May 25, 1983

About 80 people picketed a Gorham Town Council meeting Monday evening to protest the council’s proposed cut of $100,000 from the school budget, but the majority of the council remained unmoved in its resolve to make the cut. In unofficial voting, the council also has agreed to take $34,250 from the municipal portion of the budget. That cut, combined with the $100,000 school cut, would result in a tax rate increase of about $1.05 per $1,000 valuation instead of the $1.90 originally proposed. Before the meeting started and for the first half hour, people carrying placards with messages such as “Don’t shortchange our children,” and carrying umbrellas to ward off the drizzle, marched around and around outside the council chambers and past the window of the town manager’s office. Marchers included School Committee member David Morrill, former Ton Councilor John Emerson – always an outspoken supporter of school budgets – other parents and several children. Councilors said they needed time to review progress to date before inviting further public comment.

The Liberty Group, Portland, has bought the half ownership of William Gowen, Westbrook, in the old Westbrook Post Office. The other half continues to be owned by William D Hamill, Yarmouth. Their partnership is called 1 Post Office Square. The old post office was built in 1935. It has been empty since 1977. The U.S. Postal Service, unhappy with the urban renewal plan, built a new office on Main Street and moved out of the old one. The Liberty Group is managing and leasing the building for the partnership.

The state will take possession of the Gorham Service Station on June 28 so the Department of Transportation can proceed with plans to reconstruct the intersection of Routes 202 and 25 feet west of Gorham Village. Paul Wood, who owns the service station with his wife, Carol, said he learned Friday of the takeover. Wood said they have not yet reached an agreement with Department of Transportation officials on payment. The Woods have owned the service station since 1975 and later added a convenience store. “We’d like to stay in town,” he said.

The annual recital of the Virginia Dorr School of Dance, to be held on June 4 in Gorham High School, will have a special meaning for Virginia Taber Dorr. After 30 years as owner and director of the studio and another 30 years of association with dancing before that, she will transfer ownership of the studio to associate director Carole Lamongtagne Jordan, and retire to her West Gorham home to enjoy gardening and home improvement projects.

May 26, 1993

Bob Anderson, 25, has seen more of the United States in the past five years than most see in a lifetime. He has traveled on foot, by bicycle, hitchhiked and hopped freight trains from coast to coast, from the Gulf of Mexico to Maine and from California to Washington. His definition of “settling down” is staying in one place for 10 days. Anderson’s wanderings took him to Gorham last week. Originally from Washington State, he calls himself homeless, and says he has been since released from serving five years in a juvenile detention home. “I had a mother that fed me when I was young, and that’s it. I haven’t seen her in a year and a half. She still lives in Washington state, but she doesn’t want to see me because of the trouble I got into,” he said while pausing outside the Village Mall. Within less than an hour of standing along Route 25, a man stopped to tell him about work. And another stopped to offer him a place to stay for the night. Anderson thought he would probably accept the latest offer of hospitality.

Vault walls built with a grid of 5/8-inch-thick steel rods embedded in 18-inch-thick concrete guarantee the security of cash, checks, and other valuables in Westbrook City Hall. They had to cut a 2-foot hole through one of those walls after the vault’s door lock broke Thursday. Everything went into the vault as usual Wednesday night. When Kelly Dorr, payroll clerk, came to open it Thursday, it wouldn’t open. That meant trouble. Thursday is payday for 132 city employees and the paychecks were in the vault. More trouble: Thursday and Friday were the last two business days of May, which is one of the heaviest car registration months of the year, and people were lined up to pay auto excise taxes and register their cars. But plates, tags and all records were in the vault. The building that is now Westbrook’s City Hall was built as an office of the First Portland National Bank around 1950. About 2 a.m. Saturday, the job was done and things were back to normal by Monday.

Tina Rice got her long-planned day at the condo on the beach Friday and kept her unblemished record of four years of perfect attendance at Westbrook High School. She is one of 93 members of her WHS Class of 1993 who did better than the state average in the Maine State Educational Assessment exams as 11th-graders and were rewarded with the promise of two days of extra vacation. The problem, those two days would stand as excused absences, the only blemish on her attendance record. Her father, Dave Rice appealed that policy to WHS Principal William Michaud and lost. Tina’s mother Penny Diaz carried it further, appealing to Superintendent Edward Connolly, the Press Herald and Channel 6 TV. She won.


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