#52: Ellsworth, ME 9/19/16

It’s autumn in New England: the leaves are changing, the lobsters are boiling, and the city councils are laser focused on the People’s Business.

In Ellsworth, it turns out that things are actually going very, very well. So well in fact, there’s photographic proof.

“Up on the screen, you’re seeing the five award winners in the city’s recent photo contest,” the city manager gestured to a slideshow playing just off-camera.

Winners included “Fall on Leonard Lake.” “Sunset on Branch Lake.” “Sunset on Union River.”

“All these sunsets,” he quietly groused. “I’m looking for a sunrise.” Me too, buddy. Just not one that occurs at the butt-crack of dawn.

Council Chairman Robert Crosthwaite stared transfixed at the digital photo show. “I just wanna say, those make a great backdrop for council meetings. Takes off the boredom.”

Psst! Mr. Chairman, you’re not supposed to say at the council meetings that they’re boring! (Instead, say it on City Council Chronicles’s new podcast, now available on iTunes.)

Crosthwaite turned to the bearded, baseball cap-clad man hiding in the rear. “Mr. Harbormaster?”

His Mastercy swaggered up to the podium. “There’s gonna be hot air balloon rides on Friday night and Saturday morning. The chowdah fest–noon to 2. And the beer and wine tasting tent, it’s gonna be behind the gazebo.” He returned to his seat, keeping a solid poker face while rattling off the objectively kickass event listing.

Look! It’s the picture!

“Any comments from the citizens?” the chairman asked. Not a soul stepped forward, even though the room was oddly packed to the gills. “Good to see. I guess we get ’em all by Facebook now.”

The fire chief squeezed forth from the crowd to bestow an award on some local superstars.

“On September 1, there was a gentleman that had a medical event driving down High Street, and was witnessed by Jack Carlin.” The chief held the audience at rapt attention, describing the car’s harrowing path through Ellsworth:

“He was exceeding 80 miles an hour, narrowly missing a vehicle on Water Street, careening down the Harbor Park. He ended up submerging the vehicle. Mr. Carlin got down to the harbor at the same time harbormaster Adam Wilson noticed the event occurring, and the two gentlemen came to the rescue.”

The harbormaster took an encore at the podium alongside Carlin as the audience thunderously applauded. “We have your back,” Chairman Crosthwaite gave a thumbs up after the cheers subsided.

It turns out, the two dozen or so people crowding the chamber were only there to hear about the Harbor Heroes. “Public hearing on amendments to the code of ordinances. Chapter 5, sewer ordinance, article 10–” the chairman began reading over the loud shuffle of everybody beelining for the exit.

Whoa, okay now, is a stampede really necessary?

Their loss. They really should have nixed the Irish Goodbye and stayed for the alcohol permits–which included an application from “A.A.R.G.H., Inc.”

Councilor Gary Fortier needled the chairman. “I was disappointed you did not pronounce it–”

“Aargh?” Crosthwaite anticipated

“AARGH!” several councilors grunted.

“It is [Talk Like a] Pirate Day,” one councilor whispered.

Final thoughts: I can’t believe I found out it was Talk Like a Pirate Day by watching a city council meeting. Social media, you’re dead to me.


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