2015-05-08 / Community

News Briefs

High school kudos announced

Nine students at Kennebunk High School have qualified for the 2016 National Merit Scholarship program, a record for the school, according to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn Hawes. The local students are among 50,000 to make the cut for the performance-based program out of 1.5 million applicants nationwide, Hawes said.

During the May 4 school board meeting, Hawes also announced the top scholars for the Class of 2015 at KHS. The valedictorian is Jaclin Murphy, while the salutatorian is Jacob Oransky.

“David Behrens was also voted Mr. KHS,” said Hawes.

Graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2015 will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 14, on the KHS Stadium Field and will last about 70 minutes.

Public works receives shelving donation

Kennebunk Public Works has saved a significant amount of money thanks to a donation from Kennebunk Savings Bank. The bank recently purchased the old William Arthur building and allowed the town to take shelving units used by the former stationary maker.

“They allowed us to go in and get a significant amount of the racks, which was great,” Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said. “Most of it has been set up at the town garage, so it’s worked out really well. It definitely saved us some money.”

The town had talked of budgeting $18,000 for a custom build-out of needed shelving at the town garage.

Public works director expected by August

According to Kennebunk Town Manager Barry Tibbetts, he expects to have a new public works director in place by August.

Thomas Martin Jr., Kennebunk’s director of public works since January 2014, resigned effective April 21. Martins had been on leave since January while recuperating from knee replacement surgery. Mike Pardue, who had been filling in for Martin, was hired by the selectboard to stay on as interim director at his current contracted rate of $50 per hour.

Martin’s tenure was not without controversy. In January, the town paid a fine to the Department of Environmental Protection following improper paving work on Great Hill Road last fall. The fine, plus corrective work and labor, cost the town more than $9,000, causing some residents to lay blame on Martin at selectboard meetings.

Martin’s resignation was officially announced in a press release by the town dated April 2. However, there was advance word of the departure, which also caused a minor kerfuffle when Martin was allowed to dispose of a truck and to leave with a computer.

In a March 24 email, Selectman Richard Morin complained about hearing of the truck sale from a member of the public, rather than from Tibbetts.

“It was distressing to say the least that I learned through a phone call that the infamous truck that took as many as three spots on our agenda over a significant time period — with heartfelt testimony, rally cries and promises of teamwork and morale boosting — has a new home,” Morin wrote to Tibbetts. “I learned that Tom Martin gave it to the mechanic, who I am told later posted his good fortune on Facebook. Was that not the town’s truck? After all the fanfare and fussing – it’s gone like that with no notice, no consideration and/or consultation? We sell old police cars for $500 through a posting and bidding process! Why not this?”

“Tom Martin, who is out on knee surgery informed me he was not planning to return and desired to do something different,” Tibbetts wrote in an April 9 email to the Post. “I asked Tom what he wanted to do with the truck since it came from him and I didn’t see the town making the effort to completely restore it. The value of that old truck is at $1 so I thought it was best for Tom to dispose of it.”

Tibbetts said the computer Martin took was one he brought with him when he was hired.

Pardue will continue to work roughly 40 hours per week, but, Tibbetts said, “there is some flexibility in that because he has some other obligations. It will be sometimes 40, sometimes considerably less than 40.”

The public works director job will be advertised this month, Tibbetts said. Interviews are slated for June, with a candidate to be presented to the board of selectmen at their July 28 meeting. The new director is expected be in place ready to start work by early August, Tibbetts said.

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