July 13, 1994

Another page in the history of Westbrook’s own community hospital is being written, with plans to raise the money for a $1.3 million expansion currently underway. The expansion includes a 7,300-square-foot addition to the building on Park Road, as well as 1,100 square feet of renovation to the current facility. When it’s done, the hospital will have an expanded lab, emergency room and operating room area. Outpatient facilities will be located in an area of the hospital that is separate from the area that houses patients in the alcohol abuse and eating disorder programs, ensuring privacy for all. Westbrook has had its own hospital since 1909, when Dr. R. Felix Barrett opened his home on Main Street for use as a hospital.

Westbrook Mayor Kenneth Lefebvre and the city’s lawyers asked the City Council Monday to ask voters in November whether the city clerk should be appointed instead of elected. This appears to be a new move in the apparent conflict that has developed between Barbara Hawkes, who won election to a two-year term in November as clerk, and T.J. Storer, who continues as deputy clerk after serving previously under the now-retired William L. Clarke. Storer asked the council to make her secretary of the council and its committees, a new position, at $25,000 a year, the same pay Hawkes gets. When asked about the conflict, Clarke said he wishes now he hadn’t retired. Clarke was having serious health problems when he decided not to run for re-election.

Natasha Libby, daughter of Randy and Sherry Libby of Gorham, won the Amateur Athletic Union National Karate Championship, 10- and 11-year-old girls advanced category, last week in Chicago. She qualified for the national competition after winning the regional championships in Worcester, Massachusetts. Libby, 11, recently earned a black belt in karate. She is a student at Village School, Gorham.

Elaine M. Salamone of Gorham held an open house reception honoring her daughter, Rebecca Lyn Salamone, on her graduation (magna cum laude) from Bowdoin College. Rebecca started last week in the retail management training program at Hannaford Bros. Co. At Bowdoin, she won the Frederic P. Amstuz Memorial Prize in psychology.

“Chairperson” is an anathema to the people who know all about how to run a meeting – the parliamentarians. So says Colleen Reed, Larrabee Heights, Westbrook. She is one of only three Professional Registered Parliamentarians in Maine. “Chairman” is right, she said. The Parliamentarians of the United States adopted a resolution opposing “chairperson” in 1975 and have seen no reason to change it, she said. The spreading use of “chairperson” is only one example of a decline in respect for long-established rules for running a meeting, Reed said.

July 14, 2004

After a debate that stretched late into the night, the Westbrook City Council voted July 12 to give its preliminary approval to rezone the Saunders Bros. property, though the request still faces a final vote. The change, from industrial to gateway commercial, clears the way for a 200,000-square-foot super Walmart or other similar large retail development to be built on the site. Councilor Brendan Rielly, whose ward encompasses the property and surrounding neighborhood, said he was not comfortable rezoning without any restrictions in place to protect the neighborhood. Josh Saunders, company president, said they are prepared to meet with neighbors to address concerns and discuss possible restrictions on the development.

The Gorham Town Council voted last week to stop discussion of an $8 million School Committee stadium and athletic fields plan that would accommodate a growing student population. Councilors voted against supporting the plan, which was presented to the council last month at a workshop. Councilor Burleigh Loveitt said the School Committee is still free to consider the need for new athletic fields and facilities, but it should be deciding the needs, not the wants, of Gorham schools.

A natural gas leak caused by a broken gas line forced the evacuation of several buildings on Main Street in Westbrook in the early evening hours of July 8. Fire Chief Gary Littlefield said the leak was caused when construction workers at Profenno’s Restaurant accidentally ruptured a gas line while doing some renovation work. Littlefield said part of the building’s foundation collapsed and the debris severed a one-inch gas line inside the building. The entire block was evacuated as a precaution.