The annual meeting, the last event of the 2021 summer, was held Friday evening. New Board members were elected (see below). President Glennis Chabot thanked all the volunteers that helped make this transition summer as enjoyable as possible. A major task for the future is rewriting the by laws. Members wishing to participate on this committee should contact the Board. Since we are registered in the State of Maine as a non profit, those wanting to participate should become familiar with the requirements of by laws of small non profit organizations in Maine.
Check back here periodically for more news and information regarding the association. Members wishing to receive the monthly newsletter and important emails from the association should submit their email address to us if you haven't already done so.
Stay safe and healthy.
In case you missed any of the eNewsletters emailed to you, archived copies are available on the High Tide Page.
Thank you to the 140 members who showed up to vote at the annual meeting friday evening. Thank you to the nominating and membership committees for organizing and facilitating the process.
Those elected are as follows:
Three Year Term
One Year Term
The annual meeting will be held at the clubhouse on Friday August 27th. Due to covid, and the expected turnout for voting, the meeting will be a little different this year. All members should have received an email describing the agenda.
The meeting will begin at 6:00PM and then immediately adjourn so members can vote. The voting will take place outside the clubhouse until 7:00PM. Members not wishing to attend the meeting can come to the clubhouse and vote anytime between 6:00 and 7:00PM.
At 7:00PM the meeting will reconvene inside the clubhouse (masks required) and follow the normal agenda for the annual meeting.
Candidates for HBA Board of Directors
The following list of candidates have submitted nomination paperwork for Board of Directors. An email will be forthcoming with their bio information to help members decide who to vote for. Voting will take place at the annual meeting on August 27. More details about the voting process and the annual meeting will be in a subsequent email. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order. A copy of this list is also posted on the bulletin board at the clubhouse.
David Fillinger - 8 Pearl St.
Elizabeth Flaherty - 21 Vesper St.
Chelle Melander - 6 Pearl St.
Sue Naiden - 17 Shipwreck St.
Jeff Perkins - 14 Shipwreck St.
Al Pevarnek - 17 Vesper St.
Giff Red - 23 Houghton St.
MaryBeth Shapiro - 16 Forest St.
An Evening of Poetry
An intimate group of people interested in poetry gathered last night at the clubhouse to listen to David McCann read some of his published poems and a few older ones and explain the inspiration and meaning of them. It was entertaining, informative and interesting. One of the guests read a poem he wrote for the eulogy of his fathers recent passing. The small group thoroughly enjoyed the evening. To learn more about David McCann, click on his bio.
David McCann's Bio
David McCann was the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature and Director of the Korea Institute at Harvard University. He and his wife Ann served in the first Peace Corps group to go to Korea, 1966-68. David taught at Cornell and at Harvard before his retirement in 2014.
His recent books of poems include Same Bird, from Moon Pie Press in 2016, and a gathering of his sijo poems, Urban Temple, from Bo-Leaf Press (2010), also published in a dual-language edition by Changbi Publishers in Seoul in 2012. His new collection, Lost & Found, was published by Moon Pie Press in 2018.
David has been coming to Higgins Beach and his family cottage on Cliff St. for over 70 years. His grandparents bought the cottage in 1939.
Don Campbell Concert
Finally the weather cooperated and we were able to have at least one concert on the lawn. Don Campbell with Tom Dyheberg and Tom Yoder provided enjoyable entertainment for us on the lawn. Don comes to Higgins Beach and entertains us every summer. it was a little cool and people were wearing light jackets and sweaters. There were about 100 plus guests on the lawn in beach chairs and surrounding neighbors listened from their patios and driveways while enjoying a beverage. A few photos of this event are on the gallery page.
July 4th Reverse Parade
Flags and bunting adorned many homes on Higgins Beach this July 4th. Although there was no normal parade this year we did have a reverse parade celebration where the judges went around looking at how people interpreted this year's theme "Summertime Fun In Twenty-One". The results of the judging and photos can be found here.
