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Patti’s April 28 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Historic sign to be unveiled

A special monthly History Barn Open House will take place on Saturday, May 6, from 9 a.m.-noon. At 10 a.m., the original 1776 Bell Tavern Sign, which is a gift from the Chandler Family, will be unveiled. It will hang in the barn as part of the New Gloucester Historical Society’s permanent exhibit.

The public is welcome to attend the open house and learn about the historic tavern. Refreshments, featuring goat cheese, or chèvre, from New Gloucester’s Lazy Dog Farm Creamery, and other tasty treats, will be served next door in the Community Building located at 381 Intervale Road, behind Town Hall.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-101/

Charlotte E. (Aldrich) Hammond, 95

Charlotte E. (Aldrich) Hammond, a longtime resident of New Gloucester, passed away in her sleep on Thursday, April 13, 2017, at Ledgewood Manor in Windham, one day after her 95th birthday. – See more at: http://obituaries.pressherald.com/obituaries/mainetoday-pressherald/obituary.aspx?n=charlotte-e-hammond-aldrich&pid=185207078&eid=sp_ommatch&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.f0IszuE3.dpuf

Why Should NG Adopt Term Limits for Selectmen?

New Gloucester voters will have a chance to weigh in on whether or not to adopt an ordinance establishing term limits for selectmen at our Town Meeting on Monday, May 1.

How does it work?

If enacted, a member of the Board of Selectmen would serve no more than three consecutive three-year terms. After an interval of at least three years, the former selectman may run for and hold the office of selectmen again. Keep in mind that during this absence, he or she is free to apply to serve on other Town boards and committees, if they so choose.

How many years have the longest-serving board members been in office?

One board member has served since 2001. When his term is up in 2019, he would have been on the board for 18 continuous years. Another has served since 2006. When her term is up in 2018, she would have been on the board for 12 continuous years.

Would they be permitted to run again when their terms expire, if they so choose?

No, there is a retroactivity clause in the ordinance.

Why not just vote out a selectman when his or her term expires?

Voting on selectmen occurs at the June election when turnout is historically low. Many times the turnout is at the 15-20% level, and the election is decided by just a handful of voters. The possible reason that a candidate may win is because they are adept at ‘get-out-the-vote’ efforts, rather than being a reflection of job approval ratings by the citizenship at large.

Why would term limits benefit the Town?

Term limits would likely cultivate a healthy balance of fresh perspective and institutional knowledge among board members.

If term limits were enacted, would it produce a shortage of candidates in ensuing elections?

During the last six years (and perhaps in prior years), there has been ample interest shown in running for this office, as evidenced by the fact that the number of candidates has outnumbered the number of open seats. In both 2011 and 2014, two candidates ran for 1 open seat; and in each of the years 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016, four candidates ran for two open seats.

Is the ordinance legal?

The citizen’s petition, which contained the ordinance, passed legal muster by Town Attorney Philip Saucier of Bernstein Shur in January 2017.

Town meeting May 1st

New Gloucester’s annual town meeting will take place on Monday, May 1st at 7 PM in the gym at Memorial School. In addition to the usual roster of budget articles, there are several that deal with new or revised ordinances. Article  21 would ban retail marijuana businesses, (apparently a placeholder until the state gets its act together); article 22 would apply term limits to the Board of Selectmen; and several articles (23-27) that seek to modify zoning ordinances.

You can download the warrant on the town’s website: www.newgloucester.com

MSAD 15 Board Meetings Add Detail to School Budget Picture

The MSAD 15 Board and district staff continued to refine the proposed 2017-18 school budget at a series of April workshops. Tasked by the Board with further reducing a draft budget that reflected a 5 percent increase, district administrators sharpened their pencils. On April 12, they returned with a revised $25.5 million budget that limits the overall increase to 3.94 percent, down from an initial 8.8 percent increase at the outset of the budget development process.

