March 2, 1994

School Superintendent Edward Connolly is paying extra money to Jennifer Huston, his daughter, from Westbrook school funds to write unsigned articles for a Windham give-away trying to expand into Westbrook. The separate payments were unknown to the Westbrook School Committee until discovered by Nancy Curran. The committee has known that Huston is paid by the school to write exclusive pieces for the Windham-based Suburban News, started in 1992 by Secretary of State Bill Diamond. Members thought she was doing it as a part of her duties as the schools’ volunteer coordinator. In fact, she was paid an extra $636 for four weeks’ work on Feb. 9.

Meanwhile, the School Committee will likely be discussing its nepotism policy at the board’s next meeting, March 9. That policy, adopted in February 1989, forbids hiring “next of kin of a member of the School Committee or superintendent of schools.” Chairman Martha Day said Monday that the policy was set aside in 1991, but there is no record of that action in the minutes.

The Maine Turnpike Authority notified Westbrook last week that a new Exit 8 (the old one to become Exit 8A) is one of two survivors among new exits considered for our area. The other winner is Congress Street, Portland. The announcement was greeted with cheers in Westbrook as guaranteeing continued growth in the Exit 8 area of the city.

According to Gorham police, at 11:29 p.m. Thursday, Austin Boothby, Elm Street, called a dispatcher to report that Robie Gym on South Street was unlocked. Again. Boothby walks his dog every night and checks the doors. He’s found the doors unlocked often. Cindy Hazelton, community services director, said she feels that Boothby is exaggerating the problem. She said she didn’t believe the unlocked doors are a major issue.

March 3, 2004

Westbrook residents concerned about a proposed Wal-Mart on the site of the Saunders Bros. mill have formed a group, Westbrook Our Home. Organizers say they formed it to advocate for a development on the site that will be compatible with the neighborhood. “We want to see something go in there that is harmonious to the area and does not lead to sprawl,” said Anne Bureau, a group organizer who lives near the site. On March 23, the Planning Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed zone change that would allow large-scale retail development on the property.

A century-old tradition could come to an end in Gorham if the Town Council abides by the wishes of the Baxter Memorial Library trustees by banning all animals from the library except for service dogs. The council was expected to vote on the proposal this week. Police Chief Ron Shepard said that a female library patron was “accosted” by a dog at the library on Jan. 27. There were no injuries but the library staff called police to mediate the situation. The Baxter family was famous for its love of dogs, and Percival Baxter, whose father gifted the building to the town in 1908, would come into the library with his dogs. Over the years, it became an unwritten policy that dogs were allowed in. A dog ban will affect a number of what Pamela Turner, library director, called “regulars,” who bring their dogs with them. But due to liability and safety concerns, “it’s no longer feasible to allow animals,” she said.

A former nun, Westbrook resident Pauline Salvucci, saw the culture of secrecy and hypocrisy that led to the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. A few weeks ago, she began a website, www.voiceofoutrage.com, that she hopes will bring awareness of child sexual abuse and hold the church accountable for the part it played in the abuse of children. “I want people to understand that this issue of sexual exploitation is all over the world,” she said. “It is an epidemic.” During her 17 years in the Boston Archdiocese, Salvucci worked with the Rev. Paul Shanley and other priests and nuns to set up a gay ministry. Shanley later became a central figure in the sex abuse scandal that led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law.

Westbrook artist Caren-Marie Michel’s work, “Wells Sanctuary 3,” was chosen for the Englewood Arts National Juried Art Show at the Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood, Colorado. “Wells Sanctuary 2” was recently chosen for Gallery West’s seventh National Juried Show in Alexandria, Virginia, and “Rivermeadow 1” was selected for the annual Union of Maine Visual Artists Juried Show at the College of the Atlantic’s Blum Gallery.