WINDHAM — Windham is seeking a new planning director and engineer months after the former planning director, Ben Smith, resigned.
Smith left in April 2018, and Town Planner Amanda Lessard has been serving as interim planning director since December 2018.
Town engineer Jon Earle recently gave notice, and his last day of work was Jan. 25. Lessard said that although appointing department heads is usually the work of a permanent town manager, because “we don’t know when we’ll have a new town manager” and there is “quite a bit of work the council wants to be done,” the town is moving forward with the hiring process under interim Town Manager Don Gerrish.
Applications for the engineer position are due Feb. 7, and applications for the planning director position are due Feb. 14.
Prom Project looks
for new home
BRIDGTON — The Maine Event Prom Project, a nonprofit that provides formal wear to low-income Maine women, is looking for a new location after losing its home of three years above Beth’s Cafe.
Prom Project President Michelle Delvecchio said the owner of Beth’s Cafe told her on Jan. 1 that “she’s moving in a different direction.”
Delvecchio had been paying rent out of her own pocket for the past year and said “it’s been tough.” She hasn’t been able to find a new location that she can afford.
Last week, everything was packed up, including over 1,000 dresses, shoes, handbags and jewelry. Bridgton Storage and Consignment discounted two storage units where the dresses will be stored until a permanent location is found, said Prom Project Vice President Lacy Snell.
The Prom Project recently began a fundraiser on Givinggrid.com under the name “Help Save The Maine Event Prom Project Open.”
RSU 14 offers help
WINDHAM — RSU 14 is encouraging families whose income has been impacted by the government shutdown to apply for free or reduced school meals.
Director of School Nutrition Jeanne Reilly said even if a family was denied in the past, an income decrease might mean they qualify now.
“If they’re not receiving pay at this time if they’re a federal employee, they should apply,” Reilly said. “We are really encouraging families, if they’re feeling that pinch, to reach out to us. Maybe they qualify now. The longer this shutdown goes on, the more impact it’s going to have on families.”
Families can apply online at www.myschoolapps.com or find a paper application on the district website under the school nutrition department.
snowshoe walk Saturday
BRIDGTON — Loon Echo Land Trust is hosting a snowshoe walk at the pending Peabody-Fitch Woods Preserve in Bridgton Saturday, Jan. 26.
Attendees will be able to meet new Loon Echo Executive Director Matt Markot, explore the property’s old roads, stone walls and 18th-century granite quarry and learn about the farm’s history.
Participants should meet at Narramissic Farm at 8:45 for the 9 a.m. hike, which will last approximately two hours.
Casco resident donates
raft to Warden Service
CASCO — Casco resident John Curtis has donated a $600 Nebulus inflatable raft to the Maine Warden Service to help protect the wardens if they take an sudden plunge through the ice.
Curtis is an avid snowmobiler and can recall some close calls he and his family had near open water. Luckily, they were able to avoid entering the icy water, but Curtis wanted to give the wardens an extra way to protect themselves should they go through the ice while on patrol.
A Nebulus inflatable raft is compact and manually deployable; pulling a handle causes the raft to automatically inflate. It can keep afloat 1,000 pounds, meaning it could support multiple people as well as their ATV or snowmobile. The raft could also be used to assist someone who is stranded in open water.
Game Warden Peter Herring will have the raft as part of his tool kit while on patrol.
Fish passage in 2018
WESTBROOK — More than 50,000 river herring safely ascended the Cumberland Mills dam fish ladder next to the Sappi paper mill in 2018, according to the Friends of the Presumpscot River, Conservation Law Foundation and Sappi North America.
Previously no more than 12,000 river herring a year had been counted entering and exiting the fish ladder in that location, the organizations said in a news release.
“River herring are a ‘keystone’ species, depended on by other fish, mammals and birds, and their return is good news not only for the Presumpscot River, but also for Casco Bay and all those who fish in those waters. These numbers are extremely encouraging,” the organizations said.
The fish counts at Cumberland Mills “are in addition to the approximately 50,000 river herring that have passed Mill Brook to Highland Lake. “
Removal of the Saccarappa dam, which is awaiting federal approval, will open up another five miles of the river for river herring, American shad and possibly the American salmon.
That project, according to the release, “will enhance and expand the opportunity for anadromous fish to gain access to spawning grounds in the Presumpscot River and its tributaries between Saccarappa and the next upstream dam at Mallison Falls” in Windham.
The Cumberland Mills fish ladder has been in operation since 2013 and was installed following a settlement agreement reached with Friends of Presumpscot River and Conservation Law Foundation.
The Narramissic Farm is surrounded on three sides by Peabody-Fitch Woods.
Volunteers helped pack up the Maine Event Prom Project’s dresses Jan. 18.