockport exchanged some strong words and even threats in a dispute over sewer costs. On March 21, the Camden Select Board voted unanimously to give Rockport 30 days to pay the approximately $145,000 it owes its neighbor for sewer fees, or face possible court action. Rockport officials responded that they had questions about the rising costs from Camden and the other town would not meet with them to discuss it.

APRIL

Lyman-Morse Special Projects Director Joshua Moore offers a tour of the construction almost finished on the eastern side of Camden Harbor. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

With its new boardwalk, full-service yacht maintenance facilities and two new restaurants nearly complete, Lyman-Morse planned to make Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay even more of a destination. It offered a tour of the project in April and would announce its completion in October.

Also in April, members of the public expressed outrage as the Camden Select Board decided not to put any articles on the town meeting warrant concerning the Montgomery Dam. Two different groups had gathered signatures seeking to put questions on the ballot around dam removal and river restoration issues that have been hotly debated in the town. Save the Dam Falls Committee considered calling its own town meeting, but that did not come to fruition in 2022.

MAY 

The Rev. Ute Molitor of First Congregational Church in Camden speaks at a vigil for mass shooting victims May 26 on the Camden Village Green. Also pictured is The Rev. Michelle Wiley. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

In the wake of two mass shootings, local faith leaders joined with State Rep. Vicki Doudera for a vigil on the Camden Village Green May 26, and the message was not only one of mourning, but a call to hope and fight for the future by making changes in our society.

“We are facing the existential question of whether we will truly invest in the values of creating welcoming, just, safe, diverse and empowering communities, especially for our children,” said the Rev. Ute Molitor of First Congregational Church in Camden. “This work is our shared work, and we must, and we can reclaim the hope that change is possible.”

About 35 people attended the vigil. On Tuesday, May 24, a gunman shot and killed 19 young students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. This killing rampage came close on the heels of a racially motivated shooting spree that left 10 dead in a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo.

JUNE

The weather in downtown Camden is perfect June 6 for the traditional march of the graduates from Camden Hills Regional High School for 2022. This year a class of 178 students will graduate on Friday, June 10. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Gov. Janet Mills visits Camden Hills State Park on June 8. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Gov. Janet Mills visited Camden Hills State Park on a rainy Wednesday, June 8 to announce the launch of a $50 million initiative, through her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, to rebuild infrastructure at State Parks across Maine. It was one of at least two visits Mills would make to Camden while campaigning for governor this past year.

Thomas Hedstrom

Stephanie French

In the election Tuesday, June 14, Thomas Hedstrom with 713 votes was elected to the Camden Select Board, edging out incumbent Marc Ratner who received 675 votes. Stephanie French received 677 votes, beating Robert Lawson who received 542 votes for a two-year seat on the Select Board that was vacated when Matt Siegel resigned. In other business, the town turned down a plan to negotiate a sale and development of the tannery property with Mike Mullins, approved the dock moratorium and approved changes to town meeting process.

The town of Camden filed a lawsuit June 21 in Superior Court against the neighboring town of Rockport seeking $201,590 in unpaid sewer fees plus legal fees, costs and expenses and other damages to be determined by the court.

Midcoast residents stand outside Knox County Courthouse in Rockland, June 24, to protest the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade. Photo by Christine Simmonds

Midcoast Maine residents gathered at the Knox County Courthouse Friday, June 24, to protest the Supreme Court decision, released that afternoon, to overturn Roe v. Wade.

JULY 

Members of The Right Track at the annual Music by the Sea celebration of Fourth of July, Camden. Photo by Christine Simmonds

Camden Rotary Club’s annual Music by the Sea celebration returned to downtown Camden Monday, July 4, with an afternoon and evening of live performances by Maine-based musicians.

Camden Classics Cup 2022. Photo by Zack Miller

The sixth-annual Camden Classics Cup had perfect weather July 30 with 91 vessels competing.

The three-day event began Thursday, July 28, with registration and an Owners and Captains Reception. The racing began Friday, July 29, with the Camden Classics Cup fleet and Youth Regatta

“The wind kind of dropped out on Friday, but Saturday was awesome sailing,” said Event Director Holly Paterson. “Everybody loved (the event) on the water and on the shore.”

