PENOBSCOT, Maine — Better local communication is one of the goals of a fledgling organization in town, and the folks at Penobscot Community Connections have taken a step in that direction.
The group recently published a “buy local” business and service directory for businesses in town and this week plans to install an information kiosk at the Bayview Market and Takeout. The unveiling of the kiosk, which was built by local timber framer Rob Hutchinson, is planned for 4 p.m. Thursday.
Although the “buy local” slogan is generally used with locally grown foods, the group saw the business directory as a way to make Penobscot residents more aware of the businesses and services available in their own backyard and to encourage them to use those businesses when they can.
“There are a lot of businesses here in town that people aren’t aware of,” said Anne Parker, one of the group members.
The cover of the directory was chosen from nine drawings submitted by pupils at Penobscot Community School. The winning cover design was created by eighth-grader Mary Prescott.
The directory is a free service to the businesses, and it is not a complete listing, Parker said. It will be updated in February and distributed with the town report. Those who want a copy can find them at Northern Bay Market, the school and at Bayview Market and Takeout. The group is asking for a $1 donation for the directory.
The business directory and kiosk are the first projects to be completed by the group, which was formed earlier this year. It grew out of involvement with the community garden at the school.
Jo Barrett of King Hill Farm had been working with the pupils on the garden, according to Eleni Koenka. Other community members pitched in to help maintain the garden and, working with the Healthy Peninsula group, the organization grew out of that.
The pupils are taking care of the garden during the school year, and already have harvested lettuce for use in the cafeteria. The PCC group is looking for community volunteers to help maintain the garden during the summer.
The goal of the organization, as outlined in its mission statement, is to maximize the quality of life for the people of Penobscot through projects and activities designed to promote the well-being and enhance the strength of community in the town. A lot of those efforts focus on communication and connecting town residents with one another.
“This is a big town geographically,” said Barbara Joy Hare. “We’re so spread out, and there are so many people I don’t know. I think this is a real opportunity to get to know people.”
The initial efforts of PCC have generated a positive reaction in town among many residents, according to Lin Parker. Support has been “multigenerational” and interest has come from newly minted residents as well as longtime residents and natives.
“It’s nice to see some of the oldest of old-timers interested in coming out to meetings,” he said. “It’s not just a couple of new folks trying to stir things up.”
In addition to the directory and information kiosk, the group also is working on developing a town Web site and neighborhood watch program. A group has begun meeting with Deputy Scott Kane of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, but Lin Parker said that would take some time to develop.
The Web site, however, may be online sooner, which would help with communications, according to Michelle Ferguson, who said there is a need to find ways to get information out to the community and to make it easier for people to find out what’s going on in town.
“I think the Web site will be really beneficial, “ she said.
Other activities may include a farmers market, creating a trail map, a talent show and other town activities. A telephone tree that will provide a link to neighbors in the different regions in town also is planned.
“This is a way to bring people together in small neighborhoods so they can get to know each other and look out for each other,” Lin Parker said.
For information about Penobscot Community Connections, contact Lin Parker at 326-8501 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the business directory, to submit information or make corrections contact Michelle Ferguson, 326-4864 or at email@example.com.