Three days of food booths, craft booths and kiddie rides in Riverbank Park will be punctuated with a series of special events under the theme, “We the People,” as Westbrook holds its ninth annual Westbrook Together festival, June 17-19. Highlights include a big parade from Lincoln and Bridge streets to the park at 10 a.m. Saturday and a half-hour of fireworks at the high school at 9 p.m. Everything is scheduled, rain or shine.

It won’t be as easy as the architects expected to cut a new entrance through the old foundation of Walker Memorial Library. This problem in building the addition to the library is costing the city up to $5,000 more for architect’s and engineer’s services and an unestimated amount more for construction. The problem came to light when excavation for the addition laid bare part of the library’s foundation. What is smooth concrete on the inside was found to be a foundation of stones and loose mortar on the outside. It’s expected now that several pours of concrete will be needed to keep the old foundation under control with the new opening is made.

The request by Shaw Brothers to expand its Gambo Road gravel pit promises to kick up a dust storm of controversy. The plan to expand the pit from 26 to 62 acres received an initial hearing in separate meeting last week before Gorham’s planning and zoning boards, who both tabled it to gather more information. Both boards heard a lot from one of the pit’s neighbors, Galen Chambers, White Rock Road, who is angry about the dust problems caused by the pit. Chambers had earlier disassociated himself with a group of around 20 other neighbors who attended the zoning board meeting to oppose the plan by saying, “They are sane and I am not.” Shaw said he had not heard any criticism from Chambers about the pit until the meeting.

Sometime soon, you may find Westbrook’s building inspector, engineering staff, planning director and staff lawyer in offices on the second floor of the manual training building behind the old high school. Aldermen, meeting in committee May 6, asked Mayor Philip Spiller to negotiate with the School Department for the use of the building, or title to it, and to look for $150,000 to build the offices. The building now is used only for storage of school supplies. Moving some offices from City Hall to the manual training building also would take pressure of the City Hall parking lot, which will have to be shared with the expanded Walker Memorial Library.

Over the vociferous objections of some area residents, the Gorham Zoning Board of Appeals granted approval last week to University of Southern Maine’s plans to start a day care center in buildings leased from the First Parish Church on School Street. Residents argued that the area was not a safe location for a day care center because of already existing traffic congestion. While they liked the idea of a day care center, they felt it would make traffic problems worse. The board granted approval with conditions: that there be a designated bus turn-in, traffic lights and a School Zone sign be installed if the police deem it necessary, the town apply to the state for a 15 mph zone in that area, a sidewalk be installed on the south side of Church Street between the parking lot and the old parish house. The day care will serve up to 157 students.

The Gorham Arts Council will sponsor its sixth annual Celebrate Gorham day July 2, with most activities at Robie Field. The all-day festival will begin with a road race, and will include a parade, food booths, children’s activities booths and all-day entertainment.

June 17, 1998

Westbrook High School was evacuated for 45 minutes Wednesday after a student reported he overheard two students talking about a bomb. He did not see who they were. He told a teacher, who told Principal William Michaud and Assistant Principal Peter Curran. Michaud called police. “The response was almost instantaneous,” Michaud said. Firemen and police responded, and the school was evacuated. “We didn’t know if we had a situation or not,” said Michaud. Within minutes, they found the students who talked about the bomb. And talk was all it was. “It was just an innocent conversation,” said Michaud.

As the search for a new Gorham school superintendent is coming to a close, the search for a new high school principal is just beginning. Barry Atwood, vice chairman of the School Committee, said the search for a new superintendent has narrowed to Dr. Ronald Snyder, currently the superintendent in Gardiner, and Dr. Irene Bender, superintendent in Upper Marion, Pa. Both have visited Gorham and toured buildings. Interim superintendent Roy Bishop has not announced where he will go once the new person has taken the job. The search for the new high school principal has been put on hold until the superintendent is hired. About 20 resumes for the job had been received. The current principal, Earl Turleott, is leaving after only one year on the job. He replaced Steve Rogers, who left after several years as assistant principal to take a principal position at a Portland Middle School.

The request by Gorham Football Inc. for a junior varsity high school team was tabled by the Gorham School Committee until June 18’s meeting. Gorham Football, the booster organization for the Grizzlies youth football teams, was coming off a victory at the Town Council meeting last week, when it was given permission to keep its concession stand on the Chick property year round. Gorham Football wants to establish a high school football program in Gorham. Home games would be played on the Chick land.

The Westbrook High School boys track team finished in seventh place among 29 schools during the state Class A track meet June 6 at Bowdoin College. Freshman Mike Barris placed third in the 100 meter dash and senior Ted Schirrmacher was fifth in the 400 meter. Cheverus High School won the meet.

The Common Ground Cafe? in Gorham Village has closed. The gourmet cafe? was owned and run by a chapter of the Twelve Tribes, a worldwide spiritual organization begun in the early 1980s in Vermont. Scott Herrick, the manager of the cafe? and leader of the group in Gorham, said the cafe? was profitable and the move had nothing to do with business. He said the Twelve Tribes is centralizing its operations in New York State. Herrick and Common Ground were in Gorham for two years. Until recently, they ran a farm on Finn Parker Road, which at one point had 25 people. The six remaining members have been living in an apartment above the cafe? for the past few months. “We hope to come back,” said Herrick.

Main Street looking east from Saco Street, was taken in the early 1970s.
Bailey Auto Supply on the first floor, with apartments on the upper floors. Stultz Auto Supply occupied the building next to it. Roger LeClerc’s Shell Station (later Exxon) can also be seen. Yudy’s tire plant and retail store were on Main Street at the corner of Saco Street and can be seen in the right of the photo. Stultz Auto Supply closed and the building was then occupied by Hydraulic Hose & Assembly until it moved to Gorham. Bailey’s Auto Supply closed and the first-floor businesses at that location are a beauty shop and Village Dry Cleaners. Roger LeClerc’s Exxon station is now closed. Yudy’s also closed and that building, known as Maine Rubber, is scheduled to be razed. The other photo shows the Maine Rubber facility taken while the building was still being used as a trolley car barn. 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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