April 5, 1989

Westbrook taxpayers will pay $2.15 more for each $1,000 worth of their property if the City Council approves both the city and school budgets as proposed. That means a $34.60 tax rate, up 6.6 percent over this year’s $32.45. But aldermen and tax assessors sometimes have other ideas. Last year, between them, they chopped a proposed $3.63 increase to 33 cents. Aldermen took home Monday a 20-pound, 400-page book with the details of Mayor Philip Spiller’s proposed spending and revenues.

Westbrook wants to sue former City Council President Charles Malcolm Roma for back rent. The mayor and aldermen voted Monday to ask City Solicitor Michael Cooper for a little research on whether a lawsuit is worth it. The city says Roma owes $3,498.95 in taxes on the former Warren parsonage, plus interest of $301.72, a total of $3,800.67. Cooper’s job is to find out how much probably would be netted if the city went to the expense of taking Roma to court. Roma reportedly now lives in New Hampshire. The city treasurer brought his unpaid tax bill to the council’s attention because the house is now in pieces, being moved farther out Cumberland Street for new owners Marland and Schonen Wing. Roma bought the parsonage from the city for $1 and agreed to pay taxes on both the house and the land.

An open house will be held from 1-4 p.m. April 8 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Westbrook Rescue Squad. Several of the founders and original members of the squad got together last week to plan the event.

Donation jars have been set up at Westbrook variety stores and City Hall for Rodney Bridges and his son Shaun, who were badly burned in a fire at their Webb Street apartment March 24. A relative says the family primarily needs help with medical expenses as father and son undergo extensive treatment for their burns. The family has medical insurance but some expenses are not covered, such as the daily trips by Shaun’s mother Terri to visit him at the Shriner’s Burn Hospital in Boston. Shaun, 5, suffered third degree burns over 60 percent of his body. His father, who is at Maine Medical Center, suffered third degree burns on 50 percent of his body.

The Gorham School Department is facing the unknown – the cost of removing asbestos from the Village School in conjunction with the major school expansion project now under way at the site. At a meeting March 22, the Gorham School Committee hired Northeast Test Consultants to draw up asbestos abatement plans for the Village School. The costs won’t be known until the company has a plan and the project is put out to bid.

A farewell meeting was held by the Junior Victory 4-H club at the home of their outgoing leader, Heidi Dunlap, Barstow Road, Gorham. Heidi is getting married April 22 to B.J. Thuotte. Led by Martha Leighton, Wilson Road, their new leader, the members presented the couple with an ongoing project they had completed – a beautiful hand stenciled country pattern quilt that each member signed.

April 7, 1999

University of Southern Maine may expand its campus housing in Gorham in the next five years. Students are said to favor a suite complex with kitchens. Vice President of Student Development Judy Ryan and Director of Gorham Student Life Joe Austin told the Student Senate that they hope to send a request for proposals to designers by summer. Dorms are at capacity, and more students are coming in the fall.

The Gorham Town Council voted last week for the first and final approval of a tax increment financing district that will give the developer of a natural gas power plant a $55 million tax break and put 90 percent of the rest of its taxes, $123 million, into a special spending account.

Westbrook’s municipal officers voted 6-1 (O’Hara) Monday to give first-read OK to a 120-day moratorium on issuing new liquor licenses over a broad stretch of Westbrook. The outlines are from Bridge Street to Brown Street to Cumberland Street, around the Cumberland Mills triangle, then via Main Street and William Clarke Drive back to Main and Bridge. Included is everything inside those bounds and also anything abutting on the other sides of the perimeter streets.

Deb Tremblay and Jeff Hale, the owners of Redbrook Equestrian Farm in Gorham, are running a contest to name a new colt born March 28. He is the offspring of a pair of wild horses they acquired two years ago from the Federal Bureau of Land Management.

Superintendent Robert Hall is proposing a 1999-2000 Westbrook school budget that would drop spending by $308,000. Hall will present the $20.7 million budget to the School Committee April 7. Mostly due to Poland students’ departure from Westbrook High School, the outside tuition, the School Department expects a revenue drop – from $1.2 million to $390,000. Hall is proposing to lay off the nine high school teachers who were hired with the Poland money with the understanding it was a temporary assignment.

A group of 40 Morrill Ave. neighbors and other Gorham residents are hoping the Town Council will be able to reverse the effect Mother Nature has had on Robie Park, an area between Gorham High School and Shaw School that was stripped of trees by last year’s ice storm. A petition asks the council to reforest the park to revert it back to its “forever wild” state. Councilors were scheduled to talk about the petition at its meeting last night.

The Family Dollar Store chain will be moving into the former Rite Aid-LaVerdiere’s space at 880 Main St., Westbrook, a worker for the chain reported Monday. The store should be opening in mid-May, he said.

Brown Street is by far Westbrook’s busiest hot spot for police calls, but residents have launched an organized effort to change that. What started as the Brown Street Neighborhood Watch in September is now the Frenchtown Neighborhood Watch, encompassing the area in a triangle between the Presumpscot River, Bridge Street and Cumberland Street. The group is targeting absentee landlords, has set up a phone tree to alert residents of safety issues, hopes to plant some trees and is planning to hold a neighborhood clean-up day this spring.

Twenty-one girls have turned out for Westbrook High School’s newest athletic team, but a majority had never picked up a lacrosse stick before they started practicing two weeks ago. Organizer and coach Richard Bouthilette won approval for his team plans from the Westbrook School Committee less than one month ago.

50 YEARS AGO

The Westbrook American reported on April 1, 1964, that Mrs. Emery Bowdoin of Gorham was to be hostess when the Missionary Society of First Parish Church met at her home.

Myra McKenney of Bar Mills was home after spending the winter months with her children in New York, Maryland, and South Carolina.

Built in 1825 by Nathaniel Wakefield, this house was located on Main Street next to the Walker Memorial Library. Bryce M. Edwards acquired the house and lived there for many years. He operated a hardware and dry goods business on Main Street at Bridge Street. The house was occupied in later years by Frank H. McCann, Edwards’ grandson and was referred to from then on as the McCann House. It was torn down in 1964 to make way for a Deering Ice Cream Restaurant, which opened in March 1965. The Westbrook restaurant later closed and the building is presently occupied by the dental office of Dr. Paul C. Cloutier. 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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