I awoke this weekend to a beautiful blue sky, sun-filled day. The kind of fall weekend we hope to get but rarely do. Eager to get outside to enjoy it. I was stopped in my tracks once my senses were hit with a repulsive, nauseating, pungent odor making its way from Mr. Randall’s farm on Stroudwater Street.

Yes, he was fertilizing his fields with manure. I tried to acclimate my senses, convincing myself that if I could give it a few minutes I’d get use to it and begin all the outside projects I’d planned. But my stomach gave in and back inside I went with my dog happy to follow, closing any windows and doors on this beautiful fall day. To those of you reading this, I can just see your heads nodding, you smelt it too. How could anybody not? So, you know just what I’m referring to. Good, because words can’t accurately capture how much this odor permeated our community and choked the quality of air and breaths we took.

Mr. Randall, please understand how much I support your working farm and what an asset it brings to our town. For the many years I’ve driven by your beautiful rolling pastures, watched your cows grazing as they dot the landscape it’s always brought a smile to my face. Appreciative and with respect of what it must take to run such a farm, and sadness over a sight once so common in Maine now far and few between.

I’ve watched through the cable access channel you and your family attend town meetings to protect and save your farm. My family can vouch for the many comments I’ve directed at my TV in support of your doing just that. So, I’m asking that you extend a courtesy to this community. The next time you have plans to spread your fields will you please place a notice in this paper of the days you plan to do so? If this is cost prohibitive, then post it on the public access channel’s news board. If I had this information, as well as others, when awakening to such a spectacular weekend my plans could have avoided the unpleasant stench that lasted its entirety. It may have been one of the last good weekends we have before inclement weather greets us. I know my thoughts aren’t inclusive to just me, as everywhere I’ve gone from lines at the grocery store, pumping gas, running errands this conversation has been repeated. You even made the local news channel!

Mr. Randall, I hope the reaching arm of city government never extends far enough to make an eminent domain threat to your farm. But I believe it’s only a matter of time before this city comes up with another amendment to rezone and promote its “vision” for growth and development for Westbrook. When that day comes, it will be through the support of residents such as myself who will work in your support to preserve the working Maine farm. So I ask you, won’t you extend that support to the residents of Westbrook now and give this reasonable request some consideration? If the racino vote had ever passed, a weekend of this would have shut it down quicker than the horses could make the finish line.

Patricia Youland

Westbrook


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