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NG Rx – PRN

NG Rx – PRN
An Occasional Column About New Gloucester Governance
By Penny Hilton
September 20, 2018

They Didn’t Say Yes, They Didn’t Say No…

…The New Gloucester Select Boards’ latest action on the citizen request to begin a Town Charter process brings to mind the lyrics of that old (old!) Mills Brothers song: they didn’t say yes, and they didn’t say no. Instead they asked Town Manager Carrie Castonguay to contact the MMA (Maine Municipal Association) for clarification and advice regarding the process, and put discussion off till – possibly – their October 1 meeting.

Previously, On “NG- BOS”
The Town Charter idea was first brought up at the August 20 BOS meeting by New Gloucester resident John Salisbury, speaking, he said, on behalf of a group of citizens. About 70 towns and cities in Maine have created and adopted Charters, which spell out in greater detail, and to that community’s agreed preferences, the form, structure, and policies of a town’s government. The process, which takes about two years in total, must begin with a vote by the community on whether or not the voters want the town to establish a citizen Charter Commission to develop a draft Charter. Such a Commission, which would comprise both members appointed by the Board of Selectmen, and members elected by town-wide vote, would work, with public input, for the better part of a year to create the Charter that the voters would then vote to put in place or not. The easy way to get things going, he explained then, was to have the BOS put that initial question on a ballot. The harder way, should the BOS nix the idea, would be for the citizen group to gather signatures numbering 20% of the last gubernatorial vote, which would trigger a referendum vote.
At the August meeting, the BOS pushed the matter to the September 17 BOS meeting, in order (depending on who you asked) to allow Castonguay to further research the state statute that covers creation and change to Town Charters; or to give the BOS more time in a less crowded agenda to discuss it.

Timing Is Everything!
But on the 17th, the discussion didn’t get past the first question to Castonguay, having to do with timing. In her interpretation of the statute, in order for the question to be included in the ballot questions this November 6th, the BOS should have made their decision to do so sometime in June.

The text of Maine Statute on Home Rule, Title 30-A, Part 2, Chapter 111 §2102 that appears to cover this issue reads:
5. Election procedure. Within 30 days after the adoption of an order under subsection 1 or the receipt of a certificate or final determination of sufficiency under subsection 4, the municipal officers shall by order submit the question for the establishment of a charter commission to the voters at the next regular or special municipal election held at least 90 days after this order.

By The Book – If Someone Can Explain It
At this point, BOS Chair Steve Libby, noting that the BOS would likely be criticized about how they handle the matter in any case, opined that they should have more clarity about the timing issue before discussion. BOS Joe Davis, who had unsuccessfully tried to bring the matter up as a discussion item in August, made the required motion, but emphasized several times that the BOS should get to the actual discussion, with an up or down vote, in October.
“We need to put it on the next agenda for discussion, “he said, “and not drag this out…We should [be able to tell the citizens] ‘we agree to it so you don’t have to do the next step’, or ‘we don’t agree to it, so you better start collecting your signatures. ‘ ”

The final motion included that the matter will be on the next agenda in October if Castonguay has received answers from the MMA in time.
As the song says, “(they) didn’t say ‘stop’ and (they) didn’t say go…”
Maybe in October.

Notes (by the author)
on the Charter Process as Prescribed in State Law

• The initial question of whether or not to establish a Charter Commission can come before the voters in either of two ways: the Selectmen can choose to put the question to town vote, or a committee of townspeople can gather sufficient signatures to have it put out as a referendum vote.

• There are specific stipulations about time intervals, between signature gathering and a vote, between a vote and election of Commission members, and between the onset of the Commissions work and its final vote by the town. In all, it is a process of one to two years.

• There are stipulations as to how the Commission is to be formed. Only one member may be a municipal/town office holder. The governing board of the town (BOS) may appoint three members to the commission. The voters then elect six additional at-large members.

• The issues that can be covered in a Charter range from the four options for type of town government, which includes versions with and without a town meeting; and then everything from the rules governing the Board of Selectmen, to committees, to handling of finances, protocols and processes for hiring and removal of town managers, and more.

See:
http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/30-A/title30-Asec2103.html

Patti’s Aug. 31 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Cyclists start off on the Farm to Fork Fondo Aug.25 at Pineland’s Valley Farm in New Gloucester. In the event, riders stop for chef-prepared cuisine at farms along the course, choosing which distances they want to complete.

Buy an apple pie

The annual New Gloucester Historical Society apple pie sale will be held on Friday, Sept. 21. Local Thompson’s apples will be transformed into culinary classics created by local bakers.

Pre-orders are required, so call Avis Ford at 926-4561 to reserve your pie(s). Pick-up is between 2-6 p.m. at the NG Congregational Church vestry, 19 Gloucester Hill Road. This fundraiser is a fall tradition.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-150/

 

Patti’s Aug. 3 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Joanne Mason, of Hanover, who is a Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation multi-season volunteer, practices backhand drills last week during wheelchair tennis lessons at Pineland Farms’ courts.

Wheelchair tennis at Pineland

Maine Adaptive provides year-round programs promoting adaptive sports and recreation for those with disabilities ages 4 and up who live in or visit Maine. All of the lessons and programs are free of charge for participants.

Staff members and volunteers offer wheelchair and stand-up tennis drills and match play at Pineland Farms and Gould Academy as one of their summer programs. Competitors don’t need to have their own equipment. Maine Adaptive has equipment to fit many shapes and sizes.

