2016-07-01 / Community

News Briefs

Moth advisory

The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust has issued an advisory of a browntail moth infestation on Vaughn’s Island.

The notice, circulated on Wednesday, June 22, by KCT Associate Director Lisa Linehan, warns hairs on the moth can cause a very severe allergic reaction, similar to poison ivy, baoth in its caterpillar form and even after its molts. KCT is asking that visitors to Vaughn’s Island avoid its harbor side and says all camping “is discouraged” until further notice.

Traffic alert, Part I

For those who attend events like Kennebunk’s July 4 fireworks display with an exit strategy in mind, it might be worth knowing the town will be trying a new traffic pattern this year.

The pyrotechnics, shot off at dusk from Narragansett Point, are best viewed from Gooch’s and Middle beaches, but, according to Town Manager Barry Tibbetts, have historically resulted in a snarl at Cooper’s Corner in the post-finale rush to be first on the road. This year, Tibbetts said, police will try directing the majority of the exit lanes down Sea Road, in hopes of mitigating congestion.

Trash delay

Also worth noting about July 4 for Kennebunk residents, it falls on a Monday, meaning no curbside trash pickup that day.

Whenever a holiday falls on a Monday, the town’s four-day pickup schedule shifts by one day, with Monday tacked on the end. Thus, residents on the Tuesday through-Thursday routes will experience no change. Those who normally have their trash and recycling picked up on Monday will see the garbage truck go by on Friday, July 8, instead.

Traffic alert, Part II

As site work intensifies on reconstruction of Kennebunk High School, with the demolition phase well underway, RSU 21 officials are asking that members of the public refrain from walking near the building. According to Superintendent Katie Hawes, a pathway has been created for students, faculty, and others who need to register or conduct business in the main office. But beyond that, lookie-loos are asked to keep a fair distance, for their own safety.

Construction update

According to a June update circulated by Hawes, crews from PC Construction and its sub-contractors are currently digging foundations for the new gymnasium and locker room areas at the high school. At its June 21 meeting, the school board agreed to a contract with PC in which the district will pay a maximum of $542,000 for demolition work at the high school in preparation for renovations. Meanwhile, at the Mildred L. Day Elementary School in Arundel, all foundations are complete and floor slabs in place, including for the new gymnasium. The steel wall framing and wooden roof trussing of the gymnasium is about 95 percent complete. Also, Kennebunkport Consolidated School was handed over to PC this past week. Although the last to start construction, it is expected to be finished and open for classes come the first day of school this fall. However, the music room and gymnasium are not expected to be complete until October. The school district is making alternate plans for music, lunch, and physical education during that month.

New director

James Read, owner of Benchmark Multimedia in Biddeford, has joined the board of directors for the Education Foundation of the Kennebunks and Arundel. A resident of Cape Porpoise, where he lives with his wife and two children, Read has served as chairman of the foundation’s marketing and communications committee since last year. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of New England and has more than 10 years of experience in the video production and strategic marketing fields. Read also is an active member of the Kennebunkport Rotary and the Scarborough Fish and Game Trap Committee.

Parking change

New parking rules are in effect on York Street in Kennebunk, following a unanimous vote of selectmen June 14. On-street parking on the southwest side of the street, between High and Friend streets, will now be limited to 30 minutes. The opposite side of the street retains the old two-hour limit between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., although one spot at 7 High St. has been converted to a 30-minute limit, to “mix it up,” Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said.

Insurance options

A committee tasked with looking at health insurance issues in RSU 21 has recommended the district stay with the Maine Education Association Benefits Trust, in part because it’s the only organization recognized by the state. According to Clarissa Yohman, who works at Mildred L. Day Elementary School, the district’s law firm, Drummond Woodsum, assured the committee that retired teachers would still be covered under any switch to a new provider. However, Yohman said at the June 21 board meeting more research will be done to test that theory before making any jump. Meanwhile, on behalf of the committee, Sea Road School Principal Steve Marquis urged the school board to consider a larger opt-out – the cash payment given to staffers who decline health coverage though the school district. Marquis said RSU 21 currently offers $1,000 to $1,500, but a full-family policy can run the district, “13 times that.” Stumping for a larger incentive, Marquis said, “I personally believe there is a huge financial advantage to both the district and the employees.” A decision on that question is pending.

Community service pays

Catherine Rush, an RSU 21 board member from Arundel, works at TD Bank, which donates $500 for every 40 hours of community service performed by its employees. Rush’s service on the school board counts in that tally, and, as she noted at the board’s June 21 session, the number of meetings required of an elected school director makes hitting the 40-hour mark, “pretty easy.” On Rush’s behalf, TD Bank has donated $500 to the Mildred L. Day Elementary School in Arundel.

– Compiled by Staff Writer Duke Harrington.

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