Jan. 19, 1929: The National Park Service changes the name of Lafayette National Park, on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, to Acadia National Park.

The park became a public land preserve in 1916 as Sieur de Monts National Monument. When it was elevated to national park status in 1919, it took the name “Lafayette” in honor of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, the French aristocrat and military commander who led American troops in several battles of the American Revolution. When the U.S. Interior Department chose the name, Americans were fighting to defend France from the Germans in World War I, and it seemed a fitting tribute to that alliance.

Interior Department legal assistant Horace Albright (1890-1987) and George Bucknam Dorr (1853-1944), who oversaw Acadia’s formation, didn’t like the name, but they went along with it until Albright became National Park Service director in 1929. “Then I pushed through the name we had chosen years before, Acadia National Park,” he said.

“Acadia” was a name that had been in use among local Indians long before English and French explorers arrived in the area, so that seemed a more appropriate moniker to Albright.

Ronald H. Epp, in a 2016 biography of Dorr, concludes that the park’s “admission into the rapidly evolving park system was based on a novel concept – that private land donated by a conservation organization was entitled to be federally protected public land. This decision irrevocably altered the concept of a national park.”

By the time of Dorr’s death, the park had expanded to five times the size it was when the national monument was designated, and it included mainland property.

Jan. 19, 2014: A Maine Sunday Telegram report says the state auditor found that the state Department of Health and Human Services lost track of millions of dollars in Medicaid overpayments to long-term care providers in fiscal year 2013, which ended the previous June 30.

The auditor found that DHHS computers were inadequate to track whether the money is repaid to the state and whether similar mistakes occur in the future.

A review of the period from September 2010 through June 2013 found that the total amount of Medicaid – or MaineCare, as the state’s program is known – overpayments during that time totaled $36.4 million. The loss is of particular concern at a time when Maine’s growing population of elderly people is expected to increase demand for Medicaid-funded long-term care. Maine’s median age is reported as being 43.5 years – the highest in all 50 states.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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