Dec. 7, 1984

Westbrook Mayor Kenneth Lefebvre and the City Council said no Monday to Michel Salvaggio’s plans for a skin show and nightclub at Exit 8. Lefebvre said Salvaggio can appeal the action to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Salvaggio, who owns Michel’s banquet center at 202 Larrabee Road, wants to use a vacant part of the same building for seven-day-a-week shows for the public and for private parties, with restaurant and bar. He described the shows as all-male or all-female. They’ve been reported also as including nude dancing.

Some people may think dressing up like Santa Claus, jumping on the back of a slick black motorcycle and dragging a Christmas tree float around Westbrook and Windham is a little unusual. But not Kenneth Spooner. The marketing director for the S.D. Warren Credit Union, Spooner geared up for the holiday season Wednesday by adding a modern twist to the age-old theme: a new, six-cylinder Honda Goldenwing. “We thought we would have Santa visit both the Windham and Westbrook offices. I like to ride my motorcycle. The more I thought about it, the more things started to get crazy,” Spooner said.

An angry local developer stormed out of the Gorham Planning Board meeting Monday, challenging the town’s commitment to business development. Susan Duchaine withdrew her applications and walked out after an informal poll of board members indicated she would not win approvals for an 8.3 acre office-retail park at 335 Main St., next to Galilee Baptist Church. Duchaine sought a zoning change to permit limited retail in a mixed-use environment. The proposed change would have allowed up to 25 percent of usable square footage for retail use. Planning Board member John Merriman said the intent of the zoning law was to keep retail off that part of Main Street and to hold down traffic congestion. Harold Grant, Lyle Merrifield and Wayne Ireland said they would vote no for the same reasons.

Can Handlers, 25 Elm St., Gorham, locked its doors Nov. 15 following service by Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies of a foreclosure notice. The business, near the Gorham Station, was a bottle and can recycling center that sold beer, wine, soda and related products. Owner Joseph Baillargeon of Standish declined comment.

Two business expansions in the Main Street-Larrabee Road area will go before the Westbrook Zoning Board of Appeals tonight. Steve Goble wants to expand his McDonald’s restaurant for added seating and a restroom for the handicapped. He seeks a 50-foot front yard variance. People’s Heritage Bank wants to have an ATM in the parking lot of the former Noyes Tire building. It seeks a 55-foot front yard variance.

Dec. 8, 2004

A new group, Westbrook Wants Wal-Mart, has formed to support the development of a Wal-Mart Supercenter at the Saunders Bros. mill site, even as the Planning Board continues discussions this week on restrictions that could curb large commercial developments like Wal-Mart. Westbrook resident Jay Ossenfort, formerly an assistant store manager at the North Windham Wal-Mart Supercenter, heads the new group, which formed following a Dec. 2 meeting of Wal-Mart supporters organized by a public relations firm hired by the retailer. That firm, Public Strategy Group, based in Connecticut, has spearheaded many grassroots campaigns in favor of large development projects. Al Maiorino, an executive with Public Strategy Group, told some 50 people who attended the meeting that they received about 500 response cards from mailers sent out last month. Ossenfort said he would like to see Wal-Mart come to the city because he knows the benefits it would bring.

Little Paws Animal Shelter in Buxton needs a helping hand from the community to stay open. “We’re in the hole,” said Eva Allen, president of the nonprofit, 3-year-old shelter. The facility cost $250,000 to build and another $50,000 for land. Allen said she mortgaged her home in Corinth to swing it. But rising heat costs and the loss of a $7,000 contract with the town of Buxton has crushed the shelter’s finances. Standish, Limerick and Newfield all have three-year contracts with the shelter to provide for strays from those towns. Little Paws is now providing for 30 cats, eight dogs and three bunnies.

Frustrated at being almost three years without a contract, the Westbrook Police Association made its grievances heard at the City Council meeting Monday. Holding signs reading “Serving Without a Contract,” about 20 members of the police union stood silently in the back of the council chamber as the meeting began. During the first public comment period, Detective Sean Lally, president of the union, said members were “profoundly disappointed” at working without a contract for 888 days. At the center of the stalled contract issue is a debate over health benefits and the police retirement system.

A church parish is hoping its historic building in Gorham Village would be preserved, but wants to sell and relocate because of parking problems. School Street United Methodist Church needs to sell its building before construction can begin on a 12-acre site at the corner of Cressy Road and Route 25. The asking price is $390,000, down from an original price of $495,000. The building dates to 1880 and has post-and-beam construction. A 1,300-pound bell will go to the new church building, as will the pipe organ.

Responding to concerns from parishioners that the former St. Mary’s Church is too small, the Westbrook Catholic Community will hold Christmas masses at St. Hyacinth Church. The Rev. Joseph Manship, pastor, said three Masses would be held on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25. He said the change would be for the Christmas Masses only. He also said that no final decision has been made as to the fate of St. Hyacinth following the announced merger of the three Westbrook parishes.

John Bernier has been installed as president of the Kiwanis Club of Westbrook. Susan Bernier is treasurer and Claudia Lackee is secretary. Doug Jones, outgoing president, is vice president and Dana Smith is administrative assistant. Serving on the board of directors are Jack Daley, Jim Blais and Ray Trzenska.