Monday, December 20, 2021

Healthy Acadia Offering COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test Kits, Gas Cards


 Healthy Acadia has a limited number of COVID-19 rapid antigen self test kits available at no cost to area residents in Hancock and Washington counties while supplies last. Rapid antigen tests are one of a handful of affordable options promoted by the CDC and other trusted health resources as a tool to help reduce the spread of COVID. The tests can be self-administered at home and provide results within 15 minutes. Self test kits are available from Healthy Acadia while supplies last through an initiative funded by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Program.

Thanks to support from the Maine Public Health Association, Healthy Acadia also has a limited number of gasoline gift cards available to help individuals access COVID-19 vaccination and testing. The gas cards may be used to support travel to vaccine appointments, testing sites, and/or for friends or caregivers to support those in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.

Maine has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 positive cases in recent weeks, and many local and regional hospitals and healthcare facilities are overwhelmed and operating at near or at patient capacity due to the number of individuals seeking urgent and critical care. As we enter the winter holiday season and the new year, safety is of the utmost importance as many consider traveling, family gatherings, and visiting public indoor spaces to shop and celebrate. 

Healthy Acadia, together with the Downeast COVID-19 Task Force, offers key ways you can help reduce the spread of COVID, to keep yourselves, your loved ones, and our communities safe. 

  1. Be up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines. Make sure you’ve had your first full round (two shots for mRNA vaccines - Moderna or Pfizer -  and a single shot for Johnson & Johnson). If you get your first shot today, you’ll have some protection within ten days. Get boosted when it is time (six months after your second Moderna or Pfizer shot, or two months after your Johnson & Johnson shot). While the COVID vaccines work well, boosters create an increased immune response that can provide stronger protection against severe illness and the more infectious Delta and Omicron variants. Protection from being boosted starts within six days. Boosters are now recommended for all people, aged 16 years and over.

  2. Mask in indoor public spaces to protect yourself and those around you. Make sure that your mask has a good fit around the nose, chin, and cheeks. Medical-grade masks provide additional protection for yourself and those around you.

  3. Check in with the places you shop. If masks are not required, request curbside pickup or ask if they would have certain times of the day when masks are required. 

  4. Choose thoughtfully when you gather. Being in crowded places increases your risk of catching COVID-19 and giving it to others.

  5. Take a COVID test if you are gathering outside your household. This gives you valuable information to reduce the spread of COVID. 

  6. If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering. Please stay home, get well, and keep others healthy.

  7. Wash your hands often. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  8. Find a vaccination or testing site and access additional information resources at www.cdc.gov.  

To request COVID-19 self test kit and/or gasoline gift card, visit Healthy Acadia’s website - www.healthyacadia.org - and click the “Need Help?” button, or call their COVID-19 Vaccine Peer Support Line, (207) 271-6023, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

The Support Line, launched earlier this month by Healthy Acadia with funds from the DHHS grant, is staffed entirely by local youth and young adults participating Healthy Acadia’s Youth Vaccine Equity Team and aims to support efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among Mainers aged 12-29 years through “peer-to-peer” conversation in a confidential and judgment-free space. Parents and young adults are encouraged to ask any questions they have regarding vaccination.

For more information about COVID-19 resources, please contact Sonya Connelly at sonya.connelly@healthyacadia.org

Healthy Acadia is a 501(C)(3) community health organization building vibrant communities and making it easier for all people to lead healthy lives throughout Washington and Hancock counties. This year, Healthy Acadia invites you to join them in celebrating 20 years of empowering people and organizations to build healthy communities together. For more information about Healthy Acadia’s community health initiatives, visit healthyacadia.org.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Master craftsman and storyteller Ralph Stanley dies at 92


 Ralph Warren Stanley, 92, died unexpectedly December 7, 2021, at Mount Desert Island Hospital. He was born February 9, 1929, in Bar Harbor, the son of Chester W. and Bertha E. (Robinson) Stanley.


