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December 25, 2015     Quoddy Tides
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December 25, 2015
 

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Page 18 THE QUODDY TIDES 25 December, 2015 I nsurance looms; enrol by Lora Whelan A looming health insurance enrollrhent deadline of January 31, 2016, could mean whopping penalties for those who do not meet the deadline. According to a recent Gallup poll, Maine has the highest rate of uninsured residents in New England at 9.4%. Certified application counselors in Calais, Eastport, Lubec and Harrington are set to help residents understand the appli- cation process, including the federal sub- sidies that can bring down premium costs to manageable levels. When the Affordable Care Act was en- acted into law, a structure of penalties for not insuring was set up starting in 2014. In 2016 the penalty will rise to $695 per adult and $347 per child or 2.5% of annu- al household income, whichever is great- er. Deb Shields, a counselor working in Eastport and Calais, stresses that for some households the penalty could come to a significant sum and quite likely more than an insurance plan with minimal coverage. "After January 31 there' s nothing you can do to avoid that penalty," she says. Ac- cording to the Henry Kaiser Family Foun- dation, 55% of the uninsured plan to get health insurance but are unaware of the enrollment deadline. Not all individuals are required to pur- chase coverage. A number of conditions will allow for an opt-out without penalty, including if a person is a member of a Native American tribe; is covered by an employer's plan, veteran's program, Medicare and/or Medicaid; or has a fami- ly income level below the threshold re- quiring a tax return to be filed. When in doubt, check in with one of the certified application counselors, Shields suggests. Open house scheduled The counselors are available to help Food alliance sets January 10 meeting The first Sunrise County Food Alliance (SCFA) meeting of 2016 will be held Sun- day, January 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Grow- ing Concern, Richard and Judy East's home and business, at 35 Manning Street in Calais. SCFA is a Washington County community organization that advocates for sustainable agriculture and a vibrant food system in the region. For more information and to send along agenda items, contact Regina at the Ma- chias Healthy Acadia office at 255-3741 or . PLEASE PATRONIZE OUR ADVERTISERS with individual appointments or during an open house that will be held at Calais Re- gional Hospital (CRH) on Saturday, Janu- ary 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. "We'd love appointments," either before the open house or during, "but walkLins are fine," says Shields. People should bring their projected household income for 2016, usually based on the previous year's in- come, and the Social Security numbers of everyone in the household even if they will not be enrolled. They should expect their visit with a counselor to last from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the complexi- ty of the enrollment. "We'll help set up an online account and email address if they need one." If an applicant already has a user name and password for the enrollment site, be sure to bring those as well, Shields notes. Counselors can be invaluable in help- ing to choose the right health insurance plan, CRH Director of Communications Dee Dee Travis explains, pointing to her own experience enrolling family members with different healthcare needs. Choosing plans that include trusted providers and cover essential medications will be impor- tant to some and not to others. "If you're going to pay for the insurance, you need to make it work for you," she adds. For the 2016 enrollment year, the popu- lar Maine Community Health Options (CHO) will be closed to new enrollees. Over 67,000 residents signed up with the nonprofit CO-OP in 2015, with numbers having climbed during the November en- rollment month. For the first day, 7,000 signed, and "I think we have many more than that now," Shields adds. About 80% of the enrollment population utilized CHO, she says. The company expects to reopen to new applicants in 2017. In the meantime, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Harvard Pilgrim have insur- ance plans for those still in search of in- surance coverage. Individuals who wish to pursue coverage on their own should visit the site or call 800-318-2596 to determine if they are eligible for subsidies. Because Maine does not have its own health insurance ex- change, the federal exchange must be used to sign up for insurance to obtain a subsi- dy. Deb Shields is based at Eastport Health Care Inc. and Calais Regional Hospital at 853-0189; Sue Mahar is based at the St. Croix Regional Family Health Center in Princeton and Calais Regional Hospital at 796-5503; Angela Dubey is based at Lubec Regional Medical Center at 733- 1090 ext. 2135; and Susie Beal is based at Harrington Family Health Center at 483- 4502. Open Your HealthCare Is Offline! Let us help you get back on the right path. Enrollment on the Health Insurance Marketplace is November 1, 2015 to January 31,2016. For January 1,2016, coverage you must apply by December 15, 2015. Consultations are free of charge. Penalty for not having insurance is $695 or 2.5% of income. Items you will need: Social Security numbers, dates of birth for all members of the tax family, income information and email address that you can gain access to. To get help enrolling in a Marketplace insurance plan, schedule an appointment, call or visit: Deb Shields at 207-853-0189 Eastport Health Care 30 Boynton Street Eastport, ME 04631 I am also available at Down East Community Hospital on Tuesdays and Calais Regional hospital on Thursdays throughout Open Enrollment. ,flections Destiny Bay by Delia Mae Farris tana and Maine, working in the lobster ALONG THE WATERFRONT culture around South Addison. Keller!s recent book reading and signing hosted by Above-average sea and air temperatures the Maine Writers Series at the University along the Washington County coast kept of Maine at Machias packed an overflow the fall weather patterns mostly mild right audience into Powers Hall's art gallery. up until this chilly portal to winter sol- Larson spoke about the differences he de- stice. One gentle September day, a Cutler tected between hearing the language used lobster boat full of sweatshirt-clad Ameri- by Cutler fishermen on their marine band can Lighthouse