Talk of the Towns 2/8/19

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Engineer: Amy Browne

Community concerns and opportunities: Is it time to open up the Maine’s primary process to unenrolled voters

Key Discussion Points:
What are primary elections and how are they conducted in Maine?
What role do parties play, what is the role of the state of Maine?
What has been the rationale to prohibit unenrolled voters from participating in party primary elections?
How is the present campaign organized and what are you hoping will happen?
What was your experience with the primary experience, as a member of a party or as an Independent candidate? What did you appreciate about it? How would this proposed change benefit the state of Maine?

Kaitlin LaCasse, Campaign Manager, Open Primaries Maine
Jill Goldthwait, former State Senator, Independent
Dennis Damon, former State Senator, Democrat

Talk of the Towns 1/11/19

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Engineer: Amy Browne

Community concerns and opportunities: Looking back and looking forward—the view from Deer Isle, Stockton Springs and Mount Desert

Key Discussion Points:
Thumbnail sketches of geography, population and demographics
economic base, history of Deer Isle, Stockton Springs, Mount Desert
Brief overviews of town Governance structures:
Selectboard, town meeting, key committees
Opportunities and challenges from the past year… achievements?
Opportunities and challenges for the year ahead
Comparison of
Tax base (valuation), budget and tax rate
Portion of budget for education
How do you handle capital costs?
How is your volunteer base holding up (town committees, public safety, etc.)
Examples of town to town and town to non-governmental partnerships and collaboration
What is most satisfying about your work as town manager?
What makes your town a good place to live?

Jim Fisher, Town Manager, Deer Isle
Courtney O’Donnell, Town Manager, Stockton Springs
Durlin Lunt, Town Manager, Mount Desert

Talk of the Towns 12/14/18

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Engineer: Joel Mann

Community concerns and opportunities: Developing Small Business Climate in Washington County

Key Discussion Points:

What is overall picture of Washington County? Historical perspective, Natural Resource base, Economics, Demographics… what are the most significant regional assets? What challenges does the region face?

Focus on the role of small business in the region… definition, contribution to economy and community life? Opportunities and challenges?

What led to the development of the new Machias Valley Center for Entrepreneurship? What is the core mission and how do you envision it working?
How will you develop the Nash Building… what will we see when the work is complete? How will this new center connect small businesses to other partners and resources?

What is happening with downtown revitalization, what buildings have been “saved” in recent years (including Machias Savings Bank building), and how does the Nash Building fits into the hopes and plans to continue revitalization work.

What do you appreciate about doing business and living in Machias region? If this entrepreneurship center had been operating when you were getting started, how might it been helpful?


Charles Rutelitch, Exec. Director, Sunrise County Economic Council
Larry Barker, President & CEO, Machias Savings Bank
Bill Kitchen, Member, Machias Town Council 774-364-2518
Andrea Lyford, owner of A29 Marketing 207 271 3262

Talk of the Towns 11/9/18

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Engineer: Denis Howard

Community concerns and opportunities: 2018 Post Election Reflection

Key Discussion Points:
How would you characterize the 2018 elections… any general observations about the election process this year and any results you would like to highlight?
Review results known in Maine (Governor, Congress, Senate seat, make-up of the new legislature)… What stands out for you in these results?
Review results of Congressional Mid-Term elections (Control of House, Senate) What stands out for you?
Though he wasn’t running, President Trump seemed to be a factor in these mid-terms, highlighting some of the stark differences between Republicans (under Trump) and Democrats. How did this seem to play out? Was it unusually polarizing? How did Trump seem to influence the results?
In the wake of the Women’s March, the Me-Too movement, the Kavanaugh hearings, the Parkland student’s leadership of the March for our Lives demonstrations in March, Pantsuit Nation, Indivisible, outrage ties to white nationalism and racism, shootings and bombings… we saw impressive attempts to engage women, people of color, young-people? Any obvious results that affected this election cycle?

Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine, host of Democracy Forum that airs the third Friday of the month at 10 AM on WERU
Jamie McKown, James Russell Wiggins Chair in Government and Polity, College of the Atlantic

Talk of the Towns 10/12/18

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Engineer: Amy Browne

The History Trust: Making the Past Accessible

Key Discussion Points:
Overview of the mission and collections of each historical society/museum, touching on how they manage those collections/archival materials, how they share them with the public.
How mission for each organization translates into a meaningful connection between a community member and some element of local history that you have “protected” or brought to light.
What are the challenges that you face as you think about keeping those materials accessible in the long-term?
Background and rationale for Friends of Island History and the concept of a “history trust”
What are the key components of the proposed History Trust? What would each participant gain through participating? What are challenges you are wrestling with?