Ralph graduated from Pemetic High School, class of 1948. After graduation, he attended Ricker Jr. College where he obtained an associate degree in business. After college, he worked as Ships hand for Captain Neil Peterson on the Niliraga owned by Gano Sillick Dunn and after Mr. Dunn's Death, he became Captain of the Niliraga for Mrs. Florence Montgomery. In the winters, he was often found building fishing boats for area fishermen. Some of these are still in use. He built his first Friendship Sloop, the Hieronymus for Albert Nielsen in 1961-62. He started his own boat building business, Ralph W Stanley, Inc., in 1973, on the Clark Point Rd. in Southwest Harbor. Over the years, he has over 70 vessels to his credit, some complete builds and some rebuilds.
On September 22, 1956, he married Marion L. Linscott, they took their honeymoon on the Niliraga and settled in Southwest Harbor. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this year.
After his retirement he kept busy researching and tracing genealogy, not just his own but for others as well. He spoke at many historical societies, public libraries, as well as at many Marine Museums, as far as Mystic Seaport Museum, in CT. One of his favorite pass times in his middle years was playing in a country band, the Country Strummers, he founded with Fred Black, Floyd Farley and later Ruth Grierson and several others over the years, joined the group. He attended and played his fiddle at the Maine Bluegrass, of which he was a member, and country music 'Jams' in Brewer. He played at many fundraiser functions in the Hancock County area. He crafted fiddles and half models for others and for himself. He repaired stringed instruments for people as well as for Pemetic Elementary School. He found time to write his own books, one being his biography, co-authored with Craig Milner, "Ralph Stanley: Tales of a Maine Boatbuilder" and his latest, "The Stanleys of Cranberry Isles...and other Colorful Characters," and working on another at the time of his passing. He was an active member of the MDI Historical Society and other Island historical societies, The Maine Maritime Museum, The Mystic Seaport Museum, and Penobscot Marine Museum, where he served on the board of directors until his passing. He was an active member of the Friendship Sloop Society for over 55 years, attending many of the yearly sloop races here in Southwest Harbor, Friendship and Rockland, ME. He was on the Board of Trustees for the Southwest Harbor Library where he was honored with Trustee Emeritus.
Ralph spent many an hour sailing the waters off the coast of Maine. When the children were little, taking a family 'cruise' on the Hieronymus Labor Day weekends, to end the summer. Later he would take people for boat rides in the 'Seven Girls', a fishing boat he had built for his father, to the Cranberry Isles or Bakers Island or just up the Sound.
He had a strong attachment to family, past and present, he always wanted to know what was going on in the family, whether it was immediate family members or distant relatives, always asking what he could do to help. At family gatherings, he was often telling stories about local history, some kind of colorful.
Over the years, Ralph has been recognized for his continued Lifelong works. In 1990, he was presented the Friendship Sloop Society Bancroft Award for his continued service to the society and its traditions. In 1999, He was named a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, receiving a National Heritage Fellowship, Master of Artist, for his contribution to the shaping of our artistic traditions and to preserving the cultural diversity of The United States. In 2002, Governor King made a State of Maine proclamation, "bestowing upon this honorable son of Maine, the honorary title of Shipwright Laureate of Maine, a National Treasure." Governor Baldacci proclaimed June 25, 2004, as Ralph Stanley Day, for his "lifelong work upholding finest traditions of boatbuilding, Maine coastal culture and economy, a National Heritage Fellowship." 2011, he received the Sunbeam Award from the Seacoast Mission for his many contributions to the well-being of area communities. He received Don Turner Award from the USS Constitution Museum, in 2013, "recognizing a person or team of people, professional or amateur, who have contributed significantly to efforts to preserve important vessels or who have made a significant contribution to our knowledge and understanding of ship design and construction." The Southwest Harbor Library presented him, in 2013, the first Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees. In 2014, he was awarded a ships clock from the Penobscot Marine Museum in recognition of his dedicated service and exemplary leadership. He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Husson - The Boat School in Eastport, Maine. These are just a few of many.
Ralph is survived by his loving wife, Marion (Linscott) Stanley; daughters, Nadine Goodwin and husband, Tim of Tremont, Marjorie Rankin and husband, Robert, of Southwest Harbor; sons, Richard Stanley and wife, Lorraine, of Ellsworth, and Edward Stanley and wife, Connie, of Southwest Harbor. He is also survived by 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. He is survived by 3 sisters, Nancy Stone of New Hartford, New York, Myrna Ritterskamp of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Mary Abbott and husband, Roy, of Ellsworth, Maine; and many nieces and nephews; and Betsy Holtzman, who is considered a part of the family. He was predeceased by both parents; sisters, Ruth Holmes, Irene Murphy, Esther Willis and Phoebe Collins; and his first born grandson, Cory C. Long; and his lifelong friend, Albie Nielson.
A service of remembrance will be held at 1 p.m. January 6, 2022, at United Church of Christ (Congregational Church), on the High Road, Southwest Harbor. Reception will follow the service in the church basement. Interment will be in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ralph's honor to Southwest Harbor Public Library, Friendship Sloop Society, or Penobscot Marine Museum. Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald 1139 Main St. Mt. Desert. Condolences may be expressed at jordanfernald.com.

