An arrest warrant has been issued for a Portland man, and police are closing in on two others sought in connection with a string of Gorham burglaries, worth an estimated $25,000 in stolen goods and vehicles. According to Gorham Police Chief David Kurz, the same trio are responsible for “20 or 30” other such crimes occurring over the last month in York and Cumberland counties. Kurz credited Gorham Detective Wayne Drown with “the old-fashioned footwork” that positively identified one man and tentatively identified a second suspected in the thefts.

The tide of debate turned in favor of dead-ending Turner Street, and the Westbrook City Council stood its ground strongly in second and final action this week, voting 5-2 to make the dead-end permanent. But a thick pile of petitions, with an impressive 1,217 valid signatures, led the City Council then to vote 5-2 to send the brand new dead-end ordinance to the voters in a binding referendum Nov. 3.

Westbrook Democrats nominated aldermen this week for new two-year terms for the City Council. They nominated Elmer T. Welch to run for the at-large seat, a race in which Republican incumbents Lyle Cramer and Terry Quinlan are running again. They also nominated William T. Loring to run for the Ward 5 seat against Alexander Juniewicz, the incumbent Republican. Richard A. Robichaud was nominated to run for the Ward 1 seat on the School Committee being vacated by David Haskell, Republican. Several seats remain vacant and must be filled by Democratic City Committee Chairman Larry Garvey, including mayor, city clerk, one alderman at large, one School Committee at large and wards 2 and 5 School Committee.

Sewer construction is about to start along Main Street in the center of Gorham Village, and that could mean a few headaches for commuters and businesspeople alike. “We weren’t kidding when we said there would be inconveniences,” said Town Council Chairman Philip Hill, talking about the project on a call-in radio show. Alternate routes will be set up and a meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 1 between town officials and business owners to coordinate and ease the expected mess.

Gorham received notification from just two parties interested in leasing or buying the historic Sampson House on South Street. The Gorham Land Trust and the Christian Outreach Association, both nonprofits, have submitted proposals for leasing the house. The council’s Finance Committee will examine both proposals and make a recommendation to the Town Council.

Sept. 24, 1997

Paul LeConte made it official Friday, filing the petition that will put his name on the November election ballot in Westbrook as an independent candidate for mayor. He will be the only opponent to the Democratic nominee, Donald E. Esty Jr. Republicans let the 5 p.m. deadline Friday go past without picking a candidate. Talking about his decision, LeConte said he believes he has a chance, though a narrow one, to beat Esty. A three-term Democratic alderman at large who was passed over by the Democratic caucus two years ago, LeConte said he was asked to accept the Democratic nomination this year for alderman at large or for city clerk. He declined.

Someone left a deep box in the yard at Dunkin’ Donuts in downtown Westbrook and drove away. Inside the box were three lively kittens, all from the same litter, judging by their age, but of quite different coloring – one blonde, one brunette and one mixed gray. Police took them to the Animal Refuge League.

Ronald Allanach, former Westbrook police chief, was a visitor at this week’s Westbrook City Council meeting. He brought with him students of a class he is teaching at University of Southern Maine’s Gorham campus. His full-time job now is assistant principal at South Portland High School. He retired from the Westbrook police job and joined the staff of U.S. Sen. William Cohen. He went to SPHS before Cohen left the Senate.

The day care center at Westbrook High School has closed. Student mothers can send their babies to private day care at school expense. A volunteer previously employed in the center opened it for two weeks as the school year began to accept enrollments. There were two, one of which was for only half a year, Assistant Superintendent Michael Kane told the School Committee. Three others expressed interest. If enough apply, it would make sense to reopen the school center, he said. Until then, giving the mothers vouchers is less of a cost. He said private day care center charge the schools from $350 to $450 a month for a child. The average is about $4,000 a year.

One incumbent, one former town councilor and one newcomer to politics have filed for two seats on the Gorham Town Council. Calvin Hamblen, who has served five terms, is not running for re-election. Incumbent John Alden, former councilor Philip Dugas and Robert Frazier all filed to run in the Nov. 4 election. School Committee incumbents Jane Golding and Michael Wojtal are running unopposed.

State Sen. Bill O’Gara (D-Westbrook) will hold three public hearings to get input from citizens on how a state budget surplus should be used. They’ll be held Sept. 29 at Gorham High School, Sept. 30 at Wescott Junior High School and Oct. 1 at the George E. Jack School in Standish.

Penalties. Fumbles. Sacks. It wasn’t a pretty performance by either team as Cheverus hosted Westbrook High School’s football team Saturday afternoon. In the end, Cheverus came out on top 13-0 after breaking through the game-long offensive drought with a 54-yard TD pass play and a blocked punt that set up a one-yard run into the end zone.

Samuel D. Warren built Cumberland Hall, also known as the Warren Block, in 1882 for the benefit of S.D. Warren Co. employees and their families. The company sponsored family-oriented events, and in 1905 gymnasium was added. Over the years, these family events declined and the building was sold, becoming occupied by various businesses. A Masonic Lodge, Odd Fellows Lodge and the Knights of Pythias were at one time located in the building. Some of the more notable businesses were the Paine Pharmacy, U.S. Post Office, Cobb Printing, Westbrook Trust Co., Kentucky Fried Chicken and Cumberland Hall Gymnasium. To see more historical photos and artifacts, visit the Westbrook Historical Society at the Fred C. Wescott Building, 426 Bridge St. Inquiries can be emailed to [email protected] The website is www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org.    

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