Bill Horner, Mount Desert Island Historical Society, Friends of Island History
Raney Bench, Seal Cove Auto Museum
Muriel Davison, Tremont Historical Society
Anne Grulich, Great Cranberry Island Historical Society

Talk of the Towns 9/14/18

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Engineer: Amy Browne

Community concerns and opportunities: The evolving role of community libraries

Was there a “typical” view of the role of a community library when you started out?
What roles of a community library are staying the same, and what roles are evolving?
What are some of the “drivers” of the evolving role (demographics, technology, changing communities)? Is there a tension between historic and evolving roles?
What is the role of the Maine State Library, and is it changing as well? How does the state library support community libraries and foster collaborations… examples?
What challenges are you seeing, across the library landscape?
What is your vision for the future of community libraries?

Amy Wisehart, Ellsworth Public Library
Ruth Eveland Jesup Memorial Library, Bar Harbor
Rich Boulet, Blue Hill Public Library
Jamie Ritter, Maine State Librarian

Talk of the Towns 8/10/18

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Engineer: Amy Browne

Community concerns and opportunities: Storied Lands and Waters of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

Key Discussion Points:
What is the history of the Allagash River and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW)—including wilderness waterway designation and state management?
What is the “present status” of the AWW and how is used, how is it “cared for” and managed?
What led the Department of Conservation and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation to undertake the several resource assessment and planning process?
What are the main natural, historic and cultural resources reported in Storied Lands and Waters?
What are the main threats to the historic and cultural resources of AWW?
What are the key recommendations for protection and interpretation of these resources?

Bruce Jacobson, Planning Consultant and author of the report
Don Hudson, Board Member, Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation
Cindy Bastey, Bureau of Public Lands, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry


About Storied Lands and Waters of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway
Maine State Library’s digitalmaine repository at has 4 project documents available for download:
Storied Lands & Waters of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway: Interpretive Plan and Heritage Resource Assessment by Bruce Jacobson
Allagash Wilderness Waterway Sample Lesson Plans by Bruce Jacobson
Allagash Wilderness Waterway Bibliography by Bruce Jacobson
Allagash Waterway Watersheds Map, by James W. Sewall Company, created at Bruce Jacobson’s request

Both the AWW Foundation website ( and the AWW website ( also link to the material at the Library’s digitalmaine repository

Paperback hard copies of the Storied Lands & Waters report can be purchased from Amazon

About the Allagash Wilderness Waterway
Visit the AWW website at if you are interested in or planning to visit the Waterway. The AWW map and guide, camping information and fees, rules governing watercraft and use of the waterway, photographs of campsites in Google Earth, and a series of nine videos (via YouTube) showing different aspects of an Allagash trip are all available on this site. For an information packet, contact the Bureau of Parks and Lands, Northern Region Parks Office, 106 Hogan Road, Suite 7, Bangor, ME 04401. Telephone (207) 941-4014

About the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Foundation
The AWW Foundation was created in 2012 to build a community of support for this exceptional and remote public resource, and to raise funds to supplement state funding. Its focus areas of interest include youth access to the Waterway, resource interpretation and education, Foundation support for the protection of important adjacent lands, and capital projects to enhance the experience of the Waterway. Learn more about the Foundation at Email the Foundation at; or write to them at P.O. Box 1211, Bath, ME 04530

About the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL)
The Bureau of Parks and Lands is a division of the Maine Department of Agriculture and Forestry. BPL manages state parks, including the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, state historic sites, public reserved lands, boating facilities and off-road vehicle trails. The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands web address is

Talk of the Towns 7/13/18

Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Engineer: Amy Browne

Looking Back at Maine’s 2018 Legislative Session

Key Discussion Points:
How do you approach the role of legislator—what balance between advancing policy or solving problems framed by your parties vs. constituent services and solving problems that they bring to your attention?

What are your primary committee assignments, and what did those committees work on in this session?

Overall, what were the accomplishments from 128th legislature (2017-18) of which you are most proud? How do those accomplishments translate for your constituents?

On the other hand, what were your greatest disappointments—those things you hoped could be accomplished in this session, but were not?

What do you issues do you imagine will be enduring, as the campaign season heats up and after the November elections, for the 129th Legislature?

Representative Brian Hubbell, Democrat, Bar Harbor
Senator Brian Langley, Republican, Ellsworth
Representative Ralph Chapman, Green Independent, Brooksville