March 29, 1989

The American Journal has been reliably informed that the Ross Grant site near Mosher’s Corner in Gorham is being considered as the site of a regional stump dump, one of two that would serve Cumberland County. The source said negotiations have been held between Ross Grant officials and staff members of the Demolition Policy Committee, a regional panel coordinated by Regional Waste Systems and the Great Portland Council of Governments. The goal of such negotiations would be obtaining an option on the property so that the demolition policy staffers can go in and do the extensive testing needed to determine if the site is ultimately suitable.

Gary Drinkwater, owner of the Lumber Shop woodcraft and basketry supply shop on Route 302 in Westbrook, got a call and a $50 order last week from one of the country’s more famous amateur cabinetmakers – ex-President Jimmy Carter. The order was for 400 feet of split ash strips for caning some cherrywood chairs Carter is making. The ash is predominantly a northern tree, and Carter looked to New England to find what he needed for his chair. Carter talked with Drinkwater for about 10 minutes. Drinkwater said Carter is an excellent woodworker who made some furniture for the White House. He said Carter said he was making chairs out of cherry and wanted to put ash splint seats on them. “That’s what the pattern calls for and that’s what I want to use,” he quotes Carter. Drinkwater invited the president to drop in if he ever is in the area.

A recent string of cool nights and warm days has made 1989 a good year for maple syrup, not just for the state’s two dozen or so commercial producers, but also for the hundreds of Mainers who hang buckets in their own yards. Among the latter is Peter Larrivee of Gray Road in Gorham, who has been converting sap to syrup for the past 15 springs at his home. “Doing this is no way to get rich. But it’s a real good way to get outdoors,” he said.

Frank Piffath of Advanced Engineering presented his plan for a 50-lot subdivision on Libby Avenue near Main Street to the Gorham Planning Board last week. The plan, up for preliminary approval, left board member Mary Collins troubled before it was tabled. “This is a development that will try my soul,” she said. Her concern was shared by other board members as they tried to reconcile their wish for affordable housing with the clustered, unusual orientation of condos Piffath is proposing for Spruce Ledge. The subdivision is planned as a cluster development on 15.1 acres of the former Pennell property. The developers plan to reserve 2.8 acres as open space to be held in common by a homeowners association.

Icy Bay Seafood, a new retailer of fresh and cooked seafoods, opened this week at 10 Cumberland St., Westbrook, in the Warren Block. Ken Shanholtz, the owner, grew up in West Virginia but the Coast Guard sent him to Maine. At age 44, he now has about 20 years’ experience in the lobster business. He will sell lobsters and a variety of other seafood, and takeout orders of lobster, shrimp and crabmeat rolls and seafood chowder. He is assisted by Ed Cornish of Portland, who also has long experience in the fish business.

March 31, 1999

Instead of using revenue from the $400 million natural gas power plan planned off Route 25 in Gorham to cut taxes, town councilors were to vote in a special meeting last night on a tax increment financing district giving American National Power Co. a $25 million tax break it didn’t ask for and putting $123 million in additional tax revenue from the plan into a spending account to fund a long list of special projects during the next 30 years. Residents’ property tax bills would be cut nearly in half if the gas plant were taxed normally. Instead, under the TIF, the leftover revenue from the gas plan would knock only about $1 off the town’s $19.80 property tax rate. The council was to vote last night on sending a charter change to referendum May 18 that would allow the council to spend unlimited amounts of money as long as they don’t have to borrow to do it. The council now is limited to spending $250,000 on single capital projects.

The name of Leona Glidden, 87 Spring St., Westbrook, was drawn yesterday and she was declared winner of the American Journal’s 1999 Easter Egg Scramble. Her prizes include two dozen dinner rolls from Amato’s Bakery, gift certificates from Haven’s Candies and Shop ‘N Save, an Easter ham from Smaha’s Legion Square Market and an Easter cake from Cakes Extraordinaire.

The Westbrook City Council’s Committee of the Whole said Monday, without a vote on anything, that nothing will be changed while the current litigation with The Hamlet owners is being disputed. They are suing the city to try to get the rent control ordinance abolished. A crowd from The Hamlet showed up at the meeting.

Gorham’s School Street United Methodist Church plans to move into a new church at the corner of Route 25 and Cressey Road, but the sounds of organ music may continue from the downtown building that has been its home for the past 119 years. David Wallace has expressed an interest in purchasing the church at 29 School St. to house his pipe organ restoration business, currently located at 147 County Road.

Westbrook High School will lose 98 Poland students and about $500,000 in tuition revenue this fall. That means between four and nine teachers will have to be laid off, and Superintendent Robert Hall is eager to attract new Raymond students to lessen the impact. The overcrowded Windham High School is shutting out Raymond students after next year. About 100 are enrolled this year. Westbrook expects 58 Raymond students next year, but Hall is hoping that number will grow because of the Windham situation.

The new 17,000-square-foot Gorham Post Office is nearly a third complete and on target to open early this fall, according to architect Harriman Associates of Auburn. The steel farming on the former F.S. Plummer property at 25 Mechanic St., behind Shop ‘N Save, has been up for weeks and will be covered by brick veneer. A wall of windows will flank the entry and oversized windows 10 feet tall will be installed along the sides of the building. The Gorham Post Office has 31 employees, but will add six when construction is completed.

50 YEARS AGO

The Westbrook American reported on March 25, 1964, that Larry Gallant of South Gorham would be three years old on March 27 and that Felgar Nicely of Mighty Street in Gorham would be 14 on March 31.

Lena Libby of Gorham was a dinner guest of Mrs. Samuel Purintan of West Buxton.

The Agway Farm & Garden Store was located at 33 Central St. for many years. The building had a railroad siding to send and receive merchandise when railroad tracks occupied the present-day William Clarke Drive. Early Tuesday morning, Jan. 22, 1985, a spectacular fire destroyed the Agway Store. The site was cleared and remained vacant for a number of years. Anderson-Watkins Insurance Co. purchased the land and constructed a new building and parking lot. The address was changed to 31 Central St. 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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