June 15, 1994

Today, June 15, is the first day of 9-1-1 emergency service for 854- and 856- phones in Westbrook. For fire, police and rescue emergency service, you now dial just those three digits – 911. The calls will be answered by the dispatcher in the police station. Those with other Westbrook exchanges, including 797-, 871-, 878-, 773-, 774-, 775-, 839- and 642-, still will dial the seven-digit emergency numbers they did in the past.

A dam was rebuilt in 3½ hours in Westbrook this spring. The dam on the Presumpscot River at the S.D. Warren Co. originally was built to create a head of water to turn three turbines. Today, with the turbines out of use, the dam creates a head for gravity feed to the mill’s filtered water plant. The wooden dam takes a beating from the steady pressure of the river it holds back, from ice and from pieces of wood swept downstream. A couple of sections gave way under heavy ice this past winter. Warren’s maintenance department has now rebuilt it.

Hunters in Gorham will have to learn new rules regulating the discharge of firearms within town limits. The Town Council, at its June 7 meeting, narrowly approved a proposed firearms ordinance, developed by a Firearms Use Study Committee in response to growing concern over hunters near town housing developments. The ordinance includes a Shotguns Only Zone for certain heavily populated sections, though property owners are entitled to continue using rifles provided they are at least 300 feet from another dwelling or have permission from the owner of the other dwelling.

June 16, 2004

When David Cole went fishing on North Gorham Pond, he did not know he would risk his life, nor that he would be saved by Jeremiah Merrill, 15. Both happened on June 6, when Cole, 56, a self-employed landscaper and handyman, went fishing alone on North Gorham Pond, not far from his Great Falls Road home. His new canoe’s side-mounted outboard motor stalled when he was a few hundred feet from shore. He was trying to restart the motor when the canoe flipped on top of him in 10 feet of water. Merrill was biking nearby when her heard Cole yelling for help, and though he’d never been swimming out as far as Cole’s canoe, Merrill pulled off his boots and jumped in. He reached the bow of the canoe, grabbed it and started kicking toward Cole, who managed to grab the canoe and starting kicking, too. The two got the canoe to where they could touch the pond’s bottom. Later, Cole said, “I’m not sure I could have survived without Jeremiah there. He’s a hero.”

Fire officials are still investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed the barn at the historic Mosher home in Gorham last week. Firefighters managed to save the landmark Long View Farm home adjacent to the barn, which was totally engulfed when they arrived just before 1 a.m. June 9. Farm owner Albert Erlon Mosher, a former town councilor, later said he thought the fire started in the rear of the big barn attached to the house by an ell. The Moshers were in Seattle when the fire occurred. No animals were in the barn and no one was injured. The barn was built in 1810 and a wing was added in 1960.

After weeks of debate, the Westbrook City Council voted first-reading approval June 14 to a city budget that increases the tax rate by 4.2 percent. The $45.9 million combined school and city budget calls for $27.4 million to be raised through property taxes.

The Gorham School Committee has voted to keep Michael Moore, retiring superintendent, as a part-time, interim superintendent until Dec. 1. Marie South, School Committee chairman, said the appointment of Moore allows more time for people to apply for the position.

Sawyer’s Variety Store in Little Falls, one of eight wild turkey registration stations in Cumberland County, reported that 28 Gorham residents, including one junior hunter, were among 147 hunters that tagged turkeys there this spring.

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