2015-01-16 / Community

News Briefs

Town office launches Facebook page

As of Jan. 7, the Kennebunkport town office has its own page on Facebook.

Not to be confused with many other Kennebunkport related pages on the social networking website, the town’s official municipal home can be accessed at www.facebook.com/townofkennebunkport.

“It’s another way for us to get information out to the public and communicate. So, hopefully we’ll find some friends out there,” said Town Manager Laurie Smith, at the Jan. 8 meeting of the board of selectmen.

As of Monday, Jan. 12, the page had 96 “likes.” The town does not yet have an account on Twitter.

Dock Square tree takes a tumble

Christmas came crashing down in Kennebunkport on Jan. 7, when the Christmas Prelude tree took a tumble.

“The wind was just horrendous,” said Selectman Sheila Matthews-Bull, at the selectmen’s meeting held the following night. “The tree gave way and fell toward the Compliments building. Thank God there were no cars there, and no people.”

As both a selectman and a member of the Kennebunkport Business Association, Matthews-Bull publicly thanked fire and police crews, as well as several downtown business owners, for tending to the tree.

“They were there lickety-split and got that tree out of there in less than an hour,” she said. “I thank them all from the bottom of my heart for their quickness and energy.”

The KBA had planned to take down the holiday decorations on Monday, Jan. 12, and the tree was scheduled to come down then, anyway, Matthews-Bull said.

Goose Rocks Beach monitoring continues

At its Jan. 8 meeting, the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen voted to accept a recommendation from the Goose Rocks Beach Advisory Committee and fund annual beach monitoring from the beach’s maintenance fund.

The annual $700 fee is paid to Maine Sea Grant, a partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Office under the Southern Maine Beach Profile Monitoring Program. As part of that effort, volunteers have collected beach data every month since 1999.

According to program coordinator Kristen Grant, Goose Rocks Beach has shown “progressive erosion” during winter months since 2010 at two monitored sites at either end of the beach.

“These same sites also have massive swings in terms of profile shapes from year to year,” wrote Grant, in an Oct. 23 funding request letter to the town.

The latest data on Goose Rocks Beach is scheduled to be presented at the Maine Beaches Conference, to be held July 17 at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.

Town, residents seek beach resolution

With a recent court decision on public access to Goose Rocks Beach sending “everything back to the drawing board,” in the words of Kennebunkport Selectman Stuart Barwise, the town is extending its hand, in hopes of resolving the issue.

“I’ve heard from people who have continued to be plaintiffs [asking] if, at this point in time, they might appeal to the board to be part of the beach use agreement,” said Barwise, at the Jan. 8 meeting of the board of selectmen.

“We are always, always eager and interested to work with people. So, I would encourage anyone who at this point in time has an interest along those lines to let us know, so that in the course of our dealings with the town’s attorney we can arrive at what the best course forward might be,” Barwise said.

In reply, David James, co-founder and president of the Kennebunkport Residents Association, said most residents in town just want the ongoing battle to be over.

“The general public, the residents, are kind of fed up with the whole thing,” he said. “It’s kind of gone on for a long time, and we’ve spent a lot of money on this thing — I assume probably a million dollars, probably, on both sides. The general consensus is, isn’t there some way to put this behind us and reach some sort of amicable agreement between the beachfront property owners and the town that allows life to go on without spending another million dollars on the issue?”

“We’re unchanging in our openness to talk to people about a reasonable solution, absolutely,” Barwise said. “If people are willing to come forward, we’ve never shut down a negotiation. We’ve never walked away from a table.”

Town accepts final payout from estate donation

At its Jan. 8 meeting, the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen accepted the third and final payout to the town from the Estate of Marjorie C. Picavet.

The final balance of the estate after legal fees, $6,234, was divided among the town ($3,117), Kennebunkport EMS ($1,559) and the Animal Welfare Society ($1,559).

According to Town Manager Laurie Smith, the town has taken in $454,000 from the estate since disbursements began from its trust. While the town only earned $120 in interest on that balance last year, selectmen did agree at their Dec. 11 meeting to switch investment management firms, signing a contract with H. M. Payson of Portland.

“Our hope is that through our new investment management service, we might be able to earn as much as $30,000 per year on the Picavet fund,” Smith said.

Picavet died in September 2013 at age 92. Her donation to the town is to be used to purchase needed equipment for the police department, as well as for public health and nursing services.

Donations made to fuel assistance, Secret Santa

At its Jan. 8 meeting, the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen accepted $4,457 in donations to the town.

The fuel assistance account was augmented by donations of $1,000 from Betsy Ames-Fitzgerald, $937 from members of the town’s volunteer fire department and $670 from the Church on the Cape.

The firefighters also gave $500 to help fund the town’s annual Secret Santa program.

Meanwhile, donations to the town’s nursing account were received from Leo and Anne Famolare (who gave $200) and Jenifer Stewart ($100).

Other gifts includes $1,000 from Denis Scott to be put toward the town’s food bank, and $50 from Geraldine C. Serreze, which was applied to Kennebunkport’s public health account.

Seaglass Chorale puts out call for singers for spring concert

Seaglass Performing Arts Chorale, conducted by Artistic Director Jean Strazdes, is looking for singers to join its musical community in preparation for the spring concert, “An Evening of Reflection and Meditation.”

The concert will feature the works of Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo (Yay-lo) and the photography of Maine artist Peter Ralston.

Selections will include “Across the Vast; Eternal Sky; Dark Night of the Soul; Luminous Night of the Soul” and “Ubi Caritas.” The pinnacle piece will be “Sunrise Mass.”

The performance will be presented at the First Congregational Church in Saco on Saturday, May 9 at 7 p.m.

For more information (including rehearsal schedule) or to join Seaglass Chorale, call 985-8747, or visit www.seaglassperformingarts.org.

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