Looking Back


June 30, 1993

Gorham and many small member towns in Regional Waste Systems likely will be the big losers from last week’s vote to kill plans for constructing a recycling complex in Gorham. The RWS board voted 17-8 Thursday against funding another $10 million to develop the site located off Route 25. Just over $8 million has already been spent on buying 260 acres and completing preparation and permit work. Later this summer the board will begin considering other options available for a long-term solution to handing recycling materials and non-burnable wastes.

The Westbrook School Committee and Superintendent Edward Connolly assured Will Clarke Wednesday that they will work on new rules to control second-hand smoke in the schools. Clarke, 13, a sixth-grader at Westbrook Junior High School, went before the committee to tell about cigarette smoke that drifts out of the room where teachers and staff smoke. “We need to establish as one of our goals that the system be smoke-free by the end of the next school year,” Connolly said. Clarke is now turning his campaign against second-hand smoke to City Hall – unbeknownst to his grandfather, City Clerk William L. Clarke, whose office is the officially designated smoking area in City Hall.

The Gorham Arts Council announced that the grand marshal for the Celebrate Gorham parade July 10 is Al C. Edwards, who retired in December as president of Gorham Savings Bank after 14 years. The Edwards family moved to Gorham in 1962 when he started at the bank. Accompanying him in the parade will be his wife, Janice, and four of their grandchildren. Edwards has been a longtime supporter of the arts and of the council’s activities.

From Anne Foote’s column, Ramblings: On two beautiful June days this year, Al and Barbara Hawkes of Westbrook hosted their annual party for their many musical friends – and not a drop of rain. The two-day party, called “The Gathering,” is happily anticipated by both those who bring their banjos, guitars, mandolins, fiddles and basses to participate, and those in the audience listening and tapping their toes. Many guests in campers, spending the weekend in the Hawkeses’ back yard. The grounds were immaculate. Al must have spent many hours mowing the acres. And the flower beds were lovely, too. The Saturday night buffet, served under a tent, with tables laden with potluck dishes, is a pleasure, too.

July 2, 2003

Westbrook’s director of community and economic development, Mathew Eddy, resigned last week to take a similar position in Brunswick, where he lives. Eddy, who will stay on until July 25, has been in his Westbrook job for three years, but it’s been three busy years. He’s been one of the principal architects behind the city’s plan to revitalize the downtown. Eddy worked closely with developer Tim Flannery to bring in Core Inc., a company that will fill a $16.7 million office building on the riverfront with 400 employees. He’s also worked on proposals to develop five city properties, including Saccarappa Park, and has worked on controversial new zoning ordinances.

A fatal car accident in Gorham last week took the life of Mary Wright Sawyer, a local mother of three who dedicated her work and spare time to helping others. Police say Sawyer was traveling west on Route 25 at 6 a.m. June 26 when she apparently swerved into the eastbound lane, corrected her vehicle too sharply and turned broadside into an oncoming pickup truck. Sawyer was one of the 10 volunteer founders of the Gorham Times newspaper when it formed in 1995. She worked as a caregiver in a crisis unit at Port Resources in Portland, and volunteered extensively for the First Parish Congregational Church in Gorham and Habitat for Humanity. “She was always trying to make a difference for the people around her,” said her daughter, Amy Sawyer.

A group of Westbrook businessmen and officials plan to open a new restaurant on Main Street on July 16. Ed Symbol, part owner of the restaurant, to be called Rookies, said the lunch and dinner menus would cater to families and kids involved in local sports. The restaurant will also have a bar, something Symbol, a School Committee member, says may spark some opposition at a City Council hearing for a liquor license. Symbol is opening Rookies with his business partner, Jerry Sands. The two also own Full Court Press. A list of investors also includes City Council President Jim Violette; high school Principal Marc Gousse; Jane Sawyer, wife of school Superintendent Stan Sawyer; Suburban News Editor John Balentine; Glenn Amico; Michael Gilbert; and Dan Smith. Symbol said the people behind the restaurant are investing more than $200,000, about $80,000 of which will go toward installing a kitchen.

Clifford and Mary Margaret Beane of New Gorham Road, Westbrook, were honored on their 50th wedding anniversary May 24 at Verrillo’s in a celebration given by their three children, Catherine and Brian Williams of Portland, Gregory Beane of Biddeford and Lori Beane of Portland.

Gorham Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre said Monday that 18 middle school students were treated for heat exhaustion Friday and released from three local hospitals, with another 15 to 20 students treated at the scene at the Gorham campus of the University of Southern Maine. The students were attending a Maine State Gear Up program. The heat exhaustion incidents occurred about 1:30 p.m. during a scavenger hunt that was stopped after about 15 minutes.

This building at 917 Main St. was built in 1840 and was a Universalist Church until the church moved in 1887 to 719 Main St. The original front had pillars and exterior stairs leading to the main floor. The building was sold and served many different businesses over the years, including a stove shop, Star Laundry, Westbrook Tire & Appliance Company, Pyrofax Gas Co., Montgomery-Ward Catalog Store, Tots to Teens Clothing & Toys and the My Sister’s Closet consignment store.  It eventually was purchased by the Westbrook Housing Authority, which demolished it. A three-unit building is now on the site. To see more historical photos and artifacts, visit the Westbrook Historical Society at 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.