St. George news

By Sandra Dickson | Sep 14, 2018
Photo by: Sandra Dickson Joss Coggeshall, left, of Port Clyde inspects one of a dozen birdfeeders painted by local artists for the silent auction on Monhegan's Library Day, a fundraising event that included the sale of baked goods, books by island authors, and bookmarks designed by island artists. Many thanks to all the generous donors of raffle prizes and to the supporters who made this day a success.

For several weeks now, migrating Monarch butterflies have been making a show here in St. George and on Monhegan. This year's planting of Joe-Pye Weed at my studio in Port Clyde is being rewarded with a lively group of bright-winged visitors. The air is also alive with dragonflies showing off their flying skills, darting and swooping like crazed little helicopters, and we are sometimes surprised by the retreating slither of oft-maligned but harmless green or garter snakes.

Although our lawns are brown from the extended drought, as I began writing this column, a very welcome rainstorm arrived amid thunder and lightning, and hope was renewed that we may see green grass again before winter. But I do wonder, where do the Monarchs take shelter in a torrential storm?

Bean/Wyeth update

It may be several months before a Knox County Superior Court judge is ready to give his opinion in the legal action by the Horse Point Road Group against the St. George Planning and Appeals boards over the Wyeth Reading Room currently under construction on Horse Point Road and Raspberry Lane in Port Clyde.

Nearly two hours of oral arguments were presented Sept. 4 by the HPRGroup's attorney, Patrick Mellor, and opposing lawyers Amanda Meader, representing St. George, and Paul Gibbons, Linda Bean's attorney.

Claiming lack of "due process," Mellor argued that the approved proposal did not meet the safety criteria of the town's Site Plan Review Ordinance and that the Planning Board may have been influenced by the opinion of a new board member, a former attorney, who had not reviewed all of the submitted oral testimony and letters protesting the change of use from a residence to a commercial venture.

Gibbons claimed that a DOT traffic study proved there would be no safety problems created by inviting increased traffic on this mile-long dead-end road. Gibbons said only two accidents have occurred there in 10 years.

Mellor countered that the study pertained only to vehicles, not pedestrians and bike riders on this narrow road with many blind curves and no shoulders. Mellor further argued that when the new board member reviewed the applicant's testimony but not that of neighbors, visitors and a local sheriff's deputy warning of the inherent dangers of a particularly difficult 90-degree corner near the site, he could not properly assess both sides of the issue before he spoke convincingly in favor of the project.

Candidates for House District 92

We have an unusual situation this year in the race for the two-year term as state representative for House District 92, which covers St. George, Cushing, Thomaston, South Thomaston, and the islands of Matinicus, Criehaven and Muscle Ridge. Although both Democrat Anne Matlack and Republican Justin Thompson are from St. George, the two candidates have very different backgrounds and experience, and it will be up to the voters to decide who will best represent the broad, varied interests of the district. I hope upcoming columns will include the candidates' positions and timely debates, so we can make informed decisions when we vote Nov. 6.

Previously, candidates were allowed six weeks to display their political roadside signs, but the Legislature recently increased it to 12 weeks to include primaries. Signs may be posted on private property with permission before the timed roadside displays are posted.

Your tax dollars at work

With property taxes due Sept. 30, I asked Town Manager Tim Polky for a quick review of where our tax dollars go. The majority (63.10 percent) goes to our kindergarten through grade eight school, which is successfully back under local control. Knox County gets 11.2 percent to cover our share of costs at the sheriff's department, the county airport, the courthouse and registry office, and the Emergency Management Agency which, among other things, helped supply us with our free speed radar sign known by many as "Officer Friendly."

The balance covers municipal costs.

Thanks go to our County Budget Committee representative, Nick Latham, who has been most helpful explaining county finances to our town manager and finance director.

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