Article courtesy of Bangor Daily News, December 15, 2021

Monday, December 6, 2021

Southwest Harbor Public Library Presents: Christmas Carol Radio Play and Kids Holiday Activities


 The Southwest Harbor Public Library is pleased to celebrate the holiday season in December with several memory making family activities including an old-fashioned radio play, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, presented by Ms. Snow Ross’ 3rd grade class at Trenton Elementary School and theatre artist Brittany Parker. Kids, teens and families can join in the holiday spirit by participating in the library’s Gingerbread House Contest & Display and registering for a Take & Make Ornament Craft Kit with the option to display the finished ornaments on our Christmas tree. We hope you’ll share your winter-time creativity with us as we usher in the crafting and cozy home-bound time of year.

Take & Make Ornament Craft Kit & Christmas Tree Display
Starting December 8, 2021, Kits available.
All ages welcome, focus Pre-K to 8th grade. Register today for a Southwest Harbor Public Library Take & Make Ornament Kit. Kits will include craft items needed to make your very own ornament. Bonus: kids are encouraged to bring their ornament back to the library to hang on our library Christmas tree for the community to see during the holiday season. To register for a kit, visit www.swhplibrary.org.

Gingerbread House Contest & Display
Entry Week: December 13th - 18th, 2021
Categories: Kids, Teens & Families

Kids, teens, and families join in the holiday spirit by participating in Southwest Harbor Public Library’s Gingerbread House Contest & Display! Entries accepted December 13th - December 18th during operating hours. Prizes for first through third place in each category. Houses will be displayed through December. For entry form and rules, visit www.swhplibrary.org/.


Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Radio Play Performance on WERU
Broadcast December 25, at 11am on 89.9 FM WERU

SWHPL YouTube Premier December 25 at 12p.m.

Ms. Snow Ross' 3rd grade class at Trenton Elementary School will present a radio play version of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol." Sponsored by the Southwest Harbor Public Library, the radio play will broadcast on 89.9 FM WERU at 11am on Christmas Day. The students will provide all narration and characters for the play, which is a shortened version adapted for schools by Al LePage.The program will be recorded and edited by theatre artist Brittany Parker. Tune in on Christmas Day to hear this great performance. The broadcast will also premier at 12:00 noon on Dec. 25 on the Southwest Harbor Public Library's YouTube channel.


For more details or questions, visit www.swhplibrary.org, call 244-7065 or email children@swhplibrary.org.


COVID-19 Public Service Announcement



With hospitalizations on the rise, vaccines, boosters, public masking and proper ventilation essential this holiday season

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maine hit a record high of 330 this week as cases continue to rise following the Thanksgiving holiday. At Mount Desert Island Hospital, 57 positive COVID-19 cases were recorded in the month of November—the highest to date—while hospitalizations rose from an average of one per week to five by the end of the month.

“Overload of the hospital system statewide is impacting the availability of surgery, inpatient care and emergency transportation,” said Dr. J.R. Krevans, Jr., Chair of Infection Control at MDI Hospital. “We urge everyone in our community to get vaccinated and boosted if you have not yet done so.”

Since Thanksgiving, the Maine Center for Disease Control has reported more than 1,000 positive cases and 21 deaths. With emerging concern about the new omicron variant, the state is working with the Jackson Laboratory to monitor for the variant, said Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah. Overall, about 65 percent of people hospitalized for COVID-19 are not vaccinated said Shah, and those who have not received the vaccine make-up about 90 percent of ICU patients.

“Vaccines make a big difference. They are safe, effective and keep most people from getting very ill and dying,” said Dr. Julian Kuffler, MPH, Director of Medical Education at MDI Hospital. “The vast majority of individuals who are on ventilators and dying did not get vaccinated.”

As we all continue to work together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we urge our community and area businesses to join us in reinforcing the core protection measures of vaccination, masking, ventilation and distancing. Together, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 over the holidays.