Society members on tour radios or around the wharves and listen- was seen easing in past Little River Is- ing to Keller read colorful expressions land. On a flat calm October day before a from the guys lobstering out of the Addi- storm, Nick Lemieux's Phantom grace- son area. fully circled around the harbor with his After a busy Zone 2 opening on De- crew hauling the last 29 traps tended by cember 1, the quota set by the Department his pair of grade school sons. My father of Marine Resources for the Little Machi- Glenn Farris and his 1937 eighth grade as Bay scallop catch was soon met. The classmates looked out on the harbor from popular area in from Cape Wash Island is their seats lined up alongside the row of now closed to further harvesting. west-facing windows in the old Cutler Grammar School. After watching their fa- CAROLING WITH FARM CRII"rERS thers and uncles going and coming from In her large Snoopy Christmas stock- the fishing grounds, very few of those tel- ing, Stella has been stocking up on carrots lows went on to Washington Academy and apples. Her favorite custom at this (WA). Now, Glenn's great-grandsons time of long nights brightened by cheery Ryan and Jackson attend Curler's Bay lights is to assist in feeding the barnyard Ridge School where views of tamarack beasts. We have yet to make the trip over trees and blueberry fields do not tempt to Tide Mill Farm's milking barn where their minds to wander, folks gather for a round of cow-a-ling. This mid-December, sternmen huddle But kind Stella has been making her list of with their captains under wheelhouses as animal friends closer to home and check- their backs are crowded by full loads of ing it twice. traps and buoys being brought in. The viv- Stabled on the outskirts of Cutler head- id blue wire of Jeremy Cates' gear piled ing towards Trescott is Carol, a 24-year- aboardthe Charlene Gailadds festive col- old miniature horse. She lost her or to a bleak grey day as he eases his companion this year, 17-year-old Adida. vessel into the family wharf. His stern- Until recently, her daily visitors have been man, Josiah Porter, is still grinning about five guinea hens that escaped from a the skiff thrill ride he gave his father and neighbor's coop. According to Carol's brother. Scott, superintendent of AdS 96, caregiver, Bonnie Maker Foss, the guin- and Jordan, home for the Thanksgiving eas would squabble and fight over roost- holiday from post-grad medical studies in ing spaces on the little pasture fence, much Nashville, Tenn., will never forget their to the entertainment' of Carol. Then the peek at the angry sea just outside of our flo~ck settled down at night to sleep. One protective island, by one they are now being picked off by Sterling Fitzhenry and Dean Crosman' s prey. wharves have been bustling. Their fisher- Next on Stella's list are Touchy the men are nearly done backing down with horse and Chickory the large pony. John pickups and flatbeds to haul off load after Shaw, while splitting and stacking wood load of gear to pile in their trap yards. The on his land by the Little Machias Road, town boat ramp has been a busy place, declared his family's Thanksgiving table too. Small boat owners and their sea ur- was short on brussels sprouts and minus chin divers come and go. Some fellows turnips. The equines smelled a good meal come from as far away as West Bath and in the garden beds and, using their hooves, bring a bit of business to the Machias mo- turned over the soil for a faU feast. tels. Lobstermen are grateful they no long- Coated in red wool on her car bed, Stel- er haul up traps bristling with those spiny la patiently awaits her mistress to make echi0oderms. Plus, our local divers like the rounds of Christmas Eve services in Alan Fitzhenry help recover metal objects Machias. Then she is eager to head to- that slip overboard from boats and the wards the Roque Bluffs territory of our wharves they tie up to. Mark "Skipper" winter guest, Lucy the tuxedo colored cat. McGuire Jr. of the Sarah Jane jokes that Stella loves the summer and fall times we his Christmas wish is to split with Alan look after Lucy and Rufus, the 15-year- the profit waiting to be made from recov- old dachshund who hounds the poor cat ering all the old brass fittings that lay on mercilessly while their ownerdoes a bit of the bottom of Cutler harbor from the days travelling. The Roque squirrels may be of wooden fishing vessels, asleep in their winter nests, but Stella The town ramp also has been bustling knows the horses and hens of Dana Brad- with the activity of menfolks pulling 30- bury's farm will stir to our approach. Dur- to 40-foot fiberglass boats out of the sea ing milder weather, Dana hitches up white water for repairs and protection from win- Johnny to a handsome wagon while black ter's storms. Four such fishing vessels are Sashia nibbles in the hay of "Johnny's now lined up in the Peter Taylor family' s Place." The sound of hooves clopping and new yard near Seavey's hill: Braeden's wheels turning as horse and driver disap- Future, the Suzie T. and two other boats pear down the curving road to the state awaiting a name change from their Moos- park beach is evocative of a distant era. abec Reach origin. Way back to the days when Roscoe Jordan Drouin, a 2015 graduate from Johnson, my lighthouse keeping grandfa- WA, has been happy with the calm 34 ther, came ashore from Libby Island and degree weather for finishing up his sec- exchanged rowboat oars for buggy reins. and season of lobstering alongside Col- Nearing the magic hour of midnight, beth Warner on their boat, Young Guns. Stella and I in our imagine-nations do be- Last year they shivered in 12 degree lieve we can understand what these ani- windy conditions to complete their fish- mals are speaking in their low voices. ing season. Legend is imbued with mystery at this Kris Larson, an East Machias writer and most holy time of year. We return to Lucy, photographer who baited up for some of waiting from her upstairs bedroom win- Sterling's fishermen, now has time to re- dow perch for our signal: blinking head- flect on working alongside the Cutler lights. After a round of canine, feline and boys. Larson possesses a keen ear for de- human snacks, we settle down for the long scriptive turns of phrase. He especially winter's sleep. As we three doze off, from recommends Jan Keller's novel Of Sea under the bed covers tumbles Wendy Will- and Cloud as a good read. Keller spent iams' The Horse: The Epic History of Our two years splitting his time between Man- Noble Companion.