Friday, January 15, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Public Service Announcement - 1.13.21


Mount Desert Island Hospital administered its first vaccinations for COVID-19 to frontline healthcare staff in late December. Since then, it has received a limited supply of doses designated for frontline and community healthcare workers and older adults living in congregate care facilities.

Governor Janet Mills announced today, January 13, updates to Maine’s vaccine distribution strategy that prioritizes older residents, those with underlying conditions, emergency service personnel and others critical to Maine’s COVID-19 response. Under the new guidelines, Maine’s limited vaccine supply will be prioritized for those 70 and older, additional emergency service personnel such as police and firefighters; and those critical to Maine’s COVID-19 response. The updated strategy also focuses on adults of all ages with underlying medical conditions that place them at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.

Current recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include two phases. Phase 1 includes three tiers, 1a, 1b and 1c. Phase 2 includes community vaccination. The State of Maine has set vaccination priorities in accordance with this guidance as well as sub-tiering instructions for hospitals and health care facilities.

Current priorities in Maine Phase 1a include healthcare workers, EMS and residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1b includes people age 70 and older and frontline essential workers. Phase 1c includes people ages 65-70, people of all ages with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers. Phase 2 includes all people ages 16 and older who are not in Phase 1, with vaccine starting to become available to the general public. This approach is subject to change as Maine updates vaccination priorities and strategy in accordance with federal guidelines.

MDI Hospital is continually monitoring state and federal vaccine planning guidelines and availability to ensure that our community can be vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible when supply becomes available. Our ability to vaccinate our community is currently contingent on the supply we are allocated each week. Due to the limited supply of vaccine, MDI Hospital does not currently have a guaranteed weekly allocation of doses. MDI Hospital will be notified by the state when supply will be available to begin the updated prioritization strategy and will continue to update our community as new information is received. The Governor has said that additional information on vaccination for people age 70 and older in Maine will be available the week of January 18 and asked older Mainers to wait to contact their health care providers about getting vaccinated.

When supply becomes consistently available, vaccines will be available through our primary care clinics based on state guidance. We thank you for your patience during these dynamic times. If you would like more information, MDI Hospital has set up an email address for vaccine-related questions,

Monday, January 4, 2021

COVID-19 Public Service Announcement

Mount Desert Island Hospital has seen an increase in COVID-19 positivity on MDI and surrounding communities following the holiday season. We strongly encourage everyone to remain vigilant, monitor for symptoms, wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distancing and avoid crowded situations with poor ventilation.

Due to the increase in positivity, MDI Hospital will be providing access to our Winter Testing Facility on Sunday, January 3, 2021. The call line 207-801-5520 will open at 8:00 am to schedule testing for anyone who believes they may have come in contact with a COVID-19 positive community member. If we are on the line when you call, please leave a message so we can ensure your call is returned. Testing on Sunday will take place from 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm.  The facility is located adjacent to 6 Stanwood Place in Bar Harbor.

In recent weeks, our state has seen the highest increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. We have also seen the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccination arrive in our state. As we have been throughout the pandemic, MDI Hospital remains committed to being as transparent as possible throughout this process. Supply of vaccine will be limited at first, and it is more important than ever that we maintain COVID-19 safety precautions.

Over the next several months, vaccines will begin to be available to protect those in Maine at the highest risk. The State of Maine has set vaccination priorities in accordance with the latest federal guidelines. Current recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include two phases. Phase 1 includes three tiers, 1a, 1b and 1c. Phase 1a includes health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1b includes people age 75 and older and frontline essential workers. Phase 1c includes people ages 65 to 74, people ages 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers. Phase 2 includes all people ages 16 and older who are not in Phase 1, with vaccine starting to become available to the general public.

This approach is subject to change as Maine receives new vaccination guidance. The State has established a new webpage to help everyone stay up to date on the latest vaccine information: As we wait for COVID-19 vaccine supply to increase, please continue to maintain physical distancing, wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene and avoid crowded situations with poor ventilation. Thank you for helping to protect the health and well-being of our invaluable community. 


Monday, December 14, 2020

Women’s History Month March 2021: Southwest Harbor Public Library Community Exhibition


Women’s History Month March 2021

Southwest Harbor Public Library Community Exhibition

Life Upended: Unexpected Inspiration”

An exhibition of works by women of all ages

from our MDI Community


The Southwest Harbor Public Library (SWHPL) invites women of all ages from the MDI community to exhibit an artifact, in process or as yet to be conceived, inspired by the theme “Life Upended”. While much attention during 2020 has focused on the negative, it is the hope of the SWHPL Women’s History Month (WHM) Committee that the works will showcase the positivity that women of all ages and walks of life have experienced during this unusual time.