Masks, proper ventilation and distancing enhance the protection of vaccines and boosters. Although mask mandates have been lifted, the U.S. and Maine CDC continue to recommend masking in all public spaces. “Masks work. They prevent you from infecting others and others from harming you,” said Dr. Krevans. “Do not enter a business where most people are unmasked. All public facing employees should be masked, and customers should be requested or required to mask by clear signage.”

To help ensure families can gather safely, Drs. Krevans and Kuffler recommend using home rapid tests for all guests if anyone present will be unvaccinated. In the workplace, he recommends that holiday parties be held outdoors or not at all.

Vaccines and boosters continue to be the best way to protect yourself and others. COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots are available free of charge at most local pharmacies and healthcare facilities. Children age 5+ are eligible to receive the vaccine and adults age 18+ are eligible to receive the booster. To learn more about vaccination at MDI Hospital, visit mdihospital.org or talk to your health care provider.

 

Oka Hutchins | Communications Director

MDI Hospital Office of Advancement

8 Wayman Lane | Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Cell: 207.460.3610

oka.hutchins@mdihospital.org | mdihospital.org

 

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Camp CaPella Charity Online Auction is Almost Here!


November 29th thru December 10th, 2021 hosted by Bidding for Good!

The Camp CaPella Charity Online Auction is becoming a Holiday favorite for the non-profit summer camp serving individuals with disabilities. Many campers who attend come to Camp on scholarship. Camp CaPella never turns away a camper based on ability to pay, which means every dollar raised from the Auction helps to send someone with disabilities to summer camp. And everyone deserves an opportunity to experience summer camp in Maine!

This is the Second year we have put together the Holiday Online Auction. Traditionally we have a silent auction at our Volunteer Banquet, due to Covid restrictions we have put together an online event to help our Campers.

All our local businesses, donors, and communities have come together to provide items and gift certificates to auction off.

It is a great way to get ready for the Holiday’s and provide tuition for a Camper! Help us make 2022 the best year ever!

Visit the News & Events tab of www.campcapella.org to get the link to the auction.

Camp CaPella Facebook will also have the link provided.

Host Site: Bidding for Good: https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/auctionhome.action?auctionId=341698827

Event Contacts: Melanie Dresser  207-974-6722  melanie@campcapella.org

 Rebecca Winkler Barrera  207-843-5104  rebecca@campcapella.org


Thursday, October 28, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic Saturday, November 6


 COVID-19 Vaccine Update

All three available vaccines now authorized for booster doses, Pfizer vaccine for children 5-11 possible mid-November.


COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic Saturday, November 6


Mount Desert Island Hospital will be offering a vaccine booster clinic in the lobby of the Bar Harbor Regency on Saturday, November 6 from 9 am – 12 pm. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses will be available. Visit mdihospital.org/covid-19-vaccine to view and book open appointments.


If you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you must be 6 months or more past your initial series to be eligible for a booster. Boosters are now recommended for everyone 18 and older at least 2 months after receiving their Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have been authorized for use and will soon be available for eligible individuals. Pfizer vaccine booster doses have been authorized since September and more than 70,000 have already been administered in Maine.


Third doses are also available for select individuals with certain immunocompromising conditions, as recommended by the CDC. While booster shots are intended for those whose immune response may have lessened over time, a third dose might be offered to those who may not have had a strong enough immune response from the first two doses due to certain conditions. Consult your health care provider to learn which might be right for you.

Eligible individuals will be able to choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. The new CDC recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.


With more than 65 million Americans currently unvaccinated, first doses remain a critical priority. Available data shows that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging.


MDI Hospital continues to administer boosters of Pfizer for eligible individuals in our health center locations as well as an additional third dose to select individuals with certain immunocompromising conditions as recommended by the CDC. Call-in appointment scheduling for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses is expected to begin later this week.


Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5-11
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will review Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 5-to 11-year-old children Tuesday, October 26, with advisors from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) expected to weigh in on November 2 and 3. If authorized, the vaccine could be available for this age group as soon as mid-November. It is expected that the vaccine dosage for this age group will be smaller.


COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 years old are subject to the same multi-step testing, authorization, and approval process as all other COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 vaccines ─ including those routinely recommended for childhood vaccination.


COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated 10/26/21

Q: Am I eligible for a booster?
A: According to the latest CDC guidelines, people who received their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago should get a booster if they fall into one of these categories:

  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings


For those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, a booster shot is recommended for everyone 18 and older at least 2 months after receiving their original dose.


Q: What is the difference between a booster and a third dose?
Booster shots are given when an original vaccine’s effectiveness may start to weaken, while a third or additional dose might be offered to those who are not expected to have had a strong enough immune response to their initial vaccination due to certain conditions. Consult your health care provider to learn which might be right for you.


Q: Do I need to get the same booster as my original COVID-19 vaccine?
A: The CDC’s recommendations now allow for mix and match dosing for booster shots. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. The biggest benefit to mixing and matching is that it gives people options to get their booster as soon as possible.


Q: What are the expected side effects?
A: Side effects are expected to be similar to initial vaccination and can include pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and fever.


Q: Where will boosters be available?
A: For those eligible, booster shots will be available at both provider’s offices and pharmacies. If you are unable to get the booster at your original vaccine location, vaccines.gov can provide information about vaccination services in your area. You can also text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you in the U.S.

The Maine CDC currently lists vaccination sites offering additional doses of Pfizer vaccine at: www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines/vaccination-sites. This list will be updated soon to include Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.


Q: Do boosters mean the vaccines aren’t working?
A: No, the availability of boosters does not mean the original vaccines aren’t working. The effectiveness of most vaccines lessen over time and boosters are often used in routine vaccination to maintain peak immunity.

All the data suggests that the vaccines have dramatically reduced the risk of contracting the virus, of spreading the virus, and most importantly, of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.


Q: Will booster shots be the same formulation as existing vaccines?
A: Yes, COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation as the current COVID-19 vaccines. However, in the case of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, it is half the dose of the vaccine people get for their initial series.


Q: Do I need to bring my vaccination card to get the booster?
A: It is helpful to bring proof of your original vaccination with you when you get a booster so your provider can update your vaccination card.


Q: Do I have to get a booster to be considered fully vaccinated?
A: No. At this time, people are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Mount Desert Island Hospital Organization Increases Minimum Wage


 Mount Desert Island Hospital today announced it will increase its minimum wage to $15 per hour effective immediately. In addition to the minimum wage increase, the majority of hourly (non-exempt) employees at MDI Hospital and Birch Bay Retirement will receive an increase to their current compensation.

“We are very fortunate to have an incredible team that puts our patients first each and every day,” said Chrissi Maguire, MDI Hospital President/CEO. “Our dedicated employees are our greatest asset, and this wage increase acknowledges their vital contributions and outstanding commitment to the health and safety of our community.”


More than 300 employees will benefit from the wage increase—nearly 60 percent of all staff. This group includes certified medical and nursing assistants, environmental and nutrition services employees, reception and registration staff and many other frontline employees. The wage increase represents an investment of more than $1 million in employee compensation annually.


With 65 open positions currently available between MDI Hospital and Birch Bay Retirement Village, MDI Hospital’s increase in its wage scales will also help boost employee retention and recruitment said Sara O’Connell, Director of Human Resources at MDI Hospital.


As part of the MDI Hospital team, employees have access to a comprehensive benefits package including health and dental benefits, continuing education opportunities and tuition reimbursement, a robust employee wellness program and an employer retirement contribution match of up to 4 percent of annual earnings.


MDI Hospital has maintained a solid financial foundation throughout the pandemic, allowing for resiliency bonuses to be paid to all staff in December of 2020. The hospital has also offered employees flexible scheduling options, childcare services, mindful change management workshops and additional resiliency resources.


“Throughout the pandemic, we have been striving to support our invaluable employees and help them remain resilient in the most challenging of circumstances,” said Maguire. “This increase to our wage scale reaffirms this commitment.”


About Mount Desert Island Hospital
Mount Desert Island Hospital serves a 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 six primary care health centers, as well as a full-service behavioral health center and a dental clinic. The hospital’s Emergency Department, a critical link in Downeast Maine's trauma delivery system, serves the Mount Desert Island community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. MDI Hospital received a five-star rating, the highest awarded, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2020. In addition, the organization’s inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and surgical care services have been consistently recognized by Avatar International, the Leapfrog Group, the National Rural Health Association, Harvard Pilgrim and Healthgrades.