While we’re on the subject of islands off the Maine coast, this was a story I wrote in 1989 after seeing a small news story in the Bangor Daily News. I’m sure that Vinalhaven and the other Maine islands that are big enough to have roads and ferry services have more serious problems to worry about. But then, what DO you do with junk cars on an island?
By ARTHUR FREDERICK
VINALHAVEN, Maine (UPI) – Vinalhaven Island’s tiny network of roads has spawned a chronic and difficult waste disposal problem – hundreds of junk cars that rot in back yards and clog illegal junkyards around the island.
Last fall, town officials spread out around the island and conducted a nose count of inoperable automobiles. They found 438 of them, one for every three island residents. The year before, the town rounded up and got rid of another 200 junked autos.
On the mainland, junk cars can simply be hauled off to wrecking yards. Yard operators will often tow the old cars away for free, and may even pay a little if the junker isn’t too old.
But on the islands that dot the Gulf of Maine, getting rid of the junkers is anything but a simple matter.
“Everything is more expensive on the island because of the transportation problem,” said George Putz, a writer and researcher who works for the Island Institute, a mainland-based organization that provides services to the offshore islands.
Vinalhaven’s junk car problem is not unique among the offshore islands. But it may be somewhat more serious because Vinalhaven is big for a coastal island, having more than 1,000 year-round residents. It also has a paved main road and a total road network that covers 45 miles, and the island also is served by a ferry that can carry as many as 17 cars at a time.
When a resident’s car dies, it isn’t usually pushed to the ferry for a final ride to the mainland. More often than not, the old car is simply pushed aside, and another car is purchased to take its place.
There are more than 3,000 islands off the coast of Maine, and many great stories originate on them. The islands are rich in history and culture, and many island families can trace their roots back many generations. This story, written in 1990, was about the only schoolhouse on Isle au Haut, and the fact that enrollment had dwindled over the years to just a single student.
By ARTHUR FREDERICK
ISLE AU HAUT, Maine (UPI) — The green-and-white schoolhouse on this rugged offshore island functioned this year as it has for a century, but with one major difference: For most of the year, the morning bell summoned only a single student to class.
Every morning, Meredith Mattingly , 10, the son of a U.S. Parks Service ranger, walked down to the shore just outside the only village on the island to take his seat in the 100-year-old school’s only classroom. The fifth-grader had the undivided attention of his teacher, Tanice Jason.
“I believe in individualized instruction, and that happens naturally in a one-room schoolhouse,” she said.
The old wooden schoolhouse has the smallest enrollment of any school in the state. And although most of Isle au Haut’s 30 year-round residents scratch out meager incomes from the sea, the school easily has the highest per-pupil cost in the state at $44,000.
The school can offer instruction to children from kindergarten through the eighth grade. Normally, it serves between five and 10 students, and has served as may as 30. But the populations of both the school and the island have dwindled with the decline of fishing stocks off the Maine coast.
In spite of the decreasing numbers, however, the island residents have almost unanimously supported the local schoolhouse, knowing that closing the school would force even more families to leave Isle au Haut and move to the mainland.
At the end of winter, Meredith was joined by another student, fourth grader Jason Barter, who returned from the mainland with his father, a lobsterman.
Judith Lucarelli, the superintendent of schools in the district that includes Isle au Haut, said she favored keeping the island school operating, even though it is expensive.
Lucarelli said the quality of education at the old school is excellent — not simply because of the individualized instruction, but also because the school is equipped with everything from a MacIntosh computer to a well-stocked library.
Jason said this year will be her last at the Isle au Haut school, even though she enjoys the time she has spent with her handful of students.
Lucarelli said she has already decided on Jason’s replacement, who will also help ease Isle au Haut’s enrollment problems; the new teacher has two children of her own, and they will attend the school next year.
(NOTE: I checked, and the Isle au Haut school is still operating. This year (2015), it has four students, two in the fifth grade and two more in the sixth.)
A press release written and distributed for St. Petersburg College in 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
St. Petersburg College
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 13, 2010) — William D. Law Jr., president of Tallahassee Community College for the past eight years, was selected today as the new president of St. Petersburg College. He replaces Carl M. Kuttler Jr., SPC’s longtime president who retired at the end of 2009.
The vote by the college’s five-member Board of Trustees was unanimous. Law was selected from a slate of four finalists, a list that had been culled from an initial field of 25 candidates.
“This was a difficult decision, as all four finalists brought interesting credentials and visions to the process, and any one of the four could have led SPC with distinction,” said Terrence E. Brett, the board’s chairman. “William Law possesses the unique set of leadership qualifications and values that we were looking for.”
Law noted in his application that he has led three different community colleges. Before assuming the presidency at Tallahassee, he was president of Montgomery College in Texas, an institution he helped found. Before that, he was president of Lincoln Land Community College in Illinois.
In the 1980s, he was vice president of institutional and program planning at what was then St. Petersburg Junior College.
“I have been the president of three different community colleges, each one increasingly more complex and sophisticated,” Law said in his application for the SPC presidency. “The opportunity to advance to the ‘top rung’ on the professional ladder at an institution as complex and multi-dimensional as SPC is exciting and enticing.”
Kuttler announced in mid-2009 that he planned to retire, but he initially declined to set a date for his departure, and indicated that he might remain as president for up to two years to give the college plenty of time to find his replacement.
As the year neared its end, however, Kuttler said he had decided to leave much earlier than that, finally announcing that his last day on the job would be Dec. 31.
The Board of Trustees quickly began a search process. It named a 13-member search committee, made up of community leaders as well as members of the college community, to help with the selection process.