Looking Back

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This photo shows the section of North Street that runs from Brown Street to the Presumpscot River. The building was at 23 North St. and was at one time a Catholic School under St. Hyacinth’s Parish. In later years the building was occupied by the Robert G. Fortin Furniture Company and then Westbrook Discount Furniture. When Westbrook Discount Furniture Company closed, the building remained vacant for a number of years. The Westbrook Housing Authority purchased it, demolished it and built an apartment building on the site. To see more historical photos and artifacts, visit the Westbrook Historical Society at the Fred C. Wescott Building, 426 Bridge St. It is open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon, and the first Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m., September-June. Inquiries can be emailed to westhistorical@myfairpoint.net. The website is www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org.

March 11, 1992

With Westbrook exposed to a loss of $4 million in three tax disputes with Scott Paper Co., the city will go to court in one of them, Mayor Fred Wescott said yesterday. The city has already lost that case at the first level, the State Board of Tax Assessment Review. It intends now to go into state court for a review of the questions involved. Wescott said two recent closed-door meetings of the City Council, the latest Monday night, have dealt with the city’s position in the Scott disputes.

The literacy coordinator of the state of New Hampshire is a Westbrook woman, Rebecca Albert, daughter of Roland and Janet Albert, 281 Bridge St. With a master’s degree in library science, she has turned to the task of making sure New Hampshire libraries have customers. Miss Albert, 30, is a 1979 graduate of Westbrook High School. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine, worked at Verrill & Dana as a paralegal and the earned her library degree at the University of Kentucky. She is employed by the New Hampshire State Library and lives in Concord.

Cold temperatures froze a heating coil in the ceiling of the music room at Village School in Gorham, damaging a piano, carpeting and ceiling tiles the night of March 1. The incident is the latest of several similar problems that have occurred in a newly construction portion of the school. It is part of the expansion that was completed in 1991. “We’re running some experiments on the system and think we’re honing in on the problem,” said Superintendent Tim McCormack. He’s also keeping the heat on at night.

Members of the Gorham School Committee may host a rare packed house tonight when Superintendent Tim McCormack presents his initial overview of the 1992-93 school budget. Students who learned of administration plans to cut up to 15 positions to meet budgetary restrictions are intent on letting officials know that they are upset.

It’s as much a social affair, a time to laugh and chat, as it is an exercise. It is the Westbrook Recreation Department’s Senior Swim Program, the most popular of the city’s water recreation programs. Up to 60 or more seniors gather three mornings a week for an hour of swimming, exercise and meeting old friends at the Davan Pool in the junior high school. The program is in its 10th year.

Mayor Fred Wescott returned to his office in Westbrook City Hall Monday after a week of golf in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Wescott went with a group of 24 friends. He returned to a redecorated office – new paint and wallpaper were put on in his absence.

March 13, 2002

Westbrook’s new animal control officer, Carolyn Ross, hopes to focus on education in dog bite prevention as part of her job. Ross, of Buxton, replaces David Sparks, who served for 15 years. He left this winter to concentrate on his wildlife education service, Spark’s Ark. As a 20-hour-a-week animal control officer, Ross will focus solely on domestic animal issues. Getting owners to register their dogs will be important. Statistics show dog bites can be very dangerous for young kids. “I believe that many dog bites can be prevented by people learning to better understand a dog’s body language and by children learning to respect a dog’s space,” she said.

Westbrook High School’s marching band has been invited to London and Pasadena for New Year’s Day 2004. Music Director George Bookataub will ask the School Committee’s permission to go to one in its meeting tonight. It’s almost 21 months away, but Bookataub is looking at the money. For corporate and foundation donations, he said, “requests have to be received one year prior to the event, not the year of the event.”

A unique addition to Westbrook’s business community opened quietly a few weeks ago, the Taste of Europe delicatessen and gourmet food shop, at the corner of Brackett Street and William Clarke Drive. Its owner is Nikolay Gerasimchuk, 38, who immigrated from the Ukraine 11 years ago. Home now is Westfield, Mass., where he started a similar store in December 1999 with the help of his wife, sister and sister-in-law. His friend Yuriy Rudenko, an immigrant from Kazakhstand, help him open here. The store sells a variety of foods, from French butter, Russian chocolates, sausages in all flavors and sizes, cheeses, smoked fish, juice drinks and much more.

Linda Alexander retired Feb. 28 after 31 years as a Gorham fire-police-resuce dispatcher. When she began in 1970 at the former fire barn, once a high school on South Street, she had to run down the long flight of stairs to push the alarm when a fire call came in.

Pete Labrecque, Pumpkin Hill Road in North Gorham, hangs sap buckets on his maple tree “the old-fashioned way.” Labrecque (Gorham High School 1982) and his wife Mary began their maple business in 1996 on land that was part of his great-grandmother’s farm. The Lebrecques participate in Maine Maple Syrup Sunday, always the fourth Sunday in March, the 24th this year. They are expecting about 1,000 visitors. The Lebrecques have 400 taps and collect the sap in a tank and cart it with a utility vehicle to the sugar house.

Mark Niemiec, a 1992 graduate of Westbrook High School, was a nominee in the 44th Grammy Awards Feb. 27 in Los Angeles. Mark and his team didn’t win, but the experience was unforgettable, said his mother, Eileen Mayo, New Portland Road, Gorham, who accompanied him. Mark was one of the producers and engineers for India.Arie’s entry in the Album of the Year competition, “Scoustic Soul,” including the song he recorded, “I See God in You.” Mark attended the University of Southern Maine and Fullsail Center of Recording Arts in Florida. He is a freelance engineer in Nashville, where he moved in 1999.

This photo shows the section of North Street that runs from Brown Street to the Presumpscot River. The building was at 23 North St. and was at one time a Catholic School under St. Hyacinth’s Parish. In later years the building was occupied by the Robert G. Fortin Furniture Company and then Westbrook Discount Furniture. When Westbrook Discount Furniture Company closed, the building remained vacant for a number of years. The Westbrook Housing Authority purchased it, demolished it and built an apartment building on the site. To see more historical photos and artifacts, visit the Westbrook Historical Society at the Fred C. Wescott Building, 426 Bridge St. It is open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon, and the first Wednesday of each month at 1:30 p.m., September-June. Inquiries can be emailed to westhistorical@myfairpoint.net. The website is www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org.