The latest budget draft will be discussed at a board meeting on Wednesday, April 26, at 6:30 pm at the high school. After that, information will be mailed to residents in early May and a school budget town meeting held on May 25. The budget goes to the voters on June 13. Continue reading

Edward Christopher Lowe, 1930-2017

Edward Christopher Lowe, 86, died April 12, 2017 in Auburn.
Born in New Gloucester Sept. 27, 1930, the son of Edward C. Sr. and Elsie Gay Lowe and graduated New Gloucester High School. – See more at: http://obituaries.pressherald.com/obituaries/mainetoday-pressherald/obituary.aspx?n=edward-christopher-lowe&pid=185179656&fhid=15589&eid=sp_ommatch&eid=sp_ommatch#sthash.L8x8igLz.dpuf

Secure your prescription drugs

Local police and Casco Bay Create Awareness Now will talk to senior citizens about the growing problem of prescription drug thefts across the state. Medication theft may impact seniors who in many cases are being victimized by a family member, caretaker, assisted services personnel, or even a friend.

Learn how to keep your prescriptions safe, and how properly to dispose of those that should not fall into anyone else’s hands. Bring in expired or unwanted prescription drugs for disposal by law enforcement staff.

The presentation will take place on Thursday, April 27, 9 a.m., at the First Congregational Church of New Gloucester, 19 Gloucester Hill Road. It is free and open to the public. Call Beth Blakeman-Pohl, program director of Casco Bay CAN, at 688-8816.

Reminder: Solar 101 Presentation Wed. April 19th

The solar 101 presentation by Revision Energy is being held tomorrow night , Wed. April 19th, 7-8:3 at the Meeting House in New Gloucester.  The Meeting House is next to the Town Hall.

There is NO fee to attend!

If you are unable to attend in person, it will be televised on the local cable channel and also can be viewed there at a later time.

We hope to see you there!

Sponsored by the Environmental Resource Committee of New GLoucester

Community Town Hall with Rep. Espling and Sen. Brakey Sparks Spirited Exchange

TownMeetingEsplingBrakey.April2017

The chance to talk with State Representative Ellie Espling drew some twenty New Gloucester residents to the Congregational Church vestry in the early evening on April 5.  State Senator Eric Brakey, newly announced candidate for U.S. Senate, was able to join the gathering, a lively ninety-minute exchange of views and concerns.

Healthcare concerns dominated the conversation. Residents shared personal experiences and expressed a wide spectrum of viewpoints about alternative approaches, costs, and coverage issues.  In particular, community members wanted to know whether the two legislators support Medicaid expansion in Maine, a likely ballot initiative this fall.  On the matter of citizen ballot initiatives generally, residents asked how the representatives typically approach citizen-approved bonds and ballot measures and how they weigh the expressed will of the voters.  Other questions sought the legislators’ positions on proposed cuts to Clean Election funding, whether campaign funds from PACs should be spent within Maine, and what the state should increase spending on.

Briefly stepping back from specific issues to offer a broader view, Representative Espling and Senator Brakey acknowledged partisan differences in Augusta but noted considerable cooperation as well, with many bills enjoying unanimous support in committees and on the floor. Their New Gloucester meeting concluded on a similarly positive note. Attendees thanked Representative Espling and Senator Brakey, and the legislators expressed appreciation and plans to convene additional community listening sessions.

Register for Pre-K and Kindergarten

If you are the parent or guardian of a child residing in the towns of Gray or New Gloucester who will be four years old by Oct. 15, 2017, your child is eligible for the Pre-K Program at the Dunn School in New Gloucester. Classes are 2.5 hours each day, with morning and afternoon sessions, five days a week. Children are assigned to either a.m. or p.m. slots based on their home addresses. To register online, visit the Pre-K Program webpage at www.msad15.org. For more information, contact Jean Southard at 657-5050 or jsouthard@sad15.org.

If you are the parent or guardian of a child residing in the town of New Gloucester who will be five years old by Oct. 15, 2017, you can register your child for kindergarten at the Memorial School in New Gloucester online at www.msad15.org. For more information, call 926-4322.