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Header photo: Fall view, Cobb’s Bridge Road, Doug Smith

What does that tax rate include?

|Peter Bragdon, NG Budget Committee Vice-chair/ Acting Chair|
* Editors’ note: We reached out to Peter for a clarification of the increase in the tax rate for this year. Here’s his response.

As most of you are aware, last year was a challenging year for the town budget process and the tax rate went up.  Was it 6.9% or 20+%?

Without having the exact number in front of me, I am confident in stating the town’s portion of the tax bill went up a little over 20%.  Your tax bill as a whole saw an increase of 6.9% Why the difference?  The majority of your tax bill goes to the school system, over 70% in fact. A little over 20% goes to the town and small portion goes to the county, around 4%.  When you average the increases of the school department, the town and the county together, that is where the 6.9% increase came from.  Still, a 20% increase on the town portion was significant.  Apply a 20% increase to your household budget all at once; it’s not something that is recommended.  It is certainly not something that can happen again this year, or at least in my opinion it shouldn’t. 

For every $1,000 value of your house you pay $16.90 in taxes.  An average $250,000 house will pay $4,225 this year as opposed to $3,950 last year and $3,365 5 years ago, yielding an increase on that same house of $860 since tax year 2013.

Save the Opportunity Farm View group has set up GoFundMe page

|Hannah Beem Blackburn|
If you live in or around New Gloucester, chances are you have come over the top of Gloucester Hill on your way to the Lower Village, and slowed to a stop as the view over the pasture there took your breath away.
Now that land is up for sale with a proposed house to be built on it, that has already been approved by the planning board.  
A dedicated group of local citizens are working hard to raise funds and awareness, to purchase this spectacular piece of land, put it into a trust, preserve it’s history as a pasture, and to make sure this remains a special landmark, catching the breath of generations to come.

If you are able to help, we would appreciate any amount you can manage. Continue reading

Wind and rain bring down trees and wires

The storm brought trees and wires down across southern Maine, including here on Bald Hill Road this morning. Photo: Kevyn Fowler

The Purple House is tiny, its owner talented and tireless, and its reputation huge

|Alexandra Hall, Boston Globe Correspondent|
NORTH YARMOUTH, Maine — The road to The Purple House is an eclectic and curious one. After driving past the town’s gold- and green-flecked cow pastures, a retired train car selling handmade ice cream, a gigantic Trump lawn sign, a road called Fairy Tale Lane, and an elite equestrian school, you finally spot a cabin the color of raspberry sherbet so small, it looks like a Hobbit might live in it. Pull into its dirt driveway and, if the place is open, you notice the cars — lots of them — bearing license plates from all over the country. Or, if you happen to roll up in the early fall when the restaurant hasn’t opened yet for the fall season, odds are good you’ll run into Krista Kern Desjarlais, the Jacques Torres- and Guy Savoy-trained chef-owner. She’s usually there by herself in the weeks before reopening, pulling up weeds in the garden, and otherwise getting the place ready. Continue reading

Patricia Kiley, 81

|Obituary in Sun Journal|
Patricia Kiley, 81, passed away peacefully on Oct. 14, 2019, following a long illness. She was born in Monmouth on Jan. 11, 1938 to Marilyn and Robert Anderson. Pat graduated from Edward Little High School in 1957. She married the love of her life, Bill Kiley, on Sept. 19, 1959, enjoying 60 wonderful years together. Continue reading

Tax relief to towns and taxpayers: An explanation

| State Representative Amy Arata |
I am in the unique position of having worked on budgets at three different levels of government. I’ve served on the New Gloucester budget committee, the MSAD 15 budget committee, and now on the Maine State Legislature’s Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs.  My experience has been that it’s best to keep the money as close to those who earned it as possible.  I trust you, the taxpayer, as the most qualified to decide how your money should be spent.  I’m happy to tell you that I’ve worked hard with my colleagues in the Legislature to give you back more of your hard-earned money.  We made three changes to Governor Mills’ proposed budget to give you property tax relief.

Continue reading

Indigenous Peoples Day

|Debra Smith|
Last April, Governor Mills signed into law a bill changing the name of the holiday known as Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, in recognition of the native people who resided in Maine and across the continent before Europeans’ arrival. Maine joins many other states in making this change. Read about the enactment of this law here.

As a New Gloucester resident for nearly 40 years, and a descendent of one of the families who lived in the Blockhouse, I believe this change is important. The Gloucester (MA) residents who laid claim to New Gloucester under a grant from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the mid-1700’s saw the Abnaki people who dwelled here as “savages.” In their view, the native people impeded their goal to establish farms, a church and community to support their families as available land further south in Massachusetts coastal communities became scarce. This was happening in the towns around us as well: Gray was New Boston, Raymond was New Beverly and Windham, New Marblehead. It’s important to recognize that the history of people’s occupation of this beautiful place reaches back more than ten thousand years.

New Gloucester’s Yolked food truck puts an egg in almost every dish

|Kathryn Skelton, Sun Journal|

A Raymond couple who also raise chickens are prepared to serve 200 people daily outside NU Brewery.

NEW GLOUCESTER — Self-described “chicken people” Jesse and Mindy Bouchard opened Yolked Farm to Table Food Truck outside NU Brewery last summer with an egg in almost every dish.

There is a poached egg on poutine. A fried egg on the signature burger. Egg whites on the chicken fingers and egg yolks in the homemade ice cream in whatever-inspires-him flavors like basil, sweet corn or blueberry pancake, many ingredients raised or grown within 20 miles. Continue reading

Update on fundraising from “Save the Opportunity Farm View” group

NGX eds: Residents and interested friends have formed a group on Facebook called “Save the Opportunity Farm View” with the goal of purchasing and preserving the fields across from the former Opportunity Farm at the top of Gloucester Hill Road.  Below is an Oct. 11 post from the group’s Facebook page.

| by Cheryl Trafford, Save the Opportunity Farm View |

We are ready to collect donations!

An account has been set up at Cumberland county credit union in Gray, under the name “Save the Opportunity Farm View” anyone can make a deposit. Checks only, can also be sent to 3 Estes Rd, New Gloucester 04260. A go fund me page, and buckets at local businesses are in the works.

Keep Reading

Presentation on history of church music in NG’s First Congregational Church – Thurs. October 17 at 7 pm

The key desk of the 1857 Stevens organ

Come hear a talk by John Terison, director of music, about the rich history of music at the First Congregational Church, including its celebrated and venerable pipe organ, on Thursday October 17 at 7 pm. 

The George Stevens organ, a mechanical-action type, dates to 1858 and will undergo restoration in the coming year.  Attendees will get to hear the organ played and have the opportunity to pump the organ by hand.   

The program takes place at the First Congregational Church, 19 Gloucester Hill Road, and is sponsored by the New Gloucester Historical Society. Refreshments will be served.  For more information, contact Leonard Brooks at (207) 926-3188.  — Photos courtesy of Linda Gard

John Terison, Director of Music,
New Gloucester First Congregational Church
The facade pipes of the 1857 Stevens organ