Talk of the Towns 3/9/22: Town Clerks—an Essential Role in Maine Communities

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

Town clerks play an important role in local communities, often behind the scenes. They provide direct day-to-day contact with citizens, play critical support roles to other town departments, and oversee town meetings as well as local, state, and federal elections. And they take great satisfaction in doing their jobs well and keeping up with trends and technology. This program highlights how town clerks in Bucksport, Bar Harbor, Deer Isle and Mount Desert communities carry out their responsibilities.

Guests:

Claire Woolfolk, Town Clerk, Mount Desert, Maine
Liz Graves, Town Clerk, Bar Harbor, Maine
Heather Cormier, Town Clerk, Deer Isle, Maine
Amy Flood, City Clerk, Belfast, Maine

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Talk of the Towns 1/12/22: College of the Atlantic in its 50th Year—a conversation with Darron Collins, President

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, welcomed its first class 50 years ago, offering a many paths to a degree in human ecology. In a conversation with Darron Collins, President of the college and himself a graduate, we explore the origins and history of College of the Atlantic, the ways in which students learn and faculty teach, the role of international students who make up nearly 20% of the intentionally small student body of 350, and aspirations as faculty, staff and students look ahead.

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Talk of the Towns 12/8/21: Working Toward Universal Health Care in Maine

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

What are Maine voters being asked to consider… what does the referendum question intend to change/create?

Outline the concept of health insurance… how is health care paid for in Maine ( private pay and insurance: private, employer-based, publicly supported (Medicare, Medicaid/Maine Care)

What would Universal Health Care do for consumers, employers, health care providers, insurance companies? Are there predicted health outcomes that we can anticipate, based on how the concept works elsewhere?

Is Universal Health Care as you are proposing it the same as Medicare for All… how is it different?

Who is covered under the present system, how well are they covered, who is left out?

Remind us about the referendum process in Maine… how does it work… what is the role of groups like Maine Health Care Action… what is the role of citizens, of the legislature, of the Governor with initiatives like this?

Guests:

Lisa Savage, Maine Health Care Action board member, retired educator, Skowhegan
Rachel Herbener, volunteer, Belfast
Valerie Dornan, volunteer, retired teacher, experience NHS in England, Hancock
Bill Clark, Maine Health Care Action Board member, retired physician, Brunswick

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Talk of the Towns 11/10/21: Recruiting the next generation of volunteer firefighters

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

Community concerns and opportunities: Recruiting the next generation of volunteer firefighters

-What led to your involvement in your town fire department? Who invited you to get involved? Is this a family tradition for you? Why is the role volunteer fire fighter important to you and your community?

-How are changes in your community affecting your ability to staff your department with volunteers? If you look back in time, what were the most effective ways that you brought new volunteers into your department? What works today?

-In general, what are you looking for in volunteers… is there a range of duties and skills that volunteers can contribute? What is the range of time commitments and training expected?

-Please share your top reasons for why you became a firefighter in your town and why you continue to serve

Guests:

Stephan Blanchard, Lieutenant, Blue Hill Fire Department
Ryan Hayward, Chief, Stonington Fire Department
Brent Morey, Chief, Deer Isle Fire Department
David Carter, Chief, Sedgwick Fire Department
Zach Soares, volunteer firefighter, Bar Harbor Fire Department
Cynder Johnson, volunteer firefighter and EMT, Bar Harbor Fire Department

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Talk of the Towns 10/13/21: How Maine Land Trusts are building on the legacy of land protection

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

-How do land trusts, including Blue Hill Heritage Trust, carry out the work of private land protection in Maine?

-In addition to protecting land by owning it or by permanently restricting some forms of development, how else do your organizations work with landowners and other partners to promote conservation values through public access and use, as in the case of trails, wildlife observation and hunting?

-How has Maine Farmland Trust worked with farmers to protect farmland and to provide access to new farmers and help those farmers make their operations viable?

-How has Maine Coast Heritage Trust worked with local volunteer and fisheries experts to increase fish passage, including for river herring in the Bagaduce River watershed and at Walker Pond?

