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Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 21, 2012
Castine Selectmen Meeting: Detection device drives neighbor batty

Dyce Head

According to Castine resident Liz Parish, the bat detector for a Coast Guard study ruins the view of Dyce Head lighthouse for visitors taking pictures from the path and from the road.

Photo by Sharon Bray Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Sharon Bray

At their Monday, June 18, meeting after Selectmen approved a new three-year lease for the lighthouse residence, a neighbor raised a question about “the lighthouse itself.”

Liz Parish asked about the recent appearance of a piece of equipment on the Dyce Head light’s tower.

Town Manager Dale Abernethy said the Coast Guard (USCG) had asked permission to mount the rig as part of its study of bats.

The attachment “is taking away from the structure…if someone takes a picture, they get the bat radar structure,” Parish said.

“I’ve looked at it. It doesn’t bother me,” the town manager commented.

Selectman Peter Vogell said a local television station already spent time at the lighthouse interviewing him with the bat detector in view.

Abernethy said he could talk to the USCG about the possibility of moving the equipment to the other side of the tower.

After the meeting while selectmen were still in their seats, Parish told them Abernethy had assured her that next time he had to make a similar decision for the town, he would talk to her first.

Dealing with items on the agenda, selectmen approved an abatement of approximately $200 plus interest for personal property taxes for the former owners of The Reef, where Danny Murphy’s Pub now operates.

“It’s better just getting them off the books,” said Finance Officer Karen Motycka.

With Selectman David Unger running late, Vogell and Chair of Selectmen Gus Basile gave Danny Murphy’s permission to set up a grill on town property through July.

Owner Bernie Higgins said he wants to sell hamburgers and hot dogs during Waterfront Wednesdays.

“My personal take is that this is an additional wonderful thing” to attract people to the town’s business district, said Chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee (CPIC) Sue Macdonald.

Basile noted that Higgins would be in competition with The Breeze selling food.

The Danny Murphy enterprise “doesn’t prevent the Breeze from selling pizza,” noted Pat Bishop, who chairs the CPIC’s economic development subcommittee.

“Will Bernie have to come back for August?” asked Motycka.

“Yes,” answered Basile.

In other business related to the CPIC, Macdonald read a letter, which selectmen said they had not received, asking them to spend money already approved at town meeting to continue the services of economic development consultant Sue Walsh.

Macdonald asked selectmen to read the plan written by Walsh as evidence of her competence to continue when her initial three-month contract expires at the end of June.

Selectmen agreed to hold an executive session Tuesday, June 26, at 8:30 a.m. to discuss Macdonald’s proposal. They said they could come out of the session and vote on whether to continue Walsh’s contract.

Selectmen approved Abernethy’s proposal to donate “obsolete Fire Dept. radio equipment to Hancock County Emergency Management Agency,” which can put it to use.

They also reappointed the current slate of municipal office employees including Motycka, town clerk Sue Macomber, Abernethy, and CEO Drew Marks.

Rent for the lighthouse keeper’s house will go up $10 a month with the new lease.

Vogell recruited several volunteers from the audience for Sunday’s open lighthouse day.

The town-gown meeting for June was cancelled because Maine Maritime Academy President Bill Brennan is out of town with the training cruise.

Selectmen’s meetings were set for Monday, July 2, and Monday, July 16.