June 28, 1989

Marty Blair, administrative assistant to Westbrook’s Mayor Philip Spiller since 1985, submitted her resignation Thursday. She will leave Aug. 4 and become a full-time student at the University of Southern Maine, seeking a master’s degree in education. She has told Spiller and the council that if six weeks proves not to be enough time for her successor to be picked and installed, she will help keep things going for a time.

Westbrook City Council’s Finance Committee learned Monday night that the city’s $32.45 tax rate would have to rise $3.11 to meet the requests of school and city departments for the 1989-90 school year. The figure is higher than anyone likes, said Finance Committee Chairman Fred Wescott, and his committee will be trying tonight to bring it down. The Finance Committee got some hard news from City Assessor James Jessen: Total property values for the 1989-90 budget year will be $5.5 million less than expected due to changes in S.D. Warren’s valuation. The loss will hike the projected tax rate by 52 cents for $1,000 of valuation. The difference means that the council will have $175,000-$200,000 less than it expected to have to meet the higher costs of school and city spending requests in the year ahead.

The Children’s Theatre of Maine is putting on the biggest performance of its long life in its struggle to hang onto its dream of transforming the old Westbrook High School into a performing arts center. The group was granted a 25-year least on the building, at $1 a year, by the city three years ago. In return, the group agreed to renovate the old building. Those costs – an estimated $1.7 million – have made the project appear unrealistic. But Dan Glover, who became interested in the group while looking for a home for his organization, the Sister Cities of Greater Portland, said he thinks the $1.7 million can be pared down. Originally a figure of $60,000 was thought to be adequate and the group began tearing out walls and heating fixtures. Now the building is gutted and no new renovations have been started. Glover and others will be spending the summer trying to put together a new board of directors for the theater group.

Based on an axiom of business that says, “Find a need and fill it,” the Bookworm Book Store has opened at 42 Main St. in Gorham. Owners are Marianne Ciancolo, Sheri Faber and Linda Jackson. The women met through their volunteer work at Gorham schools and have combined a need for literature with good old Yankee trading. The bookstore features new and used paperbacks. Customers receive credit on used paperbacks by bringing in some of their own for trade. New paperbacks are sold at retail. The store also carries gifts, greeting cards and locally made craft items.

June 30, 1999

Westbrook, South Portland and Scarborough, along with Lewiston and Auburn, all contain sites that have made the U.S. Postal Service’s first cut in its search of a location for a new mail-handling center. The Westbrook site is old farmland off the County Road behind Maine Surgical Supply. There are two sites in Scarborough, one on Scarborough Downs property and another at a Grondin family quarry site off Musey Road. “By the end of August of the first of September,” the list will be narrowed to one final site, Bob Groff, Postal Service spokesman, said Monday.

Band concerts in Riverside Park in Westbrook begin Wednesday, July 7, and run weekly through Aug. 25. Bands include SixBlues Day Week, The Big Band, Pam Baker Blue Plate Special, Y2K, Common Ground, Tony Boffa, Al Doane and The Phil Rich Band.

The Mission Possible Teen Center, Bridge Street, Westbrook, is adding two new staff members to expand the center’s programs and outreach efforts. Jon Morris will join the center as summer youth services outreach coordinator. Annette Lemek will work as the center’s program coordinator. The center will also expand its hours during the summer.

Morrill Avenue residents are distressed over the possibility that Gorham’s Recreation Department will put something in Robie Park other than trees. The park was home to a mature stand of pine trees that were decimated in the ice storm of January 1998 and a windstorm last fall. Without the trees, Morrill Avenue residents said that they can hear all of the noise from the nearby Gorham High School and Shaw Junior High School, including bells and cheering from sporting events. Residents want the town to replant the trees that were lost. Cindy Hazelton, recreation director, said that a public forum on plans for the park will be held Aug. 18.

Westbrook’s new school superintendent, Stanley J. Sawyer, has signed a three-year contract with the school department that begins Aug. 1. The School Committee voted 5-0 to name retiring Superintendent Robert Hall interim superintendent for the month of July. The committee also awarded Hall a $13,000 retirement bonus, an increase from the $6,000 he was entitled to by contract. After more than 30 years, Hall’s departing salary is $72,380. Sawyer will start at $86,500 without a health insurance benefit.

In the school year that just ended, four grandchildren of Annette Wescott, Brackett Street, and the late Mayor Fred C. Wescott attended the school named for him, Wescott Junior High School. Rachel Wescott and Joseph Wescott were in the eighth grade. Marcia Wescott and David Wescott were in the sixth grade. The girls are daughter of Wayne and Diane Wescott; the boys are sons of Fred C. Wescott Jr. and Brenda Trepanier.

Larry and Suzan Sweeney, Megan, Ben and Emily, have moved back to Gorham after 51?2 years in Columbia, S.C. Suzan is the daughter of Royce and Sal O’Donal, Mitchell Hill Road. They are temporarily living in Suzan’s grandmother’s house on Burnham Road while they look for a new home in the area. She is employed by Unum and everyone is happy to be back in Maine.


50 YEARS AGO

The Westbrook American reported on June 24, 1964, that Ruth Ricker of Gorham received a special award for production at an insurance company gathering in North Conway, N.H.

Mr. and Mrs. Ensley Lang and Mrs. Nellie Lord of Bar Mills had motored through northern New Hampshire and into Vermont the previous weekend.


The American Legion Hallat 17 Dunn St. was built in 1929 by local contractor O.G.K. Robinson. The Legion occupied the first floor and the second floor was a large open space designed for use by Westbrook High School, which was then located around the corner at 765 Main St. Since this was a community project to help the school system, S.D. Warren Co. provided carpenters, electricians and plumbers to assist in the construction of this building at no charge. The building was used between 1930 and 1936 as a gym and for graduation ceremonies. In 1935, the Methodist Church sold a parcel of land at the rear of their church to the city and in 1936 the city constructed a two-story wing onto the high school with a large gymnasium on the first floor and classrooms on the second floor. The school department no longer had a need for the Dunn Street building and the American Legion took over the second floor to use for dances and other functions. The Westbrook Historical Society was located there before its move to the community center in 2012. To see more historical photos and artifacts, visit the Westbrook Historical Society at the Fred C. Wescott Building, 426 Bridge St. It is open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon, and the first Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m., September-June. Inquiries can be emailed to [email protected] The website is www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org.


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