2018-01-05 / Community

News Briefs

CHRISTMAS BONUS — Much has been made of the year-end bonuses rolled out by major corporations in the wake of the passage of the Republican tax overhaul, but Kennebunk selectmen did not need congressional action to dole out a bonus of their own.

Following a 15-minute executive session at their Dec. 14 meeting, called to review the job performance of Town Manager Laurie Smith, the board voted unanimously to “offer some consideration” for her work.

That consideration came in the form of a $5,000 bonus.

“We have the unique position of seeing the many things that happen between these meetings,” Selectman Stuart Barwise said. “So very much happens outside of this forum. Laurie is so in tune and so on top if it all she makes being a selectman a pleasure. We could not be more happy or more fortunate to have her and I hope we can say that for a great many more years to come.”

“She makes us look good,” board chairman Patrick Briggs agreed. “Without her, you would really know what you’ve got [for selectmen].”

Smith, then the town manager of Wiscasset, was hired by Kennebunkport in December 2013 at a starting base salary of $96,000 per year.

APPOINTMENT — Kennebunkport now has a full boat on its planning board, following appointment of Edward Francis by the board of selectmen at their most recent meeting to fill an unexpired alternate spot to July 2018.

Francis, who holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Bates College in Lewiston and master’s degree in computer science from the University of Texas, spent more than 30 years in software development, systems engineering, and management at Raytheon.

Following his retirement in 2014, Francis returned to Maine after 40 years, settling in Kennebunkport in December 2016.

“The planning board is one of our most important boards here in town,” Patrick Briggs, chairman of the board of selectmen, said at the Dec. 14 unanimous vote for Francis. “There are lots of committees for whatever onces interests might by or what their background lends itself to, but the planning board, I would put that at the top of the heap. So, you’ve started right at the very top.”

SHELLFISH LICENCES — Kennebunkport selectmen voted Dec. 14 to maintain the status quo for shellfish licenses in town.

For recreational use, the town will again issue 75 licenses to town residents to dig for clams, quahogs, oysters and mussels, along with eight licenses for non-residents and one for town Shellfish Warden Everett Leach. The town will issue to commercial licenses to residents, and none to non-residents.

The flats will be open from April 15 to Oct. 15, with digging allowed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Holders of residential licenses may harvest one peck of shellfish per week. The two commercial license holders will be allowed to take two pecks per day.

DONATIONS — Kennebunkport received a sizable holiday gift at its Dec. 14 meetings, as selectmen accepted $10,525 in donations to the town’s public health department.

Most of the money came from the Flynn Family Foundation, which gave $7,500 — split in equal $2,500 portions to the department’s emergency heating fuel reserve, emergency food fund and nursing account.

Based in Kennebunk, the Flynn Family Foundation is a private grant-making organization founded in October 2015, with $1.78 million in assets, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. The foundation also recently gave a similar amount to Kennebunk.

Other donations included $2,000 from St. Anne’s Church for the nursing account, $900 from an anonymous donor for general needs of the health department, and two more anonymous gifts — one for $100 and one for $25 — both earmarked for the heating fuel fund.

“This is fantastic. It’s so appreciated,” Selectman Stuart Barwise said.

“It is so generous, and is what enables us to help our people so greatly,” board chairman Patrick Briggs said.

MARIJUANA — At its most recent session, the Kennebunk planning board decided it was time to take up a proposal to ban retail marijuana operations in town, a proposal first put on the table back in July.

A public hearing on the proposed ordinances to outlaw commercial cultivation, manufacture and sale of marijuana products in town will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8, at town hall.

At the suggestion of selectboard Chairman Dick Morin, who appeared to take great delight in the pun when making the announcement at the Dec. 12 board meeting, the planning board hearing on marijuana will be conducted as a joint session with selectmen. DONATIONS — Kennebunk selectmen accepted $800 in donations to the town at their most recent meeting, December 12. Pat Hansen of Hearth and Soul, located at 35 Main St., gave $450 to Kennebunk’s emergency fuel assistance fund, which is used to aid local residents in need during the winter months. Each year, Hansen donates a portion of her sales on Small Business Saturday to the fuel fund. Hansen also gave $100 in memory of her sister to Kennebunk’s new Medical Equipment Loan Closet program.

Meanwhile, the Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine gave $250 to the Kennebunk Police Department, noting that the gift was intended as a thank-you for a presentation given by Police Chief Robert MacKenzie on law enforcement as it applies to Maine’s ongoing opioid epidemic, delivered at the society’s 6th annual business meeting and scientific conference, held in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Nov. 11-12.

The donation will be used to offset costs of running the department’s Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS) program.

MORE APPOINTMENTS — Jacqueline Hawkins has been elevated from an alternate seat to a full position on Kennebunk’s seven-person parks and recreation committee.

She will fill out remaining six months to June 30 on the term of Judy Milligan who tendered her resignation to selectmen Dec. 12.

The change leaves both alternate seats on the committee open to any resident wishing to apply.

Compiled by Staff Writer Duke Harrington. He can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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