-Looking ahead to the next fifty years of work by land trusts, what are the challenges and what are your hopes for the outcomes of this work?

Guests:
Hans Carlson, Executive Director, Blue Hill Heritage Trust
Sarah Simon, Program Director, Farmland Access/Farm Viability, Maine Farmland Trust
Ciona Ulbrich, Senior Project Manager, Maine Coast Heritage Trust

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Talk of the Towns 9/8/21: Reflections on Retirement

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

How did you come to contemplate retirement for yourself… what were the clues that you might be ready to consider retiring (tipping points)? What questions did it raise for you? What did you learn about yourself in this time of contemplating retirement?

What is some of the new research into older people and creativity? How did that factor into your own views about what retirement might be for you?

How do people deal with big changes in their lives? Are there any helpful stages? (Introduce William Bridges’ writings about Transition: endings, neutral zone, new beginning)

I gather that, like any of us who love learning and figuring things out, you began to study up on retirement… what did you learn from that process? What stood out from your conversations with others (those who had retired, those who had not retired) and from writings about retirement?

So, in your book, you describe how you created a clear ending to your work life. Describe that process… what was difficult, what was easier?

Did you discover elements of the neutral zone that Bridges writes about? What was that process like?

What was your process of discovering your new beginnings?

What have been some of the reactions to your book, as you have done readings and talks?

Guest: Rebecca Milliken, author of Gaining Altitude—Retirement and Beyond, published by Atmosphere Press, 2021

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Talk of the Towns 7/14/21: The Challenge of Workforce Housing

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

What is the brief history of your organization’s work on affordable workforce housing in your community? What led to its creation? How did you decide to frame the issue for your situation?

Where did you find inspiration, including other community examples (Martha’s Vineyard, elsewhere?)

What approaches have most resonated with people in your community? What strategies have you tried and what has worked well?

How have you approached the question of keeping housing that you designate/support as affordable into the future? (covenants, etc.)

How have you engaged local government, lending agencies?

How is your work funded?

Share some vignettes about the families who have benefited from your work? How do they fit into the workforce and as community members?

What are the challenges that you have faced in getting the community to support your efforts? Are their myths about affordable, workforce housing that you have had to address?

Guests:
Molly Siegel, Isle au Haut Community Development Corporation
Peter Roth, Island Workforce Housing, Deer Isle-Stonington
Marla O’Byrne, Island Housing Trust, Mount Desert Island

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.

Talk of the Towns 6/9/21: Pine Tree Power—the rationale for a consumer-owned electric utility for Maine

Producer/Host: Ron Beard

Pine Tree Power—the rationale for a consumer-owned electric utility for Maine
] -What led to consideration of a consumer- owned non-profit electric utility for the State of Maine? What is the history of this approach?
-What are the main advantages to this approach?
-What would have to change to make a consumer-owned electric utility possible?
-How is electricity generated and distributed in Maine today? What is the history of investor- owned electric utilities?
-What is the experience for Maine’s consumers of electricity? How do the two major privately owned utilities compare in reliability of service and rates to other rural states?
-The current bill is supported by members of both major political parties… What are the primary reasons for their support?
-In terms of energy conservation and use of renewables to produce electricity, how would a consumer-owned utility be different than the current model?

Guests:
Rep. Nicole Grohoski (Ellsworth/Trenton) and also on Energy Utilities, Technology Committee
Emily Rochford, Unity College, core member Maine Youth for Climate Justice
Louise Chaplin, University of Maine, Executive Board, Coastal Youth Climate Coalition
John Brautigam, Maine Attorney and Public Policy Consultant

About the host:
Ron Beard is producer and host of Talk of the Towns, which first aired on WERU in 1993 as part of his community building work as an Extension professor with University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Sea Grant. He took all the journalism courses he could fit in while an undergraduate student in wildlife management and served as an intern with Maine Public Television nightly newscast in the early 1970s. Ron is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic, teaching courses on community development. Ron served on the Bar Harbor Town Council for six years and is currently board chair for the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, where he has lived since 1975. Look for him on the Allagash River in June, and whenever he can get away, in the highlands of Scotland where he was fortunate to spend two sabbaticals.