Looking Back


July 14, 1993

The Gorham Citizens Committee, which is working to get the town’s $16.78 million municipal and school budget for 1993-94 recalled, has easily passed the first hurdle. The group needed 909 certified registered voters’ signatures to put a referendum on the ballot that seeks the recall. Town Clerk Brenda Caldwell said this week she stopped checking names after 936 were confirmed. The council approved the budget, which calls for a 7.1 percent increase in local taxes, last month.

Tumbling calcium carbonate started gobbing together in the lime kiln at the S.D. Warren mill in Westbrook, forming a chunk that got as big as an office desk before it was broken up Monday. Taking care of that meant an episode of mill odor Sunday, and another one is likely before things get back to normal.

If you’re dying to be buried in Gorham, but haven’t reserved a space yet, your options could be limited. Town Clerk Brenda Caldwell says only five of the town’s 15 cemeteries have any unassigned lots left. The town’s largest, Eastern Cemetery, ran out of plot space three years ago. Town Manager Paul Weston said the town is looking for land for a new cemetery. An ideal site would have 10 to 20 acres, he said

Tom Charette, 12, has a framed letter on his wall – a letter of congratulations from President Bill Clinton. Tom has just completed a term as president of the Student Council at the Congin School in Westbrook, and a friend of the family sent word of this to the White House. Back came a big manila enveloped addressed to Tom. He is the son of James and Patricia Charette, King Street. He moves to the eighth grade at Westbrook Junior High School in August.

Gorham School Superintendent Timothy McCormack led a group of officials and students who used a “golden shovel” to break ground Saturday for the high school expansion. The $7.9 million project will add classrooms, labs and a 1,000-seat gymnasium-auditorium. It is expected to be completed in 1995.

From the Westbrook Police Notes: Kids throwing firecrackers at Saco and Prospect streets were bothering a dog tied nearby. Fireworks complaints were received from Main and Seavey streets, Pine Knoll Terrace, Seavey Street, Anne Terrace and Fitch Street. At Declaration Drive and Quaker Road, a man said kids were shooting fireworks out a window that were landing on his roof. More fireworks complaints came from residents of Central and Butler streets, Nasson and Pierce streets, the Stevens Avenue ball field and Saccarappa Falls Park.

July 16, 2003

It’s been almost nine months since Westbrook’s Planning Department presented plans to rezone the entire city to the City Council. After yet another meeting on the ordinance last week, formal approval appears to be months away. The Planning Board listed to a couple hours of criticism of the new ordinance last Tuesday in a contentious meeting. In addition to objections about the rezoning along Stroudwater, another group of residents opposed a different piece of the ordinance – shoreland zoning. The city has proposed increasing the shoreland zone from the state minimum of 75 feet to 100 feet. “I think we’re headed into a situation where we’re going to have legal battles in court,” said Dennis Gilbertson, a landowner affected by the new shoreland zoning.

Vandals did $8,000 worth of damage to Riverbank Park last weekend. The vandals broke five light poles and two light fixtures in two separate incidents on Friday and Sunday nights. It was the second time in the last several months that light poles in the back of the park along the Presumpscot River were vandalized. Four poles were broken last March, and it cost $6,000 to replace them.

A Gorham woman seeking a ban on chemical pesticides within 500 feet of her Morrill Avenue home has been told to work with her neighbors rather than rely on a ban from the state. The Maine Board of Pesticide Control has again declined to establish the ban requested by Mary Valentine. Valentine, who suffers from a health ailment that makes her very sensitive to chemicals in the air, first petitioned the board for a chemical-free zone in 1998, and then this spring. The state board plans to set up a meeting between Valentine, her neighbors and the companies that apply the pesticides in the neighborhood.

Roland and Mary LeMay, 90 Monroe Ave., Westbrook, recently returned from an eight-day trip to Alaska. The trip was a triple celebration for their 35th wedding anniversary, Roland’s partial retirement and Mary’s 60th birthday. They cruised on the Dawn Princess and said it was probably the trip of a lifetime and well worth it.

Rita Casey will be hostess when members of the Elvis Presley Fan Club in Maine will meet at a pool party on July 19 at her home on the Mosher Road in Gorham. She said that the club would be discussing a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine. The fan club meeting will feature an Elvis impersonator.

This photo shows the Cumberland Mills Train Station in the early 1900s, when three or more passenger trains and several freight trains passed through each day. Westbrook also had a train station downtown. After the station was closed, the Portland Terminal Company occupied the building, downsizing it to fit its needs of providing service to freight trains traveling to and from the Rigby Yard in South Portland to New Hampshire. E.A. Burns Fencing Company currently is located at 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.