News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 23, 2022
No public meeting scheduled with INH board
Neither Zoom nor in person

by Leslie Landrigan

A public discussion about possible uses for the Island Nursing Home building has not been scheduled, despite the board’s statement that it intended to hold one in June.

In a report published in the May 13 Ad-Vantages, the INH board said it is unlikely the nursing home can reopen because it cannot get nursing staff.

The board also hoped to open a dialogue with the community about the former nursing home, according to the report.

“It is our intention to begin public discussions in June to listen to gather suggestions about how we might make best use of the facility in accordance with our mission,” the report said.

As the end of June nears, the INH board has yet to announce any kind of open forum.

“No Zoom meeting or public meeting has been scheduled,” INH Board Member Skip Greenlaw said in an email.

Board members have met publicly twice—once with the Stonington select board and once on Zoom—since announcing last August the nursing home would close.

In a letter to the editor published in this week’s Ad-Vantages, Tenney Gavaza said she and all her fellow residents of the Deer Run retirement community want to meet with the INH board.

“We ask the board to sit in an open meeting, face to face with concerned people,” Gavaza said in the letter.

Stonington Town Manager Kathleen Billings, a former INH board member, said she is disappointed the board isn’t holding a public meeting.

“Having served on various boards, I’ve learned that effective communication and transparency are necessary for a board to have the respect and confidence of the community it serves,” Billings said in an email. “It is a shame the current INH board does not understand this and collectively do the right thing.”

If the facility has no residents on October 22, 2022, it will lose its license to operate with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.