In a year when job growth was more the exception than the rule, Waldo County welcomed International WoodFuels to Burnham. The news came at a July 21 press conference, where Gov. John E. Baldacci announced that the Portland-based company would co-locate a $20 million manufacturing facility at the existing Pride Sports manufacturing space. The move was expected to create at least 35 new jobs. Pride is the world’s largest manufacturer of wooden golf tees, while WoodFuels manufactures renewable-energy wood pellets.

Also this month, the Maine Department of Transportation took another step toward the possibility of developing a port on a 300-plus-acre portion of Sears Island. Maine Port Authority Executive Director John Henshaw reported that Moffatt & Nichol, a company based in Long Beach, Calif., was selected over four other contenders for the right to market the parcel for potential port development. The state issued a nationwide request for proposals from consulting firms in mid-March. The idea of obtaining a marketing expert was initially discussed at a meeting of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee in early March, when Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Cole told the committee about the state’s intention to advertise for the service. Henshaw also noted that Moffatt & Nichol would be paid up to $100,000 for its services, an amount that was earmarked in the Maine Port Authority budget.

The month of July also brought its share of lighter headlines, such as those regarding the third annual Maine Celtic Celebration in Belfast. Throughout the weekend-long event, participants chased cheese, tossed cod and strutted their finest kilts, complete with sgian dubhs (tiny knives) tucked in hose and sporrans hanging from waists. The fun and competitions included a 5K road race and then a parade, followed by a full schedule of classic Celtic feats and games of skill. The festivities also included plenty of music, as well as a Celtic breeds dog show and Celtic-inspired workshops and dancing.

Over the same weekend, the town of Stockton Springs celebrated the 250th anniversary of Fort Pownal at Fort Point State Park on Cape Jellison. Members of the Samuel Goodwin Company of re-enactors were on hand for the weekend dressed in their 18th-century military garb, and the festivities also drew local politicians, both past and present, including a gentleman portraying Maine’s former U.S. senator, Hannibal Hamlin, and current State Rep. Veronica Magnan, D-Stockton Springs. Other events throughout the weekend included auctions, lighthouse tours, a lobster dinner and a road race.

Waldo County was the place to be for history buffs and fans of canoeing for the third week in July. That’s when traditional birch bark canoe builder Steve Cayard and a group representing the Penobscot, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy tribes came to the grounds of the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport from all over Maine and parts of Canada to participate in the making of a 16-foot canoe. Cayard, who lives in Wellington, builds birch bark canoes using the traditional materials, methods and tools of the Native American tribes who constructed these types of watercraft centuries ago. The group remained at work at PMM for a week, a sight that attracted interest from visitors and locals alike. Upon completion, the canoe was destined to be auctioned off to benefit the museum.

Waldo County General Hospital also made headlines this month with its addition of a helipad that was constructed for use by LifeFlight of Maine. July 10 WCGH welcomed the first helicopter to the site with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. WCGH’s helipad was constructed in cooperation with LifeFlight of Maine and was funded by a state bond. Prior to construction of the helipad, patients needing higher levels of care than WCGH can provide required a 12-minute ambulance ride to Belfast Airport to be picked up by the helicopter.

Now, according to the LifeFlight Foundation, with direct takeoff from the hospital grounds, that 12 minutes can see the patient at a receiving helipad in Bangor, or well on the way to helipads in Lewiston or Portland. While the service offers faster transport, LifeFlight of Maine helicopters are set up to function as small intensive-care units and its crews are specially trained to handle a variety of patient needs en route.