Category Archives: Regulars

Why Did so Many Helicoptors Land in New Gloucester Recently?

Photo: Tom Driscoll

You may have noticed a superabundance of “helicopters” that landed around your house in the last week or so.  These are most likely winged seeds from red maple trees and they are all over your driveway, your lawn, and in your rain gutters.  Polynose is another slang name, and “samara” is the official term.

As a helicopter pilot, I have always been fascinated by the maple samaras.

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The Original “Ice Out” Before Sabbathday was the Lake

Ice!  Only 16,000 years ago, Maine and New England were covered by a huge glacier which extended all the way offshore to the coastal shelf! Cape Cod and Long Island are the furthest obvious extent in the northeast; think of how a plow pushes snow at the end of your driveway.

At that time the ice over “Sabbathday Lake” and all of Maine was about one mile thick (5000’ +/-). Glaciers grow, and then they retreat.  The climate warmed up and the glacier started melting (retreating).  About 12,500 years ago it had receded to the northwest and the area around Sabbathday Lake was free of ice.

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Portland Attorney Holds Information Session on Town Charters – Video Now Online

James Katsiaficas, a Portland attorney formerly with the Maine Municipal Association, provided an overview of town charters and the charter-proposal process at an informational meeting on June 5 at the Meetinghouse.  Katsiaficas also shared examples of what town charters can and cannot do, offered some pros and cons of charters, and fielded questions from the audience.

Katsiaficas was invited by Town Manager Carrie Castonguay and the Select Board ahead of New Gloucester’s June 11 referendum vote on whether to establish a town charter commission.  In his introductory remarks, Katsiaficas noted that while the charter process must follow certain required steps, the scope and terms of a charter depend on the town’s “needs and desires” and are “unique to each municipality.”

Audience members asked questions about what prompts communities to turn toward charters, how residents are elected to seats on a charter commission, when a commission disbands, and more. 

View the full charter information session here.

James Katsiaficas chats with audience members after his talk – photo: Joanne Cole

Hands-on History Field Trip for Memorial’s Second Graders

Memorial School’s second grade classes enjoyed up-close lessons in New Gloucester history at the Blockhouse as well as sites at the Town Hall complex on May 30.  Experts from the New Gloucester Historical Society hosted the station-to-station field trip, carrying on a decades-long tradition begun by Betty and Ed True and carried on through the years by Nancy Wilcox and others.

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New Gloucester residents oppose Sabbathday Lake dock plan – Sun Journal [re-posting for Facebook – eds.]

By Ellie Fellers – Special to the Sun Journal – June 4, 2019
New Gloucester — The Planning Board on Tuesday heard from a dozen residents opposed to a 70-foot, T-shaped dock proposed by Sabbathday Lake Shores developer Alan Hamilton of Gray.

To get a sense of what it would look like, a group of lakeside property owners recently delineated the area using styrofoam noodles and other items to create a mock 70-foot dock that stretched from the shore and attached to a 35-foot wide dock sitting perpendicular to it.

When the Planning Board arrived to inspect the site last week, Chairman Don Libby canceled the visit because he wanted “an unbiased” look at the site without the mock-up. Keep reading Ellie Fellers’ report in the Sun Journal.

New Gloucester Board Sets Votes on Ordinances, Moratorium [re-posting for Facebook – eds.]

Selectmen on Monday signed the warrant for a special town meeting June 19 to vote on three ordinances and a moratorium.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the AMVET Hall on Route 100, with voter registration at 6:30 p.m.

Voters will decide on a Property Tax Assistance Ordinance, which selectmen at the annual town meeting last month asked voters to reject because it was flawed. Keep reading Ellie Fellers’ report in the Sun Journal.

Comprehensive Plan Survey Still Open; Comp Plan Update Committee Cheers for Jean Libby, Discusses Town Infrastructure, Staffing

This is the last call to complete the survey for the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee.  At the committee’s May 23 meeting, Scott Hastings, Town Planner, told the committee that they had 160 responses so far.  Please take the time to fill out the survey here. Hastings has also had input from New Gloucester high school students from a listening event he led with 134 participants.  The committee also held an open house on May 9 at the Meetinghouse and gathered input from a few residents who dropped by.  Hastings will report the survey results to the committee at their June 13 meeting. 

At the May 23 meeting, Scott presented Jean Libby, committee member, with a plaque and certificate from the Maine Association of Planners.  Libby was selected as the “Citizen Planner of the Year for the State of Maine.”  Hastings proudly commented to Jean: “Several citizens submitted a very strong application for you, along with several support letters.”  Jean was visibly taken back by the award and was very humble in saying, “I’m just a cog in the wheel.”  Her fellow committee members celebrated her recognition and heartily congratulated her. 

The meeting got underway with a review discussion of the town’s utility infrastructure since several committee members were away when the topic was addressed at a previous meeting.  Discussion centered on broadband availability.  Committee member Terry DeWan asked, “How does internet and broadband fit into the Comprehensive Plan?”  Hastings explained that it helps with planning business zones and supports business growth with in-home businesses.

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Rep. Amy Arata’s Newsletter

Rep. Arata’s May 23 newsletter includes information about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, DHHS Aging and Long Term Care Initiative, fish stocking, and 15 bills recently signed into law.

A Window on 18th-Century New Gloucester: Theriault Discusses Rare 1798 “Glass Tax” Find

Megan Theriault displays rare 18th century New Gloucester “Glass Tax” records – Photo courtesy of Tom Blake, NG Historical Society

In New Gloucester’s documents vault, Megan Theriault, an archeologist-historian with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, discovered rare tax records that offer a picture of life—and wealth and privation—in New Gloucester at the end of the 18th century.  Calling them “Google Maps for our town in 1798,” Theriault shared the documents and their significance in a May 16 talk sponsored by the New Gloucester Historical Society at the meetinghouse.  

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A Selectman is More than a Policymaker

Peter Bragdon – Candidate for Selectman

In my opinion, town selectmen are more than just policymakers. They set the tone in town. As selectman, I feel I could offer a positive vibe for our community.

I also feel that selectmen visibility and casual accessibility should be increased, and I promise to show up around town! I understand that everyone is very busy. I also understand that it is not a requirement as a selectman to do any more than the administration stuff.  But with that said, among the five elected officials there could be more presence at community events.

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