The first doughnut breakfasst of 2021 ws held on Wednesday June 30. From outside the clubhouse it looked liked a normal event with a line of people waiting to get in and partake of doughnuts from the Cookie Jar. Once they got to the door, it wsn't a normal event. They were asked to put on masks. Masks were available to those who didn't have one. They were let in to the clubhouse in groups and went to the doughnut station to select their doughnuts. The person with the money stepped over to the payment station to pay and then on to the beverage station for coffee or juice box. Then it was out the back door to eagerly devour the delicious doughnuts. A few photos are on the Gallery Page.
Welcome Back Meet and Greet
Welcome Back event was held on Monday evening June 28 on the lawn. Normally we would have had a Welcome Back pot luck supper and a sandwich/silent auction event. But in this transition year we decided on an outside social event. it was good to see our friends and neighbors in a social setting again. HBA provided wine and Tony's dessert squares. Feedback from those who attended was positive, so maybe we can convince the Board to have another one later this summer. A few photos of this event are on the gallery page.
HBA Spring Mailing
You should hve received your 2021 membership package in the mail this past week. We encourage members to fill out the survey enclosed and return it with your membership form. Make sure you add your email addresses so we can continue to communicate the eNewsletter each month and other important information. If you didn't receive your membership packet in the mail let us know by emailing us at email@example.com. Click here for a copy of the president's letter and the membership form included in the package.
HBA New Email Address
We have a new email address; firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have our old gmail address in your contacts you will need to update it. We will continue to monitor the old address. The new address is associated with our website and is more secure.
As part of our communication plan, we now have an eNewsletter published monthly. We mail it to our members and their families if we have your email address on file. When filling out your annual membership form, please add your email address so we can contiue to communicate the newsletter as well as more important news concerning our community and association. If you haven't received an emailed newsletter, copies are posted on our Hightide page.
HBA Civic Committee
What The Civic Committee Does
WHAT THE CIVIC COMMITTEE DOES
Monitors Town meeting agendas of Ordinance, Long Range Planning, Council, etc. for items which may impact the general environment and character of the beach and neighborhood.
Examples of items the Higgins Beach Association Civic Committee has worked on include the 2019 property reevaluation (see August 22, 2019 and September 11, 2019 emails to membership) and the marijuana ordinance (see December 2, 2019 email to membership). Currently following fireworks and 5G licensing.
Engages with Town Departments regarding existing Town ordinances.
Generally these are the dog, parking, fireworks and surfing ordinances. These ordinances went through a lengthy public vetting process in which any individual had multiple opportunities to comment. The final ordinances were carefully crafted by the Town Council to give all stakeholders some opportunities to enjoy the beach. Careful enforcement of these ordinances protects and respects everyone’s beach experience.
Terry Cain, Chairperson
Maine Healthy Beaches
Maine Healthy Beaches - Higgins Beach
Higgins Beach is part of the Maine Healthy Beaches Program. Water is tested weekly, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, for the presence of enterococci bacteria which is an indicator of fecal contamination. Maine Healthy Beach signs are posted at all beach entrances.
Trained volunteers, including some high school students, take samples of the water at various locations along the beach. The samples are sent to a lab and if there is a high bacteria level, advisory signs and a warning flag are posted at the beach entrances. Results are also available on the Maine Healthy Beach website.
The Spurwink River is the primary source of enterococci bacteria on Higgins beach and a Contamination Advisory is posted all summer for the river. Some other sources of enterococci bacteria include bathers, waterfowl, dogs, and runoff. Enterococci bacteria can also be found in seaweed and sand as well as in the water.
There are two types of Beach Advisories:
Rainfall Advisories: These are posted at Higgins whenever there is more than an inch of rain. Higgins Beach has a history of high levels of enterococci bacteria after a significant rainfall.
Contamination Advisories: These are posted whenever the bacteria in the water exceeds an Environmental Protection Agency standard for water contact.
