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A Baby Hadn't Been Born in This Community Since 1927

Maine island has reason to celebrate latest birth
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2020 3:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – Warren Fernald was born on Islesford, an island off the coast of Maine, in July 1927. More than 93 years later, his great-granddaughter, Azalea Belle Gray, was born there at the end of last month—the first baby to be born on the island since her great-grandfather. The little one is not the only young resident to be added to the island's population in all that time; her five other siblings, for example, were born off-island and then came home to Islesford, which has no hospital. But Azalea was born at her family's island home on Sept. 26, the Bangor Daily News reports.

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Only afterward did her parents discover just how long it had been since the last birth actually on the island, which, like many other Maine islands, has struggled to retain its year-round population. Jobs on such island communities are largely limited to lobster fishing, and hospitals aren't the only thing lacking—access to education, transportation, internet, and even heating fuel or electricity can all be more challenging to procure. But residents are working to change all that, and it seems to be doing the trick. For a long time, there were far more older people on the island than kids, but lately, enrollment at the island's schools is up and in 2017, a child graduated from eighth grade on the island for the first time in 17 years. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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