We encourage participants to use any media to create a work for the exhibit. One does not need to be an “artist” to participate. Exhibit pieces we welcome are, but not limited to, jewelry, literature, musical compositions, painting, photography, poetry, quilting, rug hooking, sculpture, sewing and weaving. Is there a new outlet or project that you have found to help you get through this time?

  • Registration opens Monday January 4, 2021 online at Look for the Women’s History Information. Online registration is preferred, but if you need help, make an appointment to come to the Library.

  • Deadline for Entries Friday February 12, 2021 - Registration and Hi-Res image.

Please review the registration requirements for submitting your work and a high-resolution digital image.

Deliver your item, fully ready for display, between Monday February 22 and Friday February 26. Instructions on how to prepare your item for exhibit will be sent to you after your register. If your item is not ready to exhibit when dropped off it will not be displayed.

Exhibit opens Monday March 1. For the first time, the show will not only be on display at the library, but it will be available online as a Virtual Exhibit which may include additional exhibit items.

  • There will be no opening reception for this exhibit. Viewing the exhibit will be virtual and by appointment. Call SWHPL 207-244-7065 to make an appointment.

  • Exhibit closes Wednesday March 31. All pieces must be collected by the end of that day.

  • Watch your email inbox for more information on the exhibition and for announcements of WHM programs during March.

Questions? Contact the Southwest Harbor Public Library by phone 207-244-7065, or email

Thank you!

From the Southwest Harbor Public Library Women’s History Month Committee

Our 2021 Celebrations are dedicated to our fearless WHM Visionary Beth Pfeiffer.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Bar Harbor Bank and Trust Supports COVID-19 Testing Program for Island Schools


Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is demonstrating outstanding support for the Mount Desert Island community with a $37,400 grant to support MDI Hospital’s COVID-19 testing initiative, developed in concert with the Downeast COVID-19 Task Force. Bar Harbor Bank & Trust’s grant is targeted to benefit the Mount Desert Island Regional School System (AOS 91) as they strive to keep students, staff, and schools healthy and safe.

“MDI Hospital is grateful to Bar Harbor Bank & Trust for their continued leadership support in our community,” said Art Blank, President/CEO of MDI Hospital. “They have stepped up to help our Island schools stay on track during this pandemic, enabling a high-quality, evidence-based COVID-19 testing program.”

Initially, 500 staff members will be tested to establish a baseline and detect any existing cases. This will be followed by weekly sentinel testing of staff in pre-established cohorts. The AOS 91 tests will be conducted by MDI Hospital personnel and processed by Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) Health, an incubator for innovative start-up and testing facilities. CIC collaborates with 100+ organizations throughout the United States, conducting some 4,000 tests daily. CIC Health is a founding partner of the Assurance Testing Alliance, a collaboration of professional organizations working to streamline and lower the costs of COVID-19 testing.

“Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is passionate about supporting the communities we serve, especially MDI which has been our home for more than 130 years. Ensuring the safety of our schools has a significant positive impact to the entire community, and proactive efforts like this testing program will help limit the spread of COVID-19 throughout MDI. We are honored to help support this partnership between MDI Hospital and AOS 91 to help keep our kids, teachers, and neighbors safe.” said Curtis Simard, President and CEO of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.

An additional grant of $40K to support the AOS 91 testing initiative has been received from the Rural Health Hospital Program for expanding testing in rural communities. Thanks to these generous donations, COVID-19 tests will be conducted from November 2020 through June 2021 at no cost to district employees, and with no impact on current school budgets. “This testing program will be used to monitor our schools for evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in concert with current mitigation strategies,” explained Marc Gousse, PhD, Superintendent of the AOS 91 Mount Desert Regional School System.

The Downeast COVID-19 Task Force was established in the early days of the pandemic to explore community-based solutions and provide a forum for discussion of ongoing challenges around COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and education. Current members include area town and chamber of commerce leaders, local legislators and leadership from MDI Hospital, Healthy Acadia, the Jackson Laboratory, Mount Desert Island Regional School System, College of the Atlantic and Acadia National Park.

About Mount Desert Island Hospital
Mount Desert Island Hospital serves the close-knit island and surrounding communities through a 25-bed critical access facility in Bar Harbor and a network of area health centers—all designed to provide comprehensive healthcare for residents and visitors.

Since it was established in 1897, the nonprofit hospital has grown into a premier rural healthcare organization with a retirement community and eight regional health centers, including a full-service behavioral health center and a dental clinic. Today, MDI Hospital employs more than 500 people and is the second-largest employer on MDI.

The mission of MDI Hospital is to provide compassionate care and strengthen the health of its community by embracing tomorrow’s methods and respecting time-honored values.

For more information and the latest updates, visit

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Welcome to new member Downeast Scenic Railroad!

 Please join us in welcoming our new Chamber member, Downeast Scenic Railroad.

