2015-10-30 / Community

News Briefs


A new solar panel has been installed at Middle School of the Kennebunks by Talmage Solar Engineering of Arundel. Winter storms destroyed the old panel. The new panel can prepare for heavy snow by adjusting itself vertically. (Courtesy photo) A new solar panel has been installed at Middle School of the Kennebunks by Talmage Solar Engineering of Arundel. Winter storms destroyed the old panel. The new panel can prepare for heavy snow by adjusting itself vertically. (Courtesy photo) Mousam River to be drawn down

As part of the research needed to make a decision on whether or not to maintain or demolish its three Mousam River dams, the Kennebunk Light and Power District will draw down the water level in the river in order to conduct a full study of sediment in the river bed.

In a press release issued Monday, Oct. 26, KLP General Manager Todd Shea said the water level will be lowered between the Twine Mill and Kesslen dams, starting after noon on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

That will allow KLP to conduct a preliminary study of the impoundment area immediately upstream of the Kesslen Dam. Sampling is expected to be complete by the early afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 5, Shea said. In case of inclement weather, the work will be done on Nov. 11-12.

“We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause some members of the public, but this drawdown is a necessary part of the research required in regard to our hydro facilities located on the Mousam River,” Shea said.

KLP has until March 2017 to notify the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission if it intends to apply for relicensing of its dams, due in 2022.

At a pair of public meetings this past spring — one sponsored by KLP, the other by the Mousam River Alliance — residents questions what pollutants, if any, might have collected in the river bed during the 125-plus years the Mousam has been dammed, and how far downstream any contaminants might wash should the dams be removed.

In early October, KLP released a 90- page report prepared by Portland engineering firm Wright-Pierce. That report details the different options open to KLP, including removing one or more of the dams, and the costs associated with each.

KLP will host a second public meeting to take comment on that report at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16, in the auditorium of Kennebunk Town Hall.

The report is available for download at the KLP website, www.klpd.org.

Middle school gets new solar panel

Thanks to the generosity of a local man, the Middle School of the Kennebunks has a new set of solar panels to replace the set damaged by heavy snows last winter

Naoto Inoue, owner of Talmage Solar Engineering Inc. in Arundel, has provided the panels, valued at $28,000, for $15,000.

According to Regional School Unit 21 Superintendent Katie Hawes, the new equipment arrives just in time to fill a hole in the school curriculum created by the loss.

“Over the past 14 years, the solar panels at MSK have become an integral part of the science curriculum,” she said. “Students track weather and measure energy usage and savings.”

Hawes said the district got $6,500 in an insurance payout for the damaged panels, but the system itself was unusable, forcing the search for a new system, which Naoto happily filled.

“Having traveled around the country installing solar system from Maui, St. Croix and Belize, to Georgia and Vermont, I am so glad that a local school system is willing to allow me to bring home the most current technology to my grandson’s school,” he said.

According to Naoto the new state-ofthe art solar panel can move to track the sun and is connected with The Weather Channel. It can prepare for heavy snow by adjusting itself vertically to minimize future damage.

Naoto was at MSK last week to guide staff in operation of the new panel, which was installed by RSU 21 alumnus Loup Boyer.

“He has worked with me for 10 years and has made solar installation as his chosen work,” Naoto said. “Young students should know that there are lots of opportunities in renewable energy field.”

Dubois Livestock files new appeal

Dubois Livestock & Excavating Inc., located at 2 Irving Road in Arundel, has filed a new appeal of the planning board’s Aug. 13 decision that found its application for an operating permit incomplete.

The company, which produces compost among its many agricultural product lines, has since 2011 refused to allow town inspectors into its property.

That resulted in a conditional-use permit being pulled by the town, which in November 2014 won Superior Court backing of its right to impose local rules, including inspection of composting operations and records on Dubois.

After its permit application was found to be lacking, in the words of Town Manager Keith Trefethen, “a plethora of information,” Dubois sought relief from the town’s zoning board of appeals. However, when told at a Sept 29 meeting that they’d have to make their case then – that the session was not called merely to take comment from the public – all Dubois representatives walked out of the hearing. Appeals board members subsequently ruled that it amounted to withdrawing the appeal.

On Monday, ZBA Recording Secretary Wendy Lank said Dubois has since filed a second appeal and a new hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 18.

That meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the library at Mildred L. Day School.

However, it appears likely no hearing will actually be held. Before that happens the ZBA will have to rule on whether or not Dubois has standing to file an appeal.

More than 30 days have passed since the planning board decision.

Meanwhile, Town Planner Tad Redway said Monday the town has filed suit in York County District Court against Dubois because it continues commercial composting operations without a town permit. Redway said Dubois has successfully filed to have the case moved to Superior Court.

“Now we’re just waiting on a [court] date,” he said.

Selectmen back Seashore Trolley project

A project of the Seashore Trolley Museum to restore the “Narcissus” — a car of the old Portland-Lewiston Interurban line that once carried Teddy Roosevelt on a 1912 campaign swing — has won an endorsement from the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen.

It’s not the first time that’s happened.

The town supported the museum’s application for a transportation alternatives program grant from the Maine Department of Transportation in 2010. According to Narcissus project manager Philip Morse, town support helped the project become just one of three funded out of 47 applicants.

However, with the recession in full swing that money was allocated to other things. That happened again in 2012 and 2013.

Now, the trolley museum is back at the table for another try, again needing selectmen’s nod in order to garner additional letters of support for the project.

Sundancer Stained Glass in Saco rebuilt the stained glass windows of the Narcissus this past year. In May, the car itself entered the Seashore Musuem’s restoration shop or exterior work. That work is expected to cost $120,000 Morse said, while full restoration of the historic car is likely to top $400,000.

The goal, Morse says, is to have the Narcissus ride-worthy and ready for passengers by 2019, the 100th anniversary of Roosevelt’s death.

– Compiled by Staff Writer Duke Harrington.

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