The rescue by fire department officials of a dog that fell through thin ice on Ossipee Lake in December gave people in the Waterboro area and beyond a good feeling. The dog spent the afternoon after his ordeal in front of a warm fire, and had doggy ice cream as a treat. Waterboro Fire Department shared their rescue photographs with the news media ”“ a series of touching pictures that brought the operation to life.

And the re-opening of an idled walk-in clinic that served Waterboro and surrounding towns Dec. 1 after it closed in June made folks feel good ”“ and well.

Some folks are wondering how they can continue to help feed their neighbors, now that the former location of a food pantry has been sold. St. Stephen Episcopal Church closed and the property was sold earlier this year, which meant the food pantry that had been there closed as well. As the year ended, folks were attempting to sort out bringing a pantry to life in another location.

Waterboro also made news in the political arena, when Republican senate candidate David Woodsome, who is also a Waterboro selectman, bested longtime incumbent Sen. John Tuttle, a Sanford Democrat, in the Nov. 4 election. Woodsome will represent Senate District 33, which includes Cornish, Limerick, Newfield, Parsonsfield, Shapleigh, Waterboro and Sanford.

As in other communities, the small towns west of the turnpike along with the county government, dealt with good news and bad in 2014.

Ӣ In Lebanon, the town struggled with the realization that their volunteer ambulance department was in the red by about $200,000, according to the town treasurer. That news came late in 2013, but its reverberations continued through 2014, as the agency continued on with its mission, amid struggle.

This fall, Sanford Fire Department sought and received the city council’s blessing in charging Lebanon $2,000 when Sanford is the primary responder to a rescue call. Some other communities, like North Berwick and Milton, New Hampshire, planned a similar move. The communities have said that they will continue to help Lebanon, their neighbor, but that the service they’ve been providing has gone beyond the concept of mutual aid. At the end of 2014, Lebanon was continuing to work through the issues surrounding the rescue department. A new fire chief, whom selectmen said was to have some oversight of the rescue agency, accepted the job then abruptly resigned.

”¢ At the county government level, York County Jail had its share of staffing shortages and emergencies throughout the year, causing the existing staff to work vast amounts of overtime. As the year drew to a close, hiring was up, with a view to easing the shortage as the new year rolled in. As well, jail inmates proved to be behaving themselves as the year wound down ”“ a “shakedown” or sweep, of the facility Dec. 30 found no illegal drugs.

The year also brought to an end the tenure of Sheriff Maurice Ouellette, who did not seek a third term in the fall election. Ouellette first served eight years as chief deputy and another eight years as sheriff. Sheriff William L. “Bill” King, was the winner of a three-way Democratic primary June 10 and was elected, unopposed, Nov. 4. King was sworn in Jan. 1, 2015.

Also this fall, the county, its legislative delegation and some others, were engaged in developing initial plans toward a new, single courthouse for York County. Currently, there are district courts in York, Springvale and Biddeford, and superior court is held at the county-owned York County Court House in Alfred. While the talks will continue, the courthouse committee has estimated a new, single court facility will require 12-15 courtrooms.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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