As the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, sickened more and more people across the nation, the Maine Center for Disease Control retracted its initial direction to Maine health-care providers to begin administering seasonal flu shots, because of the anticipated delay in the delivery of the vaccine. The agency had also directed schools to schedule seasonal flu clinics in late September and early October, but those clinics were put off — in some cases for several weeks— pending the arrival of the vaccine. The delay on delivery of the state’s supply of seasonal flu shots was due to the nationwide push to make the vaccine for H1N1. Seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccination clinics were taking place in locations around the county through the end of the year.

On Sept. 20, approximately 300 people filled the Bert G. and Coral B. Clifford Performing Arts Center at the new Mount View School complex as the nonprofit organization Future MSAD 3 celebrated the dedication of the facility. As with the larger Mount View School project, the performing arts center owes its existence to the hard work of a great many individuals; the performing arts center donor list bears the names of 415 contributors. The Unity Foundation, a nonprofit grant-making organization established in 2000 by the Cliffords, offered a major gift for the fundraising effort in the form of a $250,000 matching challenge grant. While Future MSAD 3 had five years to match the grant, the money was raised in 497 days.

Belfast residents got a first look at a plan for a proposed events center. A crowd of 45 people gathered at the old Mathews Bros. showroom Sept. 22 to hear Performance/Community Center Committee Chairman John Bielenberg discuss a plan to transform the 29,000-square-foot building into a combination theater and event complex, tentatively named the Belfast Events Center. The most recent planning stages for a multi-use center had been in the works for about a year, but Mike Hurley, who has been involved with efforts to bring a performance venue to Belfast for years, traced the project’s lineage back through numerous committees back to about 1982. With September’s presentation, the performance center appeared to have hit its stride as an idea, but as a reality the venue is still in its infancy, a fact acknowledged by the presenters.

Though the building still stood at the close of the year, the city ordered the owners of the former Stinson Cannery to demolish one of the buildings by Dec. 15. The skeletal structure at the north end of the property, commonly referred to as “Building 1,” was found to contain numerous building code infractions and hazards. The property has stood derelict since May 2006 when Belfast Bridge LLC stopped work on a planned redevelopment of the property as a condominium, retail and marina complex called Wakeag Landing. The plan was to use the bones of Building 1.

A half-million dollars later, it was determined that the building would need to be razed entirely. To date, the property owners have not been able to unload the old cannery, despite several detailed proposals by prospective buyers. Last fall, Arthur House, a real estate consultant, unveiled plans to redevelop the site in a similar fashion to Wakeag Landing, and he later notified the city of a short-term lease agreement with Belfast Bridge LLC, to perform basic site work. House has repeatedly claimed to be within days of closing on the property, but a sale has yet to manifest itself.

In other news, locals came together for Hannahstock, a community-grown fundraising effort designed to aid the family of 9-year-old Hannah Clifford of Brooks. The event, which included live music from local bands, clowns, children’s games, local food, a benefit motorcycle ride and silent auction, was intended to help cover medical bills after the Clifford family was in a car accident in August that initially left Hannah in critical condition.

About 52,000 people attended the Common Ground Country Fair at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association fairgrounds in Unity. Attendance was reportedly the third-highest since the fair relocated to its permanent home in Unity. MOFGA reminded people to mark their calendars for the 2010 fair, which will take place Friday, Sept. 24 through Sunday, Sept. 26.