Jan. 13, 1988

Westbrook aldermen agreed this week to disregard a new problem holding up Walker Memorial Library expansion – too many auto accidents nearby to meet Westbrook’s safe-location standards. They voted 5-2 on first reading to change the zoning ordinance so that the bad accident record won’t interfere with city building plans. At the same meeting, aldermen accepted another $30,000 in expenses to buy and develop parking land for the library and City Hall. The cost will be additional to the $1.3 million for construction at the library. They also allowed an application to the federal government for $30,000 more.

The zoning ordinance change would make the library expansion a “permitted” use. As the zoning ordinance reads now, the library expansion would be a “conditional” use, and one of the conditions is that the area meet state standards for traffic safety. It doesn’t.

The floor plans for the proposed expansion of the Gorham Municipal Center have been released. The area of major expansion will house police department facilities, with a new fire department meeting and training room on the second floor. Gorham voters will decide the fate of the proposed expansion in a special referendum June 7. The committee recommending the proposal had come reluctantly to the decision that an expansion of the municipal center was required, after scrapping an earlier plan to move the school superintendent’s office to the Village School as part of renovations there. The committee favored the idea of keeping all town services under one roof. The plan, according to Police Chief David Kurz, is to put the project out to bid in April and May. The town expects to choose among the bidders prior to the election so that voters will have a definite projected cost to consider.

A stunned and bleeding barred owl, found on the sidewalk near LaVerdiere’s in Westbrook at 1 a.m. on Jan. 5, was fit and back in the wild after three days of care by Westbrook Animal Control Officer David Sparks. Public Works workers found the owl, bleeding from the mouth and unable to fly, and notified police, who got Sparks to rescue it. He took it to his home off Rousseau Road. Sparks said he thought the owl must have flown into a car, because owls are such good fliers that it is unlikely one would fly into a building or other non-moving object.

Lyle J. Cookson, 18, of Westbrook, was awarded the highest honor in Boy Scouts – the Eagle Award – at a ceremony Jan. 4. He is a 1987 graduate of Westbrook High School and a freshman at Boston University, studying physics.

Arthur’s Restaurant & Pub, 888 Main St., Westbrook, all-you-can-eat special Monday and Tuesday: Spaghetti and sauce, $4.25; spaghetti and meatballs, $5.50. Served with salad, bread and butter.

Jan. 14. 1998

An ice storm for the record books started a week ago today and the troubles it brought aren’t over yet. The cost: Immeasurable. Merchants lost trade. With massive, days’-long power outages, Central Maine Power is talking about a temporary rate increase, its losses were so high. Banks had to close temporarily. Oil dealers lost business as houses, stores and offices went cold. Schools closed. Workers lost wages. Westbrook Mayor Don Esty called a meeting Monday night to address the state of emergency efforts in the city. Esty stressed personal safety, both in the past week and in the days to come. School Superintendent Robert Hall said schools would remain closed, even though they now have power back. But, he said, “40 percent of our staff has no power,” and are “struggling to keep their houses warm and families safe.” Gorham will have missed at least five days due to the storm and may miss more because the White Rock School still had no power as of yesterday. The storm also wreaked havoc with school sports schedules, with athletic directors trying to figure out how to reschedule the vast number of games canceled. According to Dick Tyler of the Maine State Principal’s Association, the group has never had to deal with a situation of this magnitude. “Off hand, I cannot think of a school district in the state that hasn’t been affected by this storm,” he said.

The Kiwanis Club of Westbrook and the Key Club of Westbrook High School, which Kiwanis sponsors, hosted a meeting in the school cafeteria for parents and guests of Key Club members. More than 80 attended. Peter Curran and Janice Ryder, Key Club advisers, spoke of the history of the club and the community service projects completed over the years. Kiwanis is in the middle of a membership drive and welcomes guests at its meetings at Vallee’s Steak House.

Madeleine Broadhurst, who recently moved into a new condo in Gorham Village, was surprised by a house-warming given by her children, Julie and Malcolm Graves, Sarah and Kevin, New Hampshire; Ron and Tammy Broadhurst, Nick and Jessica, Scarborough; Deborah and Kevin Elwell, Zachery and Jana, Readfield; and Lori Broadhurst, Gorham. Several friends and relatives also attended.

The 900-megawatt gas-fueled electric generating station proposed for Gorham passed another round of scrutiny before the Town Council, and American National Power’s plans for building the $400 million facility on the Ross Grant property near Mosher’s Corner inched closer to reality. At a presentation before the council, plant officials said the project would take 22 months and 900 people to build.

David Sparks, Westbrook’s animal control officer, finally managed to catch a young yellow Lab he’d been trying to bring to safety since Dec. 22. “Why anyone would dump her, I don’t know,” said Sparks, stroking the dog’s head through a cage at the Animal Refuge League, where she is being held until she can be adopted. The safe capture of the shy, elusive dog took some two weeks. The dog now weighs about 35 pounds. Sparks said she should weigh closer to 60. Overall, considering she has had to fend for herself, her health is excellent.

The building barely visible on the right is 795 Main St., the former John W. Hay Funeral Home. The next building is 799 Main St., known for many years as the Sutermeister House for the family that occupied it. The next building, at 805 Main St., was originally the Marion Hotel and became an apartment house when the hotel closed at the turn of the century. The next building, 813 Main St., was also an apartment house. All of these with the exception of the Hay building at 795 Main St. were demolished. A small park with a gazebo occupies the site of these buildings. 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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