Media Archive

T5 R9 to be named 'Ebemee'

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 166, No. 16, April 21, 2004
Citizens to vote on name change

AUGUSTA The Maine Legislature last week passed an emergency measure that would allow citizens of some of Maine's unorganized territories to name their communities. According to the Emergency Services Communication Bureau, Maine has more than 400 unorganized territories. Almost 200 of these communities have official names, while the rest have local names or. alphanumeric designations.

State law authorizes the Legislature to vote on names for communities in unorganized territories. Following approval from the Legislature, the community will vote on the new name.

"T5 R9 has always been called Ebemee by its residents," said Rep. Guy Duprey, D-Medway, who sponsored the Ebemee amendment to the bill. "As the state moves towards a refined E-911 system, it is vital for the public safety of this community to have a name. It will also enable it to better participate in the economy. For safety, commerce, and a better sense of community identity, it should be called by its real name, not an alpha-numeric designation."

Numerous complications result from the alphabetical and numerical designation. First, it is difficult for 911 systems to access these communities within their media. Emergency 911 systems still rely on radios to dispatch law enforcement, fire, or emergency medical services. Radio static, background noise, or human stress can sometimes lead to the miscommunication of alphanumeric locations.

Aside from health and safety issues, there are also global economic concerns associated with Maine's unorganized territories. The alphanumeric label causes confusion with Canadian postal codes, which use combinations of letters and numbers in a similar way.

Many businesses do not accept the alpha-numeric designation in simple shipping orders, since some computer systems are unable to process the finish numbers in fields for cities and towns. Notably, pharmacy systems also have this difficulty, leaving residents of unnamed unorganized territories to find other alternatives.

'This is a good common-sense bill allowing Ebemee to retain the name it has been going by for years. While it is important that we all conform to important safety procedures relating to E-911, it is important that communities like Ebemee are able to maintain their identity," said Sen. Stephen S. Stanley, D-Penobscot County.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.