"Join us on the Downeast Scenic Railroad, the first tourist-passenger rail to grace the historic Calais Branch Line in decades, for the best day trip in Ellsworth!
"A trip on the Downeast Scenic Railroad not only takes you back to a time of elegant travel in lovingly restored rail cars but also travels through a truly beautiful part of Maine.
"From canopied forest where the light sparkles through the treetops as chickadees and nuthatches bounce from limb to limb to open marshland where beavers, herons, turtles, and moose might be seen, the restored section of the Calais Branch Line gives you a view not seen since the wealthy rusticators traveled from the cities to their summer homes on the line.
"You travel over bridges, roll past schools and houses, hear the clack of the rails muffle on the thick woodland moss, and delight in the sound of the horn at the crossing. Watch as the powerful engine moves from the front to the back of the train to take you to Washington Junction rail yard, where you can see the heavy equipment that keeps the rail running and pass train components and cars currently being restored for use on the Downeast Scenic Railroad, before coming back to the Ellsworth depot.
"On the way, be sure to look for the nests of the giant osprey and the big beaver hutches in the wetlands! Enjoy exceptional views of wetland marshes, glacial erratic including massive boulders, and river and stream crossings. While traveling and working on this stretch of the line, we have also observed many forms of wildlife, including blue herons, bald eagles, moose, deer, snapping turtles, and even bears!
"The current traveling time is roughly 90 minutes and traverses a 13-mile section of the restored railroad.
"At the core of the Downeast Scenic Railroad Project is the rehabilitation of the Washington Junction/Ellsworth to Green Lake section of the Calais Branch Line to create a 24-mile round-trip excursion ride. Other project components include the construction of storage/repair facility at Washington Junction."

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Southwest Harbor Mourns the Loss of Chief Alan Brown

 Fox Bangor New's Kayla Fish reporting:

"The Hancock County law enforcement community is mourning the sudden and tragic loss of one of its own, as Southwest Harbor Police Chief Alan Brown passed away Friday morning.

"Ellsworth police say Brown was helping family working on a deck at a family camp on Green Lake in Ellsworth, when he suffered a possible heart attack.

"Family members and emergency medical personnel who responded gave Brown CPR, to no avail. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Brown was well-respected in the Hancock County law enforcement community, having served as an investigator for many years with the sheriff’s office before becoming chief of the Southwest Harbor police in 2015.

"Ellsworth Police Chief Glenn Moshier said Brown served with expertise, and his impact could be felt throughout the region. He sent his condolences to Brown’s family."

We at the Southwest Harbor Chamber of Commerce will miss Chief Brown. His good advice and assistance made our Fireworks Displays and Oktoberfest Festival events run smoothly and safely. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Healthy Acadia Announces Second Year of Mini-Grant Opportunities for Community Partners to Expand Youth Substance Use Prevention Initiatives

 Healthy Acadia is thrilled to announce the launch of a second year of mini-grant funding available to community partners working with youth. The Downeast Maine Partnerships for Success (PFS) initiative, coordinated by Healthy Acadia, is a collaborative effort to prevent youth substance use across Washington and Hancock counties, with a focus on alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use prevention. Mini-grants awarded will support community-driven, collective efforts to prevent substance use and promote the health and well-being of youth aged 9 to 20 throughout the region. 


Healthy Acadia and Downeast Maine Partnerships for Success will provide mini-grant sub-awards of $1,000 to $10,000 to community groups, such as schools, community centers, and non-profit organizations, that seek to provide new opportunities that support positive social development, resilience, peer-based mental health support, and/or structured, pro-social activities to support substance use prevention for youth. 


“I am so excited to see more projects in Hancock and Washington counties with the opportunities this funding creates to provide support and create positive social interactions and activities for youth,” said Sara McConnell, PFS Initiative Coordinator. “Last year, we funded 13 amazing projects that reached youth and communities throughout the region during a time when supports and opportunities were so needed: new after-school programs, virtual summer camps, outdoor recreation opportunities with corresponding equipment, mental health first aid training, and more.” 


Healthy Acadia will host informational sessions via Zoom to provide organizations interested in applying with opportunities to ask questions about proposed project ideas, last year's projects, the evaluation process, and more. Sessions are scheduled for October 21, 2020, at 10 a.m., October 29, 2020, at 3 p.m., and November 3, 2020, at 3 p.m. Contact McConnell at for login information. 


For more information and to view the request for proposals, visit Healthy Acadia’s website:, or contact Sara McConnell, Project Coordinator, at 207-255-3741 or Applications are due by Wednesday, November 4, 2020.  


Healthy Acadia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that engages in a broad range of initiatives to build healthier communities and make it easier for people to lead healthy lives across Washington and Hancock counties, Maine. Learn more at


This project is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under Partnerships for Success Grant # 1H79SP081695. Learn more by visiting or by calling 877-SAMHSA-7.