It is recommended that all water contact be avoided when an advisory is in place due to the possibility of illness.
Look for These Advisory Signs if conditions warrant
Posted at Beach Entrances
Click on the Healthy Beach link below for more information Healthy Beaches
This brings you to the Maine healthy beaches dashboard. Select Higgins Beach. There are three sampling sites; one at the river, one at Champion St. and one at Pearl St.
Beach Raking - Higgins Beach
What do we mean when we say “Beach Raking” Thursday mornings at 6:00AM.
There is beach raking and there is “Beach Raking”. “Beach Raking” is the raking and REMOVAL of seaweed from the beach. It is illegal to remove seaweed from the beach. It requires DEP approval to remove seaweed from any beach. The HBA has permission from the DEP to manually remove seaweed from the beach with assistance from the Town. Any person cannot legally remove seaweed from Higgins Beach.
Can I rake a clearing in the seaweed for my chairs and blankets?
If someone wanted to rake a clearing in the seaweed to place their chair or blanket, that beach raking is allowed, you just can’t remove it from the beach.
History of Beach Raking and its effect
“Beach Raking” at Higgins goes back at least to the 1930’s or 1940’s, according to some of the oldtimers. So it has been a tradition that has been kept alive to the current day. To give the summer beach raking some perspective, there are 2 tides per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, or 730 tides. The beach raking is scheduled for 1 morning a week for about 8 weeks in the summer, and sometimes less than that if the tide is too high at the time of raking, or the weather is inclement. So for the summer months we are raking only 1 tide out of the 14 tides a week or .07% of the opportunities that a tide can deposit seaweed on the beach. There have been times when the beach is raked clean and the next tide deposits a raft of seaweed on the just raked beach. The outgoing tide can also remove the seaweed from the beach.
How much of the beach gets raked?
That depends on the number of volunteers and the amount of seaweed. Usually the area from Houghton St to Ashton St is the only area to get raked. The HBA volunteers show up at 6:00AM and rake the seaweed into piles. The Town comes around 7:00AM with their bucket loader and dump trucks. The bucket loader goes down the ramp to the beach and the Town crew must pitchfork the seaweed into the bucket loader which then dumps it into the dump truck. The use of pitchforks reduces the amount of sand that is removed. The bucket loader will not go near the water and will not go on the beach if the tide is too high.
What does the Town do with the seaweed?
They take the seaweed to one of their facilities and store it separate from seaweed from other beaches. The Town brings back the seaweed and some of the sand and dumps it along the dunes between Pearl and Ashton Sts., with the property owners' permission. This helps protect the dunes from erosion during the winter storms.
Why was there talk of eliminating “Beach Raking”?
When we remove seaweed from the beach we are also removing sand. Higgins beach has a unique eco system. The sand on our beach does not exist anywhere else nearby. We cannot go to a quarry and get truckloads of any sand and drop it on the beach. Once the sand is gone, it’s gone. The sand on the beach cycles from the beach to the river to the ocean and back to the beach. It is constantly cycling. Some years, there is very little sand at the Houghton St. end of the beach. Rocks and ledge are exposed. By the end of summer, the sand has cycled back to that end of the beach. Sand leaves the beach in other ways too, on the bottom of chairs, shoes, feet, blankets, towels, etc. Most of that sand stays in the watershed area of the beach. But we should take care to try and remove as much sand from our chairs and shoes as possible. The sand in the removed seaweed does not come back to the beach.
To address this issue, the Board set up an ad hoc committee to explore ways to maintain the tradition of “Beach Raking” and to minimize the removal of sand contained in the seaweed leaving the beach. This will be updated when that report is submitted and approved by the Board.
"The old wreck down by the river has been a part of the scenery here at Higgins Beach so long that most folks just take it for granted. But there are some of us who can remember when it wasn't there and when it came. Way back in 1897, August 11, that was a bad, bad night-foggy! It was so thick it looked as if the space between earth and sky was stuffed with gray-white cotton.
