2015-06-19 / Community

News Briefs

New board chairman in Kennebunkport

Kennebunkport selectmen held a special meeting Saturday, June 13, to decide who will hold the gavel for the coming fiscal year.

That honor went unanimously to Sheila Matthews-Bull. At the same session, Stuart Barwise was elected to serve as vice chairman of the board of selectmen for the ensuring year.

“I nominated them both,” outgoing Chairman Allen Daggett said Monday, noting that, having served as chairman four times in his four terms, he was “happy to pass the gavel.”

Daggett also expressed confidence in the new regime, as well as in the entire board, which also includes Patrick Briggs and Edward Hutchins.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had an argument, even though we don’t always agree with one another,” he said. “It’s really been a pleasure working with these other selectmen.”

For her part, Matthews-Bull was somewhat self-deprecating about her ascension to the chairman’s role, one she’s held before.

“We rotate it around,” she joked Monday. “So, basically, it was just my turn.”

Matthews-Bull said the board will deal with a planned addition to the police department building, as well as a new cycle for road maintenance, during the coming year, but otherwise is not expected to venture into unexplored territory under her watch.

“Basically, it will be, stay on course,” she said.

The next regular meeting of the board will be 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, at the Village Fire Station on North Street.

Kennebunk committee appointments due on June 23

For any residents wishing to serve the town of Kennebunk, there is still time to get in an application for volunteer boards and committees. Selectmen are slated to make their annual round of appointments at the June 23 board meeting.

As of June 9, there were openings for three-year terms on the energy efficiency Advisory Committee and the Festival Committee, as well as alternate positions on the Historic Preservation Committee, the River Committee, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Interested residents may apply using the volunteer application on the town website, or by submitting a letter of interest to the town manager.

Girl Scouts give big to York County community programs

The Girl Scouts of Maine, headquartered in South Portland, announced in a June 10 release that it has donated more than 11,500 packages of cookies to various community programs in Maine this past year. Among the recipients was the York County Food Rescue, which distributes to 47 food pantries and soup kitchens in York County.

“As a nonprofit, we know the importance of supporting our local organizations,” said Girl Scouts of Maine CEO Joanne Crepeau. “Giving back is an essential element of Girl Scouting and we are proud to be able to support these organizations and all the wonderful work they are doing in our communities.”

In addition to 7,500 packages donated to York County Food Rescue, the Girl Scouts gave 3,900 packages to additional locations in the greater Bangor area, as well as the Backpack Program at the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick, and the Grace Interface Food Table in Presque Isle.

Girl Scout officials bill the organization’s annual cookie sales event as a financial literacy program that teaches girls about goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics – aspects essential to leadership and life.

Girl Scouts of Maine provides services and support to more than 12,000 youth and adult members statewide. It operates service centers and shops in South Portland and Bangor.

Lower Village name game apparently ends – for a while

The drive to change the name of Kennebunk’s Lower Village has stalled.

Following a series of four visioning sessions held earlier this year on the future of the commercial and mixed-use district located just across the Kennebunk River from downtown Kennebunkport, the Lower Village Committee asked selectmen to approve a name change that would give the area a more distinct brand from the Port’s Dock Square district.

In hopes of choosing something more palatable to tourists than Lower Village – a name that connotes a derelict neighborhood, some committee members felt – the name Harbor Village was suggested. That name would be a throwback of sorts, as the name appeared on 19th century maps of the area.

However, selectmen were less then enthusiastic about the idea, with most suggesting the neighborhood will continue to be referred to by locals as Lower Village no matter what any new signs might say. Following a first reading of the proposal at its May 12 meeting, the board on May 26 asked the committee to revisit the request and bring back a stronger consensus.

The Lower Village Committee met June 1, after which Chairman Jeff Bonney reported it preferred to table the name change request pending further committee debate.

“We’ll let it sit idle until somebody brings it back up,” said Selectman Richard Morin, acting as chairman at the June 9 board meeting.

“You’ll feel better about that, right,” Morin said, turning to Selectman David Spofford, seated to his right.

“Yup, yup,” said Spofford, who opined extensively against the name change idea at the May 26 board meeting and, having chosen not to run for re-election, won’t be part of the decision-making process if and when the controversial item returns to a board agenda.

Always pay to park in the Port

An Ocean State resident has learned not to cheat Kennebunkport.

