Police begin teen driving safety campaign

Starting this week, Westbrook police will be out looking to improve safety for teen drivers.

With funding from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, Westbrook Police will be patrolling and looking for instances of unsafe teen driving. This can include texting while driving, racing or driving while impaired and other violations.

According to Captain Tom Roth, Westbrook Police hope the increased enforcement efforts will cause teens to think twice before engaging in dangerous activities. Nationally, 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal accidents were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

Additionally, 21 percent of motorists between the ages of 15 and 19 involved in fatal accidents were distracted by the use of cell phones.

Aside from just ticketing offenders, Westbrook Police will be warning young motorists when appropriate.

“We want our teen drivers to comply with the law, so we hope this message gets out to the teens and they drive accordingly,” Roth said in a statement.

Westbrook officers will be monitoring areas frequented by minors, along with the entire city, looking for the following violations: texting while driving (distracted driving), teen operating under the influence violations, teen aggressive driving/racing/speeding, teen seat-belt violations and interim license violations.

“In 2011, 14 percent of our accidents involved teen drivers and in 2012, that percentage increased to 16 percent,” said Roth, citing one of the reasons the department applied for the funding.

Roth said this grant provides funding to assign officers directly to this problem, at no personnel costs to the city and without impacting staffing levels or impacting the department’s response to calls for service.

Home Care sets wreath stroll

MAS Home Care of Maine is holding its second annual “Wreath Stroll” to benefit Stockings for Seniors.

The Wreath Stroll auction will be 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, at MAS Home Care of Maine, 21 Saco St., Westbrook.

Holiday wreaths designed and decorated by local businesses will be auctioned off in a silent auction during the event. Refreshments will be available during the stroll.

All proceeds from the auction will benefit Stocking for Seniors, MAS Home Care’s nonprofit holiday organization, which delivers holiday gifts to seniors in the community.

Those interested in decorating a wreath, or have questions about the “Wreath Stroll,” should contact Tracy Burnham at 591-4457 or email [email protected].

Festival plans under way

Publicity chairwoman Jan Jaworski has announced that the annual Festival of Trees opens on Saturday, Dec. 7, through Saturday, Dec. 14, for a weeklong slate of activities at Westbrook-Warren Congregational Church, UCC, at 810 Main St., Westbrook.

Opening day includes a breakfast with Santa from 8:30-11 a.m.; a festival public feast from 5-6 p.m.; and a sleigh ride at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free except for the feast and the Tips for Charity luncheon. Proceeds from donations and contributions will benefit local charities.

Returning exhibits include the miniature room settings and the model train display titled this year “Olden Days Out West.

For festival updates and schedule, visit www.westbrookfestivaloftrees.com.

Three Westbrook women reunite earlier this year at Riverbank Park in Westbrook. They are, from left, Lacy Dugas, Sara Ettinger, and Leah Douglass.  “They all taught at different schools in South Korea in 2012-2013,” said Dugas’ mother, Junie Dugas, who contributed the photo.

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