Westport Column: Thanks first responders

Posted:  Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 10:00am

Dear friends and neighbors,

My husband decided to install several maple tree taps this week, and the sap immediately started dripping! Spring is right around the corner! Daylight savings time begins on March 11, just over two weeks away. St. Patrick’s Day follows soon after, and Easter arrives on April 1 this year. There is a lot to look forward to in the coming month!

Congratulations are in order to Mario and Roni DePietro, who have successfully transferred ownership of the Squire Tarbox Inn to some folks hailing from Texas. Apparently interior renovations are already underway, as the goal is to open the Inn by June 1. This first year of operation may not include running a public restaurant, but down the road that is a possibility. We are happy to hear Liz will be staying on as the ace assistant to the new owners.

Roni and Mario would like to say a big “thank you” to all the patrons who have faithfully supported them the past sixteen years. They have had an amazing time, but are ready to take a step back from the huge responsibility of operating an inn and restaurant. Mario plans to build his own bocce court in their backyard, and will be looking for folks to play with! He also wants to build his own personal pizza oven, which he already knows how to operate. Roni is looking forward to some leisurely gardening, exploring more of Maine, and sitting out on the deck during warm summer nights. She may even be able to drag Mario on a few trips if she can locate a good pet/housesitter! Best to both of the DePietros!

Please send your thoughts and prayers in support of Julian DePietro, Kyle and Angie’s 5-year-old son who was still in the Intensive Care Unit at Maine Med as of Monday. Unfortunately Julian had a serious accident while playing with his brother a week ago. Kyle and Angie will be forever grateful to the Westport Island Fire Department and the paramedics from Wiscasset who showed up during inclement weather to transport Julian to the hospital. Thanks also to G & D Cromwell for their sanding efforts which made transportation in treacherous conditions possible. Kyle and Angie have been overwhelmed by the community’s outpouring of support and love. They are thankful for the emergency staff at Midcoast who saved Julian’s life and feel fortunate to have the incredible services of the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital so near. At printing Julian still had a collapsed lung, but was off assisted breathing and even managed to crack a smile after coming off heavy sedation. We hope that a speedy recovery and calmer days are just around the corner for our hard-working Island farm family! It takes a village to raise a child!

On a side note, my husband had a health scare over a year ago, and I will be forever grateful to the Westport First Responders and the Wiscasset Ambulance for showing up so promptly. But I am concerned that the numbers are dwindling in Westport’s Fire Department, and paramedics are even harder to find. I understand that at least three people must be available to answer an emergency call, and we don’t always have that many folks available on our little Island. Even though our personnel are volunteers, they must undergo many hours of mandated training to answer emergency calls, and paramedics are in extremely short supply. It may be time for our aging Island to consider hiring full-time staff. If you have an emergency, don’t you want someone to quickly respond to a 911 call? Through no fault of the Fire Department, resources are woefully slim. Let’s talk with our selectmen about possibilities to get more help for all of us before it’s too late.

The days are getting longer! The ice is happily disappearing (for now). I can feel it in the air; spring is just around the corner! Contact your newshound pat-dick@midcoast.com with any signs of spring!