May 22, 1991

Westbrook’s Planning Board and Zoning Appeals Board locked arms last week against additions to two mobile homes that have been in their neighborhoods more than 20 years, one at 473 Methodist Road and one at 193 Rochester St. The decisions led the Rochester Street owners to put up a big sign protesting that the city chose to keep “this eyesore” for years to come instead of letting the owners improve it.

Neat as a pin for Memorial Day, Westbrook’s three city cemeteries owe it to the care and custody of Richard M. Dunbar, as they have for 22 years. Next Memorial Day, someone else will be in charge. Dunbar will be 70 June 1 and has decided to retire on June 28 as superintendent of parks and cemeteries for the city.

Supermarkets, department stores, malls and other big stores in Maine will be open on Memorial Day for this first time. Under previous law, big stores were closed on legal holidays, as well as Sundays. Last November’s referendum chipped away that protection for all but Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Westbrook’s Zoning Appeals Board gave quick approval for a $154,000 new house at 55 Arlington Ave. to be used by Goodwill Industries of Maine as a home for up to eight mentally challenged adults. Thomas A. Burnell, who lives nearby, cautioned the board that the home would be about 100 yards from Saccarappa School. Paula Sharp, Goodwill’s director of residential housing, said the home “wouldn’t involve any interaction between residents of the home and the neighbors, either children or adults. We’ve never had an instance where that’s a concern.”

Solutions being considered as part of the Route 25 Corridor Study include proposals for five lanes through the middle of Gorham, north and south bypasses of Gorham village and widening of Westbrook’s Wayside Drive to six lanes. The proposals, considered at the outer edge of what is likely, were outlined last week for a group of area residents and town officials that comprise the Project Area Committee.

Maj. Tim O’Leary was welcomed home May 11 after service as a helicopter pilot assigned to coordinate helicopters that would bring the wounded out to field hospitals in the Gulf war. O’Leary, who lives at 257 Main St. in Gorham, is a full-time employee of the 286th Supply & Service Battalion, Maine Army National Guard. Main Street business put up signs, “Welcome Home Tim O’Leary.”

Joseph Pecoraro, son of Anthony and Ernestine Pecoraro of Westbrook, has been promoted to the rank of major in the U.S. Army. His duty station is in Edgewood, Md. He is a graduate of Westbrook High School and the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. He also holds a master’s in nuclear engineering from Columbia University.

May 23, 2001

Westbrook’s 2001-2002 school calendar, due for School Committee final approval tonight, calls for school to start on the Wednesday before Labor Day and end June 11. Superintendent Stan Sawyer said the early start will avoid the possibility of a late June finish if the winter should turn out to be another like this year’s. Because of the heavy snow and extra snow days, he said, Bonny Eagle schools will be in session until the last week of June this year.

After closeting itself for an hour with city solicitor Michael Cooper, Westbrook’s City Council came out convinced of his assertion that the city ordinances will not permit a referendum to ask voters if they want to overturn the council’s Feb. 12 vote to sell the old high school to Westbrook Housing Authority for $1. It then threw out the petitions asking for such a vote and substituted a nonbinding referendum July 17 on a question the council will determine.

Together Days, Westbrook’s annual summer party, will be back June 1-2 with a few new takes on some of its traditional favorites. One new twist is that the parade, down Bridge Street and then along Main Street to Riverbank Park, will be an hour later this year, stepping out at 11 a.m. instead of 10. Also, Together Days is a week earlier than last year, returning to a previous pattern of the first weekend in June.

Sappi Fine Paper’s recently announced plan to close its Mobile, Ala., mill may be good news for Westbrook. According to Local 1069 president Tom Lestage, Westbrook is “almost maxed” in its ability to mix up papermaking furnish from the bales of dried pulp it is now receiving. The Mobile plant has a new hydro-pulper that he hopes will be transferred to Westbrook.

Bernard Rines has resigned from the Gorham By-Pass Public Advisory Committee but attended the meeting last week as a citizen and observer. In the public comment period, he said that his ideas had never been discussed. The group began meeting in July 1999, and its pace has frustrated some members.

Barry Atwood, chairman of the Gorham School Committee, said Monday that closing on the real estate is “the next item” following voter approval, 1,000-244, last week of a $22 million middle school. Superintendent Michael Moore said they have until Sept. 30 for a closing. Landowner John Phinney received $20,000 last summer for a option to buy the 58-acre Weeks Road property. The total cost of the land, now a woodlot, is $595,000.

Marie R. Dubois is valedictorian of Westbrook High School class of 2001, Robert J. Thomas is salutatorian and Jamie H. Carrier is honor essayist.

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The photo shows the section of North Street that runs from Brown Street to the Presumpscot River. The building in the photo was 23 North St., for many years occupied by the Robert G. Fortin Furniture Co., and later, Westbrook Discount Furniture. When the furniture company closed, the building remained vacant for a number of years. Westbrook Housing subsequently purchased the building, demolished it and built an apartment building on the site. 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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