Thousands of visitors from town and across the United States flocked to Scarborough’s 350th anniversary celebration to enjoy a weekend of revelry unmarred by bad weather, bad luck, or even – for the most part – parking problems.

“I thought it was perfect from start to finish,” said event planner Judi Clancy, who has spent the last few years as the sole paid staff member of the $100,000-plus celebration.

“I couldn’t have imagined that it could have been better. It was perfect,” she said of the July 10-14 event.

Since admission to all events was free, there’s no official tally – or even estimate – of how many people attended. An estimated 3,000 people participated in and viewed the parade, and at least 400 attended the all-class reunion at the high school. There were no real estimates for attendance at other events, such as the concert by headliner Rustic Overtones, because people parked throughout town.

Somehow, there were no car accidents, no medical mishaps, and only a dozen or so cases of heat exhaustion over the four-day weekend, said Fire Chief Michael Thurlow.

Organizers credited the outpouring of support in the Scarborough community for the event’s success. Hundreds of local businesses made financial and in-kind contributions, including 150 volunteers who underwent background checks to work for the 350th committee and hundreds more who helped out at the dozens of nonprofit vendors, intertribal powwow and other events.

“It was a huge feat,’ said Ron Ahlquist, vice chairman of the Town Council. “I literally heard no complaints about any of it, from the parking to the vans to the class reunions, it all went well. I think it was a wonderful way to tie the past to the present. I think the people did a wonderful job of recognizing their roots and the history of Scarborough and making it relevant to today. There’s a lot of new people in town and it’s a great way to bring everyone together as a community.”

People attended the intertribal powwow from as far away as California and South Dakota, and the all-class high school reunion from as far away as Arizona and Alaska.

“We kind of thought we’d get a lot here, but we had no idea we’d get so many,” said Carol Rancourt, a town councilor and reunion organizer. “This is a huge success.”

It was a long journey that brought Dorothy Wood Turk to the 2008 Scarborough High School all-class reunion.

Seventy-three years, to be exact.

One of more than 400 graduates who attended the all-class reunion at the new high school Friday night – held as part of the town’s 350th anniversary celebration – Turk is now 91 years old and remembers high school better than some of today’s 20-year-olds. And, like Scarborough grads from the decades after her, she had a tale to tell.

Graduating in 1935 in the height of the Depression, Dorothy Wood was student council secretary and already engaged to athlete and heartthrob Ernest Turk, who proposed to her in a barn behind the principal’s house their senior year.

Short on money and long on love, the couple married in New Hampshire in October 1935, and hitchhiked back to Maine because they couldn’t afford bus tickets.

Town councilors on Monday night took a major step toward bringing wind power to Cape Elizabeth, approving an ordinance that would allow windmills on municipal land.

The intent is to build a trial windmill to see just how productive – and disruptive – small scale, “personal” wind turbines could be.

Currently, Cape Elizabeth does not allow wind turbines of any kind, to the considerable irritation of several residents who want to build them.

Councilors say they are fully in support of renewable energy, but they’re concerned that windmills would be loud, disruptive, divisive, and damaging to property values if they were allowed to spring up unregulated.

Also, no one knows just how productive Cape Elizabeth’s coastal winds could be, and whether small-scale wind turbines would be worth the cost of constructing them and the visual disruption and noise they could cause.

An 18-year-old Belarusian student who dreamed of being a journalist and raising a large family is being mourned by friends and coworkers in Scarborough after her tragic death.

Sviatlana “Sveta” Auseichyk was stuck by a motorist July 3 on Route 1 as she bicycled home from work with two friends. She died July 9 at Maine Medical Center, Scarborough police said.

A Portland law firm that pledged to provide on-call legal help instead of charging per hour to send an attorney to City Council meetings is the finalist in South Portland’s bid to outsource legal services.

At a City Council workshop Monday night, city leaders expressed support for privatizing South Portland’s legal services and hiring Jensen Baird Gardner & Henry.

The law firm is proposing to help the city save money on its $150-an-hour fee – the market rate for municipal legal services – by letting attorneys advise by phone, rather than sitting for hours in City Council meetings.

City Manager Jim Gailey said he expects the city will need, on average, 14-20 hours of legal help a week.

Cape Elizabeth’s fitness center, poised to become a privately operated facility as late as last week, will remain a municipal service operated by Community Services, town officials say.

The Town Council had planned to lease the fitness center to a private operator under a plan that was part of the 2008-09 municipal budget, which took effect July 1.

Southern Maine residents are invited to an old-fashioned community festival in South Portland Saturday – complete with free pony rides, hot dogs and a brass band – to honor public safety workers and military personnel.

More than 1,000 visitors are expected to turn out at Memorial Middle School for Honor Our Heroes Day, an effort by area churches, the city of South Portland, the Portland Sea Dogs and several businesses to say thank you to men and women who are emergency workers and in the armed services.

Eric Samuelson, senior pastor of the Rock Church of South Portland – the lead organizer – said the outdoor celebration is “a very tangible way for the community to show its appreciation for the service and sacrifice individuals and families make.”

The South Portland Parks Department has created a flower bed in a city park that features the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s “Share the Road” logo. The bed, at the base of a Civil War monument, shows a bicycle with a car behind it and the words “Share the Road,” all spelled out in landscaping plants.

The small, triangle-shaped park on top of Meeting House Hill has a different display each year. In recent years, park workers created a tugboat, a lobster and a peace dove.

Sarah Neuts, operations manager for the parks department, said she racked her brain this year for a new idea, but came up dry.

Performing with the band Castlebay, Julia Lane of Round Pond plays her harp under the gazebo at Memorial Park in Scarborough in this photo from July 18, 2008, taken at the Scarborough 350th celebration.


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