Jan. 17, 1990

The Gorham School Committee voted Wednesday to have fourth-graders move from the Little Falls School to the Village School in April, before the school year is out. Superintendent Constance Goldman recommended that the committee approve the move, but said she wished she had an alternative. The class must be moved, she said, so renovations can be started to ready Little Falls to house all Gorham kindergarten classes in the fall. For that, it needs a new outside playground and larger classrooms. The work must begin in April because the board wants to use school maintenance staff for the project instead of hiring an outside contractor, in order to keep costs down. The Village School addition where they’ll go is now expected to be completed in February, adding 15 more classrooms, library, gym and office space.

The Gorham School Committee also voted to hold a referendum in March on renovations to Gorham High School. The vote will be held the second Tuesday in March, on the same day local officials will be elected. The high school renovation has three goals: replace the whole east wall of the building (the window wall), expand the cafeteria and improve the front entrance. TFH Architects estimates the cost of the window replacement project at $383,000, $96,000 for the cafeteria and $15,000 for the entranceway. Another $80,000 would also be requested for work at Little Falls School.

Twila and Bill Hamilton are the new owners of the bakery at 877 Main St., Westbrook, and they have hung a new sign over the door: Main Street Bakery. “We’re new people with new products and we want a new name and a new image,” Twila Hamilton said. “We also want people to know we are part of this community, a retail store and not strictly a wholesale bakery as it was for a while, that we’re here to serve all the bakery needs of the people of Westbrook and nearby towns.” They expect to keep the bakery’s door open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m., six days a week, and from 9 a.m-1 p.m. Sundays.

Vaun Born, Brook Street, has been put in charge of Westbrook’s participation in “Maine Street ’90,” a statewide effort to boost local pride and volunteerism. She has come up with a list of projects that fit the idea of what the effort is meant to encourage, including construction of a bandstand at Riverbank Park by the Knights of Columbus, expected this spring; restoring and placing public benches, a Westbrook Woman’s Club initiative; adding plants along Main Street; and Together Day, tentatively set for June 2.

“The Gunpowder Mills of Maine,” written by Dr. Maurice M. Whitten of Gorham, has just been published by Yankee Books of Camden. Whitten will hold a book-signing session Jan. 24 at the Baxter Memorial Library in Gorham. The book describes the hazardous gunpowder industry from its beginning shortly after Maine became a state to its end early this century. Whitten, a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Southern Maine, has resided in Gorham since 1955.

Jan. 19, 2000

Maine’s Deputy Commissioner of Transportation Jane Lincoln will come to Westbrook at the end of this month to visit William Clarke Drive, scene of a fatal car-pedestrian accident Jan. 9. Mayor Don Esty’s administrative assistant, James Bennett, said Friday that Lincoln’s visit will help determine what can be done to make the road safer for people to cross. Police Chief Steven Roberts said the city had been talking about what could be done to help pedestrians and knew that Public Works Director Paul Boudreau and assistant Tom Eldridge had been working to make crosswalks more visible. Friends of Patricia Harris, the woman killed Jan 9 at William Clarke Drive and Brackett Street, held a vigil in her memory at the site last week.

Though Westbrook’s City Council voted Dec. 13 to assure Jotul North America of industrial revenue bond financing for recently bought equipment, the company has assured Gorham since then that their move from Portland to Westbrook is not a done deal. Tom Ellsworth, president of the Gorham Economic Development Corp., said in a recent memo that Jotul assured him “that their site location process is still completely wide open” after a Dec. 15 American Journal article reporting their choice of Westbrook. Ellsworth said he met with the Jotul people Jan. 3, and they seemed interested in land the town has recently rezoned for industrial expansion west of the industrial park.

A sick motor has sidelined Don and Yvonne Richards’ Don’s Lunch van, usually found most evenings parked in the lot of Mike Williams’ Muffler Shop at Main and Saco streets in Westbrook. The customized 1978 GMC motor home died when Yvonne put it into drive for the 1-mile trip from home at 429 Saco St., on Jan. 7. The van is being towed to Forest City Chevrolet’s truck division on Warren Avenue, which will install a new motor. The owners predict that the van should be back on its regular spot Feb. 1.

In Gorham, being No. 10 on the state’s rating list of school construction aid is more than about getting a new middle school. It’s about “solving a system-wide problem of overcrowding,” says Superintendent Michael Moore yesterday. Gorham plans to build a new middle school, changing from its current seventh- and eighth-grade Shaw Junior High School to a sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade school. Gorham is hoping the No. 10 position will enable it to get help during the state’s net two-year cycle for funding.

Gorham Town Councilor John Alden paid tribute Jan. 4 to Peter Feeney, Cumberland County’s youngest commissioner to date. Feeney died unexpectedly at age 25 on Dec. 26. “He had a lot of ambition. He will be missed,” Alden said at the January Town Council meeting. Alden, who served on the county budget advisory committee, said Feeney’s input “was always informative.”

Thirty years ago, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 1985, the Agway Farm & Garden Store, located at 33 Central St. for many years, was destroyed by a spectacular fire. The building had a railroad siding to send and receive merchandise when railroad tracks occupied the present-day William Clarke Drive. 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. 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. Photo and research courtesy of Mike Sanphy

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