Looking Back


June 9, 1993

Peter Eckel, 37, of 16 Walton St., Westbrook, administrative assistant to Westbrook’s mayors since October 1989, resigned Friday and will become New England sales manager for the cellular telephone company Cellular One, working under Kenneth Lefebvre, vice president and general manager. Lefebvre is president of the Westbrook City Council and was acting administrative assistant for the months when Eckel was being recruited and hired by the city to succeed Marti Blair. Cellular One serves New England from its Westbrook headquarters. Eckel was hired under Mayor Philip Spiller and reported for work in Westbrook just before Fred Wescott was elected for his first term as mayor. Wescott said he is digging out the files on how the search for Eckel was conducted and will set up a search committee.

The new principal of Gorham High School doesn’t have to move far for the job – Steve Rogers is already assistant principal there. Rogers, 32, accepted that job in November and now he will replace Gunnar Hagstrom as principal as of July 1. He will be paid, $50,655. Rogers came to Gorham from Portland High School, where he was assistant principal from 1988-1992. He said the past month has been amazing. He got the new job, his second daughter was born, and he found out that Portland High School students dedicated the 1993 yearbook to him.

Westbrook Police Chief Ronald Allanach told the City Council Finance Committee last week that 400 to 500 young people gathered for “a party” in Westbrook the previous weekend, overwhelming police ability to control them. There were drinking and driving violations but the four available Westbrook policemen could only “sit there and watch,” Allanach said. He was asking aldermen to approve the full manpower requests in the police budget, which a majority wants to trim.

The Gorham Town Council next week will direct its two representatives on the Regional Waste System’s board on whether to support the planned regional recycling center in town. The 28-member board is set to decide June 24 whether to proceed with the $18 million project. About $8 million has already been spent. As the host town, Gorham would get a yearly payment of $325,000, plus 2 percent of recycling tipping fees, or about $350,000, after the first year of operation, according to Town Manger Paul Weston. Costs to the town would include $152,000 for building a transfer station on Huston Road.

Steve Corey, Lunt Road, Westbrook, has been named Little League’s State Volunteer of the Year. He was presented two plaques and an Olympic-style gold medal May 8, opening day at the Little League complex. More than 700 children are playing ball this year, according to Westbrook Little League President George Apt.

June 11, 2003

Main Street Café in downtown Westbrook had an unwelcome breakfast guest last Wednesday morning – a porcupine. It had apparently mistook an open door at the restaurant as an invitation. Waitress Sharon Lachance used a broom to gently show the porcupine to the door. Waitresses and customers then gathered around the picture window and watched the animal scale the tree out front. They called Dave Sparks, the owner of Sparks Ark Animal Emergency Services, who plucked the animal from the tree with the help of a ladder and a pole with a noose. Lee Myrbeck, a customer at the restaurant during the incident and an animal lover, paid for Sparks’ services. “He was a good little fella,” said Lachance about the surprise visitor. “He didn’t harm anybody.”

The top members of the class of 2003 at Gorham High School are: Valedictorian Megan LaPierre, who will attend the University of Maine; salutatorian Katherine Petit, who will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and magna cum laude grads Tyler Randall, Peter Palomaki, Kyle O’Donnell, Daniel Audesse, Lindsay Kirby, Kean Duffy, David West and Kelley Clough.

The Gorham Town Council took steps necessary last week to move forward with a public park on the banks of the Presumpscot – what will become the town’s first public access to the river. Using eminent domain, the council declared Partridge Lane, a small dirt road into the three-lot Riverwood subdivision off Route 237, a public way that will serve as the entrance road to the new park. Shaw Brothers Construction donated the eight acres for the park while applying for an expansion of their nearby gravel pit two years ago.

Westbrook Together Days brought thousands of people from around Greater Portland to Riverbank Park last Saturday for music, food, fireworks and a parade. About 6,000 people came to the parade Saturday morning, and about 10,000 visited the festival over the weekend, according to police estimates. Fellow musicians and former students paid a surprise tribute to Don Doane, a local jazz legend who taught music in Westbrook schools for years. Mayor Don Esty presented Doane with a key to the city.

Michael Waltrip, one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers and the winner of this year’s Daytona 500, brought his sense of humor and his great attitude to Maine on Thursday. For two hours, Waltrip met with legions of fans and signed autographs on anything that was presented to him – including a bald head – at Westbrook’s NAPA Auto Parts Store on Larrabee Road.

The first U.S. Post Office at Cumberland Mills was opened around 1870 in a 1½-story building on Main Street at Lamb Street. The postmaster was William W. Lamb. This photo was taken in 1914 after the post office relocated to the Warren Block, where it remained until the Brackett Street Post Office and the Cumberland Mills branch were combined at the new post office on Main Street in 1981. 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.