Looking Back


Sept. 22, 1993

Five-time mayor William B. O’Gara turned back a powerful challenge by some party leaders to win the plum of the Westbrook Democratic city caucus Sunday – nomination for city clerk. His 145 votes topped the combined totals of Ronald Usher, 65, and Martin Pizzo, 36. Veteran City Clerk William Clarke announced he would not seek re-election.

Neighbors won a second victory last week over William Gowen’s effort to get land at Duck Pond Corner rezoned. In a 3-3 tie vote, the Westbrook City Council refused to reconsider the 3-2 vote two weeks earlier rejecting the rezoning.
Former Westbrook Police Chief Carmine Russo and local musician Don Doane are among new nominees for custodian positions on the agenda for tonight’s Westbrook School Committee meeting. Russo is nominated for lead custodian at the junior high. Doane is tapped for a part-time job as custodian for the central office. On Sunday, Russo was nominated by the city Democratic caucus as alderman candidate in Ward 5.

An executive session of the Gorham Town Council last night was to pare down a list of applicants from as far away as Alaska to six or seven finalists to be interviewed for the job of new town manager. In a preliminary round, a personnel subcommittee reduced the list from 74 applicants to 17. Brenda Caldwell continues as acting town manager. The position was vacated when Paul Weston quit Aug. 1.

Hazel Rubito, formerly of 11 Canal St., Westbrook, now of Florida, was honored at a party in Portland recently marking her retirement after 30 years’ employment at Maine Medical Center. She worked in the operating room and a central services. Ninety-nine relatives and friends attended.

Robert and Sandra Beaudoin, 6 Longmeadow Drive, Gorham, with friends Jim and Grace Swett, South Portland, are back from a long-planned Alaska vacation. After a week of traveling to such places as Anchorage, Seward, Portage and Copper Landing, Sandra and the Swetts flew home, leaving Bob to stay for a second week to fish. His catch: 47 silver salmon, nine rainbow trout, a sockeye salmon and a Dolly Varden trout. Bob was fishing with flies he tied himself.

Sept. 24, 2003

Two incumbent Westbrook councilors, Elmer Welch and Keith Gorman, won’t be running for re-election in November. At the Democratic City Committee caucus on Sunday, Welch got nominated in ward 4 but lost in a secret ballot vote to Ann Peoples, a former city councilor and current Planning Board member. After Gorman told Ward 3 Democrats that he decided not to run this year, Paul LaConte, a former city councilor, got the support of the ward. The party supported Mayor Don Esty’s bid to seek a fourth term. Welch, who will finish his fifth term this year, said he wasn’t disappointed. “That’s the way it goes. That’s politics, especially in Westbrook,” he said.

Gorham students in grades K-6 will be eating Maine-grown foods Thursday as part of the Maine Harvest Lunch program. Gorham schools already spend 16 percent of the food budget on milk produced in Maine. Ron Adams, director of the School Nutrition Program, sees the Harvest Lunch as a way to increase the amount of local food in the school program. Local farmers have been invited to the lunch, and the students have been making posters of foods grown near their home.

Organizers of the Riverwalk Fine Arts Festival are hoping this year’s art show on Sept. 27, in Westbrook’s Riverbank Park, will be as successful as last year, when it debuted with more than 100 artists participating. The festival also incorporates student artwork into the displays. Music will be a part of the festival, with the Amazing Zen Blackflies, a three-piece band, and the Westbrook City Band both performing.

Eva Giro and her fiancé, Arnold Howe, of Mechanic Street in Westbrook, recently took a trip to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick in Canada. They report that the ride to Nova Scotia on the “Cat” out of Bar Harbor was very pleasurable. In PEI, they visited the many windmills that generate the power for the area. Leaving Prince Edward Island, they enjoyed the 8-mile-long bridge to New Brunswick.

From Looking Back, September 1978: A dance and auction, a chicken barbecue and a hot dog stand will raise money to help Gorham’s Sherman “Red” Gray and his wife Jean with the expenses of his two months in the hospital since a tree fell, pinning him all day in the cab of his front-end loader. He’s improving.

Fire destroyed the Agway Farm & Garden Store at 33 Central St. in Westbrook on Jan. 22, 1985. The site was cleared and remained vacant for a number of years until Anderson-Watkins Insurance Company purchased the land and constructed a new building and parking lot. The address was changed to 31 Central St. 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 [email protected] The website is www.westbrookhistoricalsociety.org.