Saturday morning brought with it the parade of sail, as the crafts made their way through Camden’s Inner Harbor as spectators looked on from Lyman-Morse, the Public Landing and the Yacht Club.

The overall winner of the Cup was Leaf, which competed in the “Vintage 2” category.

AUGUST 

Drought conditions dominated the summer in Maine this year, choking lawns, busying gardeners and drying local wells.

“Virtually all of Knox County (98.52% by area) has been in Severe Drought since the U.S. Drought Monitor upgraded these conditions on August 4,” according to Samuel Roy of the Maine Emergency Management Agency. “The estimated population in the impacted area is 39,736 (99.8% of total population).”

“Levels at Mirror Lake are within what we consider to be normal for this time of summer,” Maine Water Director of Corporate Communications Dan Meaney said. “They are certainly lower than this time last year when we had more precipitation than usual. In addition, our supplemental water storage at Grassy Pond is within normal range and supplements Mirror Lake, as needed.”

SEPTEMBER 

At the end of business Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, Camden’s Post Office was shut down due to construction. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

The Camden Post Office closed in September with little prior communication to customers or community leaders, causing some concern among residents who recalled having to fight to keep the Post Office open in the past. It is now expected to reopen in March 2023.

In a Sept. 9 letter to postal customers, Post Office Operations Manager Heather Adams said, “…After careful consideration, and only as a last resort, the ME-NH-VT District has decided to temporarily suspend retail operations for Camden …due to construction in the building.”

That closure went into effect at the close of business Friday, Sept. 16.

Delivery to street addresses has continued and any items that cannot be delivered to the residence can be picked up at the Rockland Post Office during retail hours. P.O. Box mail is also available in Rockland.

In February 1990, it was announced the town would not be able to retain its historic downtown post office. Townspeople formed a committee, signed a petition and brought their concerns all the way to First Lady Barbara Bush. The Select Board drafted a resolution in support of keeping it. As a result the plans were abandoned.

The town’s new Megunticook River Citizen’s Advisory Committee began its work Tuesday, Sept. 20 in an upstairs room at the Camden Opera House, the first step in a process that could take years to complete.

Select Board member Sophie Romana served as chair of the committee and was aided by consultant Forrest Bell and hydrologist Maggie Mills of FB Environmental.

OCTOBER 

Two years in the making, the Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding Co. unveiled its recently completed 44,000-square-foot mixed-use marina redevelopment project on Camden’s inner harbor.

The new working waterfront has been entirely rebuilt, offering new spaces for locals, visitors and employees. Lyman-Morse Camden is a year-round operation for those looking to dine, shop, sightsee and work.

Some of the new features include two new year-round restaurants; a retail boutique; shared workspace rental spaces; crew quarters overnight accommodations; centrally located workshops; a 120-foot rig shop; a full-service chandlery; a customer lounge with showers, day offices and laundry and a 20-foot-wide harbor walk with lounge spaces and vistas of the surrounding harbor and town.

NOVEMBER 

Rep. Vicki Doudera

Democrats and one independent swept the state Legislative races across Knox County, keeping all the seats that they had held.

Democrat Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center of Rockland was elected to the state Senate for District 12, defeating Republican Scott Rocknak of Camden. Beebe-Center won with 12,298 votes to Rocknak’s 8,522. That is a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent.

Democratic Rep. Vicki Doudera of Camden won reelection by defeating Susan Lee Butterworth 4,055 to 1,327 for House District 43 that consists of Camden and Rockport. That is is a margin of 75 percent to 25 percent. Doudera is serving her third term in the House.

The Portland Press Herald reported that Gov. Mills defeated former Gov. Paul LePage by an overwhelming margin and Democrats retained control of both houses of the Legislature.

DECEMBER 

Hundreds lined Main Street, Camden, to gawk and wonder at fun-filled floats that festooned the downtown’s 36th Annual Christmas by the Sea celebration. The parade traveled north on Main Street in cold but clear weather from Mechanic Street to the Camden library where the town tree was lit on day one of the three-day regional fete put on by the Camden Area Business Group and others.

The Christmas by the Sea parade in Camden. Photo by Jack M. Foley

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