July 3, 1991

Melvina Johnson pedals a three-wheeler bicycle around the neighborhood of her Buxton home, has stacked five cords of firewood in the basement and uses a power saw to cut kindling for the woodstove she heats her house with. Johnson, who sleeps only two to four hours a night, recently celebrated her 95th birthday. She is Buxton’s oldest resident and holds the Boston Post Cane, according to Town Clerk John Myers.

Aldermen voted 5-1 last week in committee to cut the proposed $16.2 million Westbrook school budget $242,297. Chairman Arnold Gaudet, who had offered a $101,250 cut, said the School Committee would fight the heavier cut. With the $242,297 cut, the Westbrook school budget would be up $1.2 million, or 7.7 percent over what it is this year.

Capt. John A. Schmidlin returned to duty with the Westbrook Police Department last week after 11 weeks of study at the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in Quantico, Va. Schmidlin was among 248 who graduated the class. Schmidlin and Capt. Paul McCarthy are next to Chief Ronald Allanach in Westbrook police command.

Robert Hall is Westbrook’s new assistant school superintendent. He succeeds David Wallace, who became Bath’s superintendent Monday. He had been principal at Canal school. He’ll be paid $52,386.

Lyla Cookson, a 1986 graduate of Westbrook High School and a 1990 graduate of Boston University’s College of Engineering, began work June 28 at Sanyo Semiconductor Corp. near Tokyo, Japan. She designs silicon chips to provide close captioning for the hearing impaired in future television sets.

E.R. Exchange, Mosher Road in Gorham, recently celebrated his birthday at his home with family and friends. One of his gifts from his daughter Cindy was a subscription to this newspaper. Each year she writes and “publishes” a spoof of the American Journal, consisting of humorous stories poking fun at family members and friends. Mr. Exchange enjoys both papers very much.

North Gorham Day was an enormous success Saturday, both for the groups raising funds and for the community spirit that makes North Gorham the special place that it is. People lined the road to watch the parade, and the day featured cloggers and fiddlers, a dunking pool, petting zoo, hayrides and plenty of good food to eat.

July 4, 2001

Westbrook’s City Council, with little discussion and no public comment, gave first-reading approval Monday to creating two new tax increment finance districts. One will return up to $300,000 to developer Tim Flannery for a new office building on the river’s edge off Dana Court, and one will cover the entire downtown and a chunk of Bridge Street, dedicating tax revenue from increase in tax valuations over the next 20 years for improvements in that district, not paying into the city’s general fund.

Westbrook student lockers and autos will be subject to searches by school administrators with or without reasonable suspicion and without notice or consent. The measure was approved this week by the Westbrook School Committee, which considers the use of all school storage facilities, including lockers, desks and parking lots, a privilege granted by the school to students, who should have no expectation of privacy while using them.

An area fixture, the Prides Corner Drive in on Route 302 in Westbrook, is being repaired and will reopen maybe in two weeks. Last winter a wind gust felled the metal screen, built in 1952. Owner John Tevanian is overseeing the erecting of a new one.

With the thermometer climbing to 88 degrees and very muggy in Gorham Saturday, a tent, umbrellas and trees provided welcome shade for the audience at R.B. Hall Day, an all-day band concert on the grounds of Narragansett School. All but two of the 13 bands played, but a severe thunderstorm cut the program short. The National Weather Service said the temperature was several degrees higher than the norm for that date, June 30, in Gorham.

Allens Farm and Floral set up on Friday at the Westbrook Farmers Market on Main Street alongside Riverbank Park. The stock included strawberries, peas, beans, beat green, cucumbers and tomatoes. The city moved the market this year from the city lot off William Clarke Drive to the parking lot of the Dunn Street Legion Hall, Fridays and Saturdays. Vendors have observed that no passing motorists can see them there.

The photo on the left is a view up river from Bridge Street showing the Dana Warp Mill buildings. The building on the left was located on the island at the end of Dana Street and was constructed in 1876 by George Warren as a woolen mill. The photo on the right shows the island mill. Woodbury K. Dana purchased the building in 1879 after the woolen mill went out of business. This building became the Dana Warp Mill, and in 1900, Dana purchased the brick building across the river on Bridge Street to expand his business. The brick building was built in 1881 by the Westbrook Manufacturing Co. to expand the company, which was located on Bridge Street at Dana Court. Westbrook Manufacturing Co. closed after the damaging flood of 1896 and the brick building was purchased by the S.D. Warren Co., which sold the building to Dana. A steel bridge was built over the river to connect both buildings. Dana expanded the brick mill several times and eventually closed the island mill and the bridge was removed. The island mill was used in later years by Yudy’s Tire Co. as a warehouse and was closed and demolished in the early 1980s. Dana Warp Mill closed in the late 1950s and the building is now occupied by numerous businesses. A recent Facebook post erroneously indicated that the island mill was once a part of the Haskell Silk Mill. There were only two Haskell Mills, one on Bridge Street behind the present Portland Pie, and the other on Lincoln Street in a building that is now condominiums. 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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