Looking Back


Nov. 3, 1993

A second Westbrook neighborhood has felt the nasty sting of a car burglar. Four days after 16 cars were hit in the Spring and Saco streets area, 19 were hit between Colonial Acres and Bridge Street the night of Oct. 21. Police got the first report at 6:03 a.m. Oct. 22 and new reports kept coming until 9:11 p.m.

Apparently because the building is on an old city dump, Westbrook is going to help get a tenant into the long-vacant Unitrode building, at the corner of Spring Street and Eisenhower Drive. A deal was clinched in a 50-minute, closed-door City Council meeting followed by a one-vote quick decision Monday night when most of the attention was fixed on Tuesday’s election. The council motion referred to a “potential tenant,” not a purchaser. Mayoral candidate Fred Porell was there, however, with advance knowledge that Unitrode would be discussed, and warned that the city might be wrapping itself into a web of cleanup costs.

S.D. Warren managers called departments into meetings Friday with some pretty heavy news on workers: Warren headquarters is recommending to Scott’s executive board that three paper machines and the pulp mill in Westbrook be shut down by the end of the year. The recommendations will be taken up “soon,” the company says. No numbers on expected jobs to be lost were announced, but workers said the sum of those employed in areas to be shut down is 500 to 700. That is above and beyond the 220 jobs Westbrook will lose when paper sheeting operations move to a new Allentown, Pennsylvania, facility in April.

From the Gorham Police Log: King’s vegetable stand said the banana man was refusing to sell them bananas unless they bought other produce. Police sympathized but couldn’t help.

Rebecca Kozloff, 6, daughter of William and Anne Kozloff, 17 Nonesuch Road, Gorham, has been riding since she was 6 moths old and has shown horses since she was 2. This year, she had the third highest score in the state for lead-line riding. She was the only western rider in the top four. She also holds the championship in lead-line for the Maine Morgan Horse Association and for the Arabian Horse Association of Maine.

Returning to Westbrook after some years away are Carole Keaton, who had lived in Buxton for six years, and Linda Willoughby, who had lived in Cocoa Beach, Florida, for four years. Keaton works days at Sebago Inc. and evenings in Profenno’s Restaurant, where she worked for 14 years before moving. She is living on Quimby Avenue. Willoughby is living on Falmouth Street.

Nov. 5, 2003

Three-term incumbent Don Esty lost his Westbrook mayoral post to Republican City Councilor Bruce Chuluda Tuesday, 3,050-3,501. Esty had never lost an election in Westbrook. “It’s a proud moment. I’m speechless,” said Chuluda. The City Council stayed in Democratic hands, with only Republicans Gary Groves winning in Ward 3 and John O’Hara winning an at-large seat. Groves defeated Democrat Paul LeConte, a former city councilor, 606-522. Esty spent more than three times as much money in his campaign as he did at this time in each of his two previous mayoral runs. He spent $3,800 as of Oct. 29. He’d spent $1,320 by this time in 2001 and $890 in 1999. Chuluda spent $1,050 by the filing deadline. In the referendums, Question 3, to allow a casino in Sanford, was easily defeated in both Westbrook and Gorham. The racino question was also defeated in both communities.

American Journal staff writer Brendan Moran has been named assistant editor of the paper, and Joshua Shea has joined the paper to cover Gorham and parts of Westbrook. Community editor Robert Lowell now is working for both the American Journal and the new Lakes Region Weekly. Moran has been an AJ reporter for more than a year. He previously worked for the Concord Monitor. Shea worked six years with the Sun Journal in Lewiston as a reporter, design editor and music editor.

Jennifer Vitiello is Maine’s 2004 Assistant Principal of the Year. Vitiello is in her fifth year as Westbrook High School assistant principal. Vitiello says she tries to establish a rapport with students and she tries to treat them like adults. “Her positive personality really is infectious,” said Principal Marc Gousse.

For the second time in as many months, Gorham town councilors will hear a request for a zoning change for land in the Gorham Industrial Park. Gorham resident Leonard Holmes, who also serves as state commissioner for boys basketball with the American Athletic Union, will propose at a council meeting Nov. 11 the development of a recreation center with five basketball courts, fitness facility and locker rooms. The building, formerly occupied by metal machinery manufacturer Hill Loma, has been vacant for two years.

Richard and Sonja Bernier identified a large bird that they spotted Friday sitting on a tree limbe over Longfellow Street at its intersection with Palmer Street in Westbrook as a turkey vulture. They saw the vulture while driving, and Sonja said, “It was so big it caught our eye.” She said the bird preys on smaller animals and road kill.

Zachariah Brackett built this house around 1815 with bricks burned in his brickyard at Prides Corner. Brackett built a large addition facing Main Street about 1850 for his son, Sewell, and the family’s stove and tinware business. During the Civil War an upper part of the building is said to have been used as part of the Underground Railroad. In later years, the LaFond family owned the building; the first two Main Street floors housed the LaFond Department Store. Hub Furniture then occupied the store and the rest was divided into apartments. The building was razed during Urban Renewal. A small plaza now occupies site, and a plaque there recognizes Westbrook’s contribution to the Underground Railroad. 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.