"A bunch of "us kids" rode over to Bowery Beach on our bicycles to a square dance that evening. It was clear when we started; but when the dance was over and we set out for home, it was so foggy we were afraid of running into each other on the river coming down Meeting House Hill and across Spurwink. However, we made it without a mishap. About two o'clock my mother was awakened by loud curdling noises out towards the water, but she could see nothing. When morning came and the fog cleared, we saw a three-masted schooner stationed well inshore near the first point in the river. It was a beautiful ship-majestic-setting there as if at anchor. She didn't look at all like a wreck with a big hole in her hull.
"It was the Howard W. Middleton, strongly built of white oak and yellow pine in 1882 at Camden, New Jersey-a really noble ship. It had left Philadelphia on August 2 with 894 tons of coal for Peter Nickerson and Company in Portland. Captain Shaw was trying to make Richmond Island Harbor inside the breakwater to lay over till morning. Instead, he ran onto that rock near the mouth of the Spurwink. On our geodetic map that rock is charted simply as "obstruction" and it is only about 28 feet (8.5 m) deep there. If you stand at the foot of Champion Street at a very low tide, you may see the top of the rock beneath a breaker. You can always see a breaker there a couple of hours before and after dead low water.
"Well, there was lots of excitement! The crew came ashore and talked with the residents. Tugs from Portland Harbor plied the water for days taking off coal. She had soft coal in her lower hold and hard coal between decks. On August 12th, she was declared a total loss and was placed in the hands of the underwriters. People began to pick up coal on the beach by the buckets and barrels. Mrs. Kenney remembers that her father drove over from Westbrook with a cart and got two tons of coal for winter.
"People were eager for souvenirs, of course, and many of us remember when some big boys stole the ship's bell. But the Captain or the Sheriff made them return it to the Captain. "There she stayed on the rocks, pretty as a picture (although she was really broken in two), all the rest of August and was there when we left in September. Sometime that following winter a storm broke her up and washed her ashore where she now lies. There is a piece of it in the river, too, which can be seen at low tide. There are always changes around the old wreck. Years ago there was quite a big swimming pool around the ocean end of it with water as deep as eight feet near the boat. A twelve year old boy was drowned there one summer.
"Some years the ribs of the hull stand up head high above the beach and perhaps the next year they will be buried in the sand. For years we picked up beautiful iridescent pieces of coal showing red, green, and blue; and even now you may find a lone piece from the old Howard W. Middleton. A few people have a picture of this boat on paper weights. These pictures were taken from the beach and showed this proud, three-masted vessel in her last days of beauty.
"P.S. In talking with several people, I found that my memory did not agree with theirs. I had the date wrong and I couldn 't think of the name, but I did remember the number of tons of coal. However all the facts herein have been verified by the old newspaper records of August 11 and 12, 1897."
The Howard W. Middleton aground 1897
The Wreck Today May 2020
What to do when a Seal or Seal Pup is stranded on Shore
Call Marine Mammals of Maine
More information here
Adult Plover with 2 chicks and a third under the adult
High Tide Page - September 16, 2021
Contacts Page - August 28, 2021
Calendar Page - August 17, 2021
Gallery Page - August 5, 2021
Starts - June 18, 2021 - 10:30AM and continuing every three weeks
All are welcome to attend - RSVP
Contact Barbara Bombaci 207-883-2060
Clubhouse available for Member only use. Contact Sue Naiden (207-239-6421) for availability and details.
There are many activities that the HBA organizes for our members. Most of the time it is the same people doing all the work. If you would like to help at any of our activities, contact a Board member or email us.
Want to be a Board Member
Contact Barbara Bombaci, Nominating Committee Chairperson. Each year three positions become open. See the By-Laws for more information and deadlines.
Higgins Beach is Pedestrian Friendly
Protect the Safety of our Beach
Obey the Speed Limit