Author Archives: NGX edit

David Moran, owner of Sorella’s Bakehouse and an ‘unsung hero’ of Portland’s food scene

| By Melanie Creamer — Portland Press Herald |

David Moran, longtime owner of Sorella’s Bakehouse in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood, died Aug. 1 after a brief fight with cancer. He was 63.

Moran opened Sorella’s in 2002 and made bread for several well-known Portland  restaurants and businesses, including Duckfat, Bruno’s Restaurant and Tavern, Maria’s Restaurant, Micucci Grocery and Leavitt & Sons.

Pete Leavitt, owner of Leavitt & Sons, said Moran was at the heart of the food and hospitality business in Portland. He called Moran an “unsung hero” of the city’s food scene. Keep reading.

Comprehensive Plan Update Committee starts written plan review

| by Anne Maurice |

Scott Hastings, Town Planner, began the committee’s July meeting with an introduction of the first drafted chapter of the Comprehensive Plan which covers population and housing.  The population data shows a steady progression of growth over the last decade.  Hastings stated that New Gloucester does have available land to meet the population projections.  However, New Gloucester has a lot of land in conservation programs and the potential available land for housing is not necessarily of the same high quality as in the past.

The discussion moved towards housing and Hastings reported that in 2015, the Town had 263 vacant housing stock with about half being seasonal.  Ben Tettlebaum, committee member, asked about short-term rentals and Airbnb.  There are no official records on Airbnb activity in town.  Members want to include some data and projections in the Plan. 

Hastings mentioned that state guidelines for Comprehensive Plans require the inclusion of affordable housing needs.  The Committee discussed how to maintain the town’s rural character while including areas for affordable housing and increased density.

Tettlebaum and Julie Fralich, committee member, both want to include sustainable energy and building solutions in the Plan.  Larger housing stock conversion to multiple-family housing was brought up as a solution for more housing and a means to repurpose large dwellings in light of smaller family sizes.  Fire/Rescue Chief Toby Martin cautioned about converting large, older type dwellings which will  need sprinkler systems and possibly other safety considerations.

Once again the conversation turned to senior housing.  What level of housing is needed?  Do we need assisted living facilities?  How many services will be needed by seniors?  All these questions will need to be discussed at a future meeting.

Hastings will now take the Committee’s comments and suggestions, revise the chapter and resend it to the Committee for further review.  The next meeting is scheduled for August  8 at the New Gloucester Meeting House when the Committee will review another draft chapter, possibly on transportation or agriculture.  For more information and to sign up for ongoing email updates on the comprehensive plan work contact the Town Planner, Scott Hastings at shastings@newgloucester.com or (207)926-4126 ext 4.

Video of full July 11 meeting is available here. Materials and videos for this and other meetings can be found on the NG website: newgloucester.com.

Norumbega Cidery Open House

Norumbega Cidery is open on Saturday, August 3 from 1 pm to 6 pm. Music provided by Ronda Dale, food provided by Nom Bai, and fresh cut flowers available for making your own bouquets. And of course, refreshing Norumbega cider with some new onsite blends available including New North Woods Spruce Tip and a fresh batch of Cyser and Berry Medley.

The Norumbega Chapel Trail is right behind the Cider House and links to the Big Falls Preserve Trail is you are looking for some outdoor activity as well. Stop on by at 380 Woodman Road.

PHOTO: Dragonflies dance in New Gloucester

— By Russ Dillingham — Sun Journal

“A pair of dragonflies dance around the pond at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester on Monday afternoon.” Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

PHOTO: Frolicking at New Gloucester beach: Children and adults cool off at Outlet Beach on Monday

— By Russ Dillingham — Sun Journal

“Young and old cool off and play in at Outlet Beach on Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester on Monday afternoon. The beach has been a privately owned traditional swimming hole since the 1920s. The snack shack is the oldest standing structure on the lake. For more information about hours at the beach and the snack shack, visit brescaandthehoneybee.com”
Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Improved Access to Chandler Mill Pond Draws Anglers and Paddlers

Mark and Cooper Power of New Gloucester paddle out

Joanne Cole — Chandler Mill Pond, formerly known as Lily Pond, is seeing increased use this summer, thanks to improved parking and public access, a project Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife completed late last fall.  With a new paved path to the water, the project is one of the first “designed from the ground up” specifically for ADA accessibility, according to Diano Circo, chief planner and director of water access at IF&W.  Circo explained, “We get lots of calls asking, ‘Where can I go to get to the water to fish or kayak’” with mobility challenges.  “This is one of the few places in southern Maine for access to an undeveloped pond.“   

A recent weekend afternoon revealed a full parking lot and a mix of enthusiasts enjoying the pond, located between Snow Hill Road and Chandler Mill Road and bounded by the turnpike.  A family of four with inflatable and sit-top kayaks paddled in leisurely circles by the far shore.  Meanwhile, a solo fisherman from the lakes region pulled his Jon boat ashore, explaining that he was fleeing the crowds at Sebago.  He’d heard good things about the fishing here, he said, but had seen only “the world’s smallest bass.”  A New Gloucester duo emerged with keeper largemouth bass but no trout.  Two more anglers were out on the water trying their luck. 

