2018-03-30 / Community

News Briefs

Marty Bouchard Marty Bouchard District decides on new middle school principal

RSU 21 is set to select a new principal for the Middle School of the Kennebunks, replacing, Jeff Rodman, who will retire at the end of this school year after 21 years at the MSK helm.

The nomination of Marty Bouchard, currently principal of the Houlton Middle/ High School in Aroostook County, will be presented to the RSU 21 Board of Directors at its April 2 meeting.

“After 25 years serving the educational communities of northern Maine, Marty and his wife have made the decision to move south, bringing them closer to their son and daughter, who will both be attending and playing basketball for Bentley College in the fall,” Superintendnt Katie Hawes wrote in a March 21 press release.

Bouchard has spent 14 years at Houlton Middle/High School, which serves students in grades 6 through 12. Prior to that, he was an assistant principal and athletic administrator. He also is a past president of the Maine Principals’ Association.

According to Hawes, a selection committee of 11 school staffers and administrators narrowed the search to three finalists, each of whom spent a half day at the middle school meeting with small groups students, staffers and administrators. The school district did not respond to a request from the Post for the names of the other two finalists.

In addition to the meetings with finalists, nearly 1,200 students and parents participated in a survey asking what personal attributes would mean the most to them in a new principal, while 100 staff members participated in a forum to identify key areas for future growth at the middle school.

“Taking into account the feedback from the surveys, forums, search committees, and small groups, it was clear that Marty would be an ideal fit for the Middle School of the Kennebunks,” Hawes said. “Our search was a true community effort to find the perfect fit for our school. Once Marty is approved by the school board, we will host a community meet and greet opportunity at MSK.”

Port joins offshore drilling opposition

Kennebunkport has joined more than 140 communities along the U.S. eastern seaboard to formally oppose any drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of Maine.

The action comes following an executive order issued in January by President Donald Trump, opening up the entire seaboard as part of the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Draft Proposed Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

A resolution opposing the possibility of drilling in the Gulf of Maine was submitted to selectmen by town resident Sarah Lachance.

The text was identical to a similar resolution adopted by Portland in early January, she said. The South Portland City Council has also adopted a version of this resolution.

“There has been a lot of opposition to stop that (drilling proposal), particularly here in the state of Maine, recognizing how closely tied a healthy ocean is to our economy and our way of life, with so many folks going out to sea to make their living and, obviously, so many people travelling to Maine to enjoy our ocean waters and the bounty that comes out of it,” Lechance said at the March 22 selectmen’s meeting.

Lechance that Maine can ill-afford a continued focus on fossil fuels, “in light of climate change” not to mention fear of an incident in the Gulf of Maine similar to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, when 4.9 million barrels of crude leaked into the Gulf of Mexico following an accident aboard an offshore drilling rig.

“We’re talking about a similar type of process happening up and down the coast here and that would be absolutely devastating to Maine’s waters, as well as seismic testing that has to take place in order for this to happen,” Lechance said. “There’s all kinds of evidence that this is catastrophic to endangered species, like the whales that migrate up and down our shorelines, as well as other sea creatures. So, even if there was never a spill, just the act of exploration of looking for oil underneath the ocean’s floor is going to have a very adverse impact on life in the ocean.”

Kennebunkport’s conservation commission lent its support to the resolution, also uring selectmen to sign the document.

Although a public comment period called by federal agencies subject to the executive order has passed, Lechance said Kennebunkport’s voice would add weight to calls from Maine’s congressional delegation to reverse the executive order.

Town announces acceptance of donations

At its March 22 meeting, the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen accepted more than $11,000 in donations to the town.

Among the gifts were $727 in donations to the town’s emergency food program, including $500 from the William J. J. Gordon Family Foundation; $177 from the Kennebunkport Consolidated School sock hop fundraiser; and $50 from Madonna Chapter 144, the local masonic lodge in the Grand Chapter of Maine Order of the Eastern Star.

Another $7,796 was given to the town’s emergency home heating fuel fund, including $5,000 from local developer Tim Harrington; $1,130 from the Seaside Hotel Partnership, from money raised during the cookie crawl at the 2017 Christmas Prelude event; $1,000 by the Atlantic Firemen’s Association; $500 by the Gordon Family Foundation; $250 by the United Way; and $96 from the sock hop.

Meanwhile, Kennebunkport public health department benefited from $2,515 in donations to the nurse’s general account, including $2,115 from the Village Fire Company; $250 from the First Congregational Church; and gifts of $100 at $50, from, respectively, town residents Jennifer Stewart and Margaret Murray.

“This represents extreme generosity across the board,” Selectman Stuart Barwise said, expressing “sincere appreciation on behalf of the town of Kennebunkport and the board of selectmen.”

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

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