According to a recent press release issued by the Kennebunkport Police Department, at 10:30 p.m. on June 9, Anthony Coyle, 44, of Bristol, Rhode Island, “was observed evading the payment of parking fees at the municipal parking lot on Spring Street.”

He was promptly summoned for theft of services and is due to appear at Biddeford District Court Aug. 5.

Recycling ready to rock ‘n’ roll

Collection bins have now been distributed to Kennebunk residents for the new “zero-sort” curbside-collection recycling program, scheduled to start June 29.

Pine Tree Waste, which earlier this year won a bid to take over the program, will pick up all recyclable materials in a single 64-gallon container. Residents no longer need to separate plastic, glass, cardboard and other acceptable materials.

The town recently sent a mailing to all households advising what materials can be recycled, along with information on the new weekly collection routes. However, Town Manager Barry Tibbetts acknowledged at the June 9 selectmen’s meeting that a logistical snafu resulted in some homes getting the mailer after recycling containers were dropped off.

“The vendor completed the letter on time, got it to FedEx, and FedEx failed to get it to the post office on time,” Tibbetts said. “So, it was not the post office’s fault, it was FedEx’s fault by five days.”

“I’m sorry, you said it was FedEx’s fault, not the post office’s fault?” Selectmen John Kotsonis said, seeking clarification.

“I want to be very clear; FedEx really dropped the ball — big time,” Tibbetts replied. “But the post office saved the day.”

“So, it was not the post office’s fault?” said Kotsonis once more. “It was FedEx that failed?”

Kotsonis works at the front counter at the U.S. Post Office in Kennebunk and, by this point in the conversation at least, his interest in nailing down culpability appeared to dawn on Tibbetts.

“You are absolutely correct,” Tibbetts said, with a laugh.

However, Tibbetts did acknowledge that the lateness of some notices was not entirely due to FedEx, as all addresses with post office boxes got dropped from the initial mailing list.

“We have sent out a subsequent postcard with that information today,” Tibbetts said.

The mailed information on the new recycling program also was included in a plastic bag inside bins left at homes, Tibbetts said. Anyone who did not receive a bin should call Kennebunk Pubic Services at 985-4811, or Tibbetts at 985-2455.

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on whether recycling services will be offered on private roads in town. Pine Tree Waste is inspecting those roads, Tibbetts said, to see which have room enough for company trucks to maneuver.

“We’ll do the best we can to accommodate them,” Tibbetts said, “but there are some private roads that, frankly, at 8- or 10-feet wide, aren’t going to be suitable for those trucks to go down. But where the private roads are wider and/or paved that the trucks can get in and out easily, they will go in and do it.”

Kennebunk annual report available

The 194th annual report of the town of Kennebunk is now available for download on the town’s website.

“Or, if you want to come to town hall, we have some (printed) copies and we’d be pleased to give you one,” Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said.

The report details events for calendar year 2014, along with audit information for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014. It is dedicated to seven individuals with long public service records who died during the year, including: Earl F. Adams, 81, who had served on the town school committee; Edward P. Legg, 71, who represented the town in the state legislature; Jack L. Libby, 86, who also sat in the legislature, as well as on the board of selectmen and the town budget board; Willis F. Merrill, 68, who served on the municipal festival and shellfish committees; Marion A. “Al” Packard Jr., 88, a former superintendent of the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District, who also served on the municipal bond study and Lower Village committees; Edmund D. “Sandy” Robinson Sr., 76, a longtime truck driver for Kennebunk Public Services and; J. Russell Yates, 88, former reserve police officer, who also logged time on the town charter commission and budget board.

Town’s paving contract extended

Kennebunk selectmen voted unanimously at their May 26 meeting to extend the town’s contract with its longtime paving vendor, Dayton Sand & Gravel Co., by one year.

The new rate for hot top for the 2015-16 road construction season will be $69 per ton, or $1 less per ton than the current rate. Dayton will provide traffic control and road sweeping services during any paving projects.

Transfer station brush pile to be removed

The brush pile at the Kennebunk Transfer Station will disappear “within the next two weeks,” according to Town Manager Barry Tibbetts, who made the announcement at the June 9 selectmen’s meeting. Tibbetts said he got a price of $5 per yard to make the pile go away, a fee he deemed “ridiculously cheap.”

By contrast, the town will begin taking in yard waste from commercial accounts starting July 1 at a fee of $10 per yard. That fee will be assessed by CPRC of Scarborough, which took over operation of the transfer station June 2.

– Compiled by Staff Writer Duke Harrington.

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