According to IF&W regional biologist Jim Pellerin, rainbow trout are in there for someone to catch.  Pellerin said the pond is stocked annually in spring with 300 or so 11-12” rainbow trout from the Casco hatchery.  IF&W does periodic sampling to monitor stocks in the lakes and ponds it oversees, although Chandler Mill Pond hasn’t been checked recently, he said.

The elusive trout also turn out to be key players in the funding of the Chandler Mill Pond improvements.  According to IF&W planner Circo, 75 percent of the $100,000 project cost came from the feds, specifically a U.S. Fish and Wildlife sport fish restoration project that uses revenue from a federal tax on angler sporting gear.  The remaining 25 percent came from dedicated Maine sources, such as fees for the Maine sportsman license plate and the fraction of the gas tax attributable to watercraft. 

The new access path as seen from the shore

Besides the goal of making the pond a more pleasant, accessible place, Circo said the project aimed to reduce environmental impacts by moving parking away from the water and closer to the road.  Boat access is now hand-carry only, and a beefy bollard reinforces the message by blocking vehicles from the paved path.  Walking trails crisscross the surrounding woods.       

The Chandler Mill Pond project had its genesis in preservation work with the Royal River Conservation Trust and culminated in Chandler Brothers’ transfer of the 117-acre parcel to IF&W in 2016.  With the support of the New Gloucester Select Board, RRCT sought to rename the pond to recognize the Chandler family’s extraordinary stewardship.  In May 2019, the U.S. Geological Survey changed the official designation from Lily Pond to Chandler Mill Pond.  For maps, the history of Chandler Mill pond and this project, and more, visit the Royal River Conservation Trust website

Kaitlyn and Alex Considine of New Gloucester head back to the car
— photos: Joanne Cole

New Gloucester deputy fire chief to be named in August — Sun Journal

By Ellie Fellers – Special to the Sun Journal June 25

Public Safety Department Chief Toby Martin said Tuesday that applications from within the department for the deputy chief’s position will be accepted until July 12 and a finalist named Aug. 8.

About five members are qualified to serve, he said.

Voters at the annual town meeting May 7 approved funding the department, formerly the New Gloucester Fire and Rescue Department, and combining the departments’ budgets.

However, the New Gloucester Public Safety Department Ordinance that outlined the governance of the reorganized department failed to pass June 19 on a 17-17 vote. Keep reading Ellie Fellers’s article in the Sun Journal.

New Gloucester mobile home destroyed by fire — Press Herald

By Gillian Graham – Staff Writer, Press Herald

A mobile home on Quarry Road in New Gloucester was destroyed in an early morning fire.

A passerby spotted the blaze at 342 Quarry Road and reported it to authorities at 2:13 a.m. Thursday. When firefighters arrived on scene minutes later, the home was engulfed in flames, said New Gloucester Fire Chief Toby Martin.

“It seems it had been burning quite a bit before it was reported,” he said. “It was 100 percent involved and collapsed as the first person arrived on scene.”

The mobile home is believed to be abandoned, though power was still on in the home. Martin said firefighters had to wait for Central Maine Power to cut electricity to the building because power lines were on the ground. Read the full article in the Press Herald.

Sen. Ned Claxton – Letter to Bangor Daily News

In a recent letter to the editor published in the Bangor Daily News, Sen. Ned Claxton cites recently passed laws aimed at lowering costs and increasing access to medication. Read Sen. Claxton’s letter to the editor here.

New Gloucester voters reject tax-relief, public safety ordinances — Sun Journal

By Ellie Fellers — Sun Journal – June 19, 2019

The Property Tax Assistance Ordinance would have helped residents at least 70 years old who have household incomes of no more than $40,000 and have lived in town for at least 10 years.

It failed by a vote of 25-21.

“I want to support someone poor, but the ordinance doesn’t impact one’s net worth,” resident Carleton Wilcox said. “If you can’t afford to live in your home, then live in a smaller place.”

Laura Jane Sturgis, 79, said she lies awake at night wondering how she will pay her taxes.

“I feel like I’m giving to my town and I just don’t have a lot of money,” she said. “I will be 80 in July and can’t get another job.” Keep reading Ellie Fellers’s article in the Sun Journal.