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Special Notice and Editorial

Originally published in Castine Patriot, January 16, 2014
Notice of Castine Patriot office closing and editorial explaining the closure

Click here to see the full Castine, Community and the Comprehensive Plan Archive.

Effective Wed., Jan. 29, 2014, the Penobscot Bay Press office in Castine will be closed.

All services, including business and communications for the Castine Patriot, will be handled from the Penobscot Bay Press office on Main Street in Blue Hill.

The current Castine phone number, 326-9300, the Castine post office box and all email addresses will remain the same. The new fax number will be 374-2343.

Thank you for your understanding for these necessary changes.

Below is an editorial by Editor/Publisher Nat Barrows that was printed in the Jan. 16 Castine Patriot.

Current imbroglios and future prospects for Castine

The words we use describe our reality. As we change and create them we change our reality.

An imbroglio is a confused mass, a complicated situation, a serious misunderstanding. A prospect is a mental vision of something to come.

So how can the community of Castine extricate itself from its imbroglio, then create an imbroglio-free vision for the future?

To answer that question, we must first look at the current imbroglio. It is a complicated situation that has been evolving for many decades. First, there is the change and control problem. Many individuals and some institutions feel that it is their role, by any and all means, to stop change while controlling everything according to their exclusive view. This belief and practice has generated a continuing cycle of bitter battles and community conflict. The issues range through changes in policies and practices at the Adams School, control of Maine Maritime Academy enrollment numbers and use of land and facilities, defining and implementing historic preservation standards, water run-off, land use zoning concepts and regulation to noise generated by businesses, MMA facilities and yes, students in the regiment chanting when they march through town. This continuing conflict has produced a series of unsatisfactory pyrrhic victories. It has been observed that in many towns nothing gets done without a fight, while in Castine nothing gets done but a fight.

The community is out of balance without common elements for consensus creation. There is the large number of transitory students. There is a significant number of often very wealthy summer residents with specific needs and agendas. The fully settled neck and pricing of property has made it almost impossible for people drawing their income from the local economy to actually live in town. The business community has shrunk below the level of a critical mass leaving many of the survivors discouraged, marginal, and just hanging on. After maintaining an office in Castine for 24 years, this shrinkage has reduced the customer traffic and business activity to the point that it is no longer economically feasible for Penobscot Bay Press to maintain an office in town. So, at the end of the month, after careful thought over years and with reluctance, we are closing the Castine office and operating the Castine Patriot out of our Blue Hill office. Our phone number and emails will not change.

This is a sobering picture. As we look ahead at the prospects, let us keep in mind the words of Einstein, “You can never solve the problem on the level of the problem.”

What does this mean for Castine? What this means is that all the stakeholders in town need to embrace the following truism: In the end what matters most is how well did you live, how well did you love and how well did you learn to let go.

Simply put, the core level of the problem is lack of consensus about what defines the community of Castine, what it can and should be and how to get there. The imbroglio has come from a lack of understanding that this core level has never been fully addressed and resolved.

To get to this core level, all the stakeholders—individuals, groups and institutions—have to let go of all their imbroglio entanglements. Letting go is difficult. It will require a new paradigm for discourse, giving up grudges and being open for change. All elements of the community must come together for mutual support, practice and reinforcement during the letting go process. When this all happens, there can be a common community spiritual center to serve as a base for future prospect creation.

Is this possible? Sure it is. But it is not about being easy; it is about making it happen. We are all in this together. There is a tremendous reservoir of caring people, positive passion, and yes, compassion, in the community. There are resources and leadership in nonprofit institutions and churches. As your community information services provider, this company, although we will not have an office in town, is committed to providing communication products and services that can function as facilitating information conduits as we continue to cover news and events in the community. We see the need for taxpayer and community resources to be focused on mediators and facilitators to guide forums and discussions during the process of finding the spiritual center. There is a need for a process of creating optimism that should include: noticing and letting go of negative self talk; capitalizing on the power of positive thinking and approaches; maintaining a realistic view that the process will be imperfect as hard decisions are made. There are opportunities for leadership to build on the challenges and augment the strengths of the community.

The prospects for Castine are waiting. Let us find the common visions to make them happen. Remember, to know and not to do is not to know.