One of the wheelchair tennis programs occurred at the courts at Pineland Farms on July 27. John Pelletier, of Westport, Massachusetts, who owns a camp in the town of Denmark, said that he has been playing and teaching wheelchair tennis for several years. He instructs participants by starting with forehand and backhand drills, then progressing into service practice. After these disciplines are performed, the players break into groups to compete in match play.

Brandon Merry, Maine Adaptive program manager, said wheelchair tennis takes place in collaboration with the Veterans Adaptive Sports & Training program at Pineland Farms since some of the Maine Adaptive participants are veterans. The upcoming schedule for wheelchair tennis at Pineland Farms is Monday, Aug. 6; Friday, Aug. 24; and Friday, Sept. 14.”

Those interested in competing or volunteering can check Guidelines for Participation at maineadaptive.org. The necessary forms are posted there as well. For more information, call Maine Adaptive’s office at (800) 639-7770.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-148/

 

Patti’s June 22 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Elisabeth Seliga of New Gloucester, delivers a commencement address June 7 at the Augusta Civic Center for graduates of Maine Connections Academy, a statewide online tuition-free high school. She achieved the double distinction of being class salutatorian and a 2018 recipient of the Mitchell Scholarship.

Class of 2018 standout

Elisabeth Seliga is no ordinary student. And Maine Connections Academy is no ordinary school. For the past three years, the New Gloucester student has been enrolled at this online, tuition-free high school that allows her to take classes from anywhere there is an internet connection.

MCA held its fourth commencement at the Augusta Civic Center on June 7. Seliga was among the 51 graduates from all across Maine, many of whom had never met each other before. She was celebrated not only as a graduating senior but also as the class salutatorian and a 2018 recipient of the Mitchell Scholarship.

As a recipient of the Mitchell Scholarship, Elisabeth joins a select company of students. The Mitchell Institute awards scholarships each year to graduating students from Maine’s public high schools. The 2018 recipients of the Mitchell Scholarship, representing more than 130 high schools from every community in Maine, each will receive an award of $9,500.

Seliga joined MCA in 2015 and has enjoyed the innovative online curriculum. Through ninth grade, she was a student in the Gray-New Gloucester school system. Looking for a new experience, she enrolled at MCA, and has thrived there ever since. Seliga has continued her cheerleading at G-NG High School, whose team this year took second place at the regionals and fifth in the Maine State Cheerleading Championships.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-145/

 

Patti’s Feb. 16 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Marc Richardson, of Freeport, gets ready to enjoy the perfect snow conditions blanketing the Pineland Farms’ cross country ski trails on Feb. 9. As a season’s pass holder, he said that he ventures out on the trails approximately three times per week. Photo by Patti Mikkelsen

Benefit ice fishing derby

The New Gloucester Eagles FOE #4131 will host a benefit ice fishing derby at Sabbathday Lake from 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday, March 4. There will be a 50/50 raffle, as well as hotdogs and burgers sold on the ice.

Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for ages 15 and under. The price includes a buffet dinner and banquet following the event. A maximum of 200 tickets will be sold, and all proceeds will benefit the family of Rodney Theriault who died of renal cancer on Feb. 1.

For tickets, go to Mooney’s Bait Shop, 1235 Lewiston Road, New Gloucester; Dags Bait Shop, 4 Towle St., Auburn; or Jeff’s Bait and Tackle Shop, 136 Fore St., Oxford. For more information, call New Gloucester Eagles member Lloyd Tripp at 272-9535.

Within a telephone interview, Tripp provided a concise update on the beneficiary of the 2017 derby’s proceeds, Shayla McGraw who had received a kidney transplant last June. “She’s doing amazingly well,” he said.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-136/

Patti’s “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Sparks’ Ark

Meet Josh Sparks of Sparks’ Ark and the array of wild animals he rehabilitates. His talk is open to ages 3 and up in the Mount Washington Room of The Commons at Pineland Farms from 1-2 p.m., Monday, Jan. 15.

Buy tickets at The Market and Welcome Center, 15 Farm View Drive, New Gloucester, for $5 per person. For more information, call 650-3031 or email education@pinelandfarms.org.

History Barn closed Jan. 6

Due to the predicted extreme cold temperatures, the New Gloucester History Barn Open House scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 6 has been canceled

Help wanted

Check the town website for employment opportunities at http://www.newgloucester.com.

Winter sand

Winter sand is available at no charge to residents of New Gloucester. The sand pile is located beside the Sand and Salt Shed at the Public Works Garage, 1036 Lewiston Road, Route 100. Residents are limited to two five-gallon pails of sand. Bring your own shovel and containers. No commercial vehicles are allowed. Call Public Works Director Ted Shane at 926-4574 for more information.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-134/

 

Patti’s Sept. 1 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

making a card

Kaidan Marchand, 5, of Gorham, makes a get well card for Ava Winslow, who is battling osteosarcoma, during the Gray-New Gloucester Rallies for Ava fundraiser on Aug. 26. He became acquainted with Ava when they both attended Rise and Shine Childcare and said that she is his best friend.

Digital photo workshop

Sabbathday Lake’s Brother Delmer Wilson (1873-1961) launched his photography hobby in 1898 with glass plate negatives and using all types of film through his life, including color Polaroid.

At a workshop at Shaker Village on Saturday, Sept. 16, New Gloucester photographer Vicki Lund will show participants how to create a great shot using the features of their digital cameras. She will teach camera operation/functions, use of natural light, composition, raw versus jpeg file formats, and white balance. After a brief class, you will explore the grounds of Shaker Village, photographing along the way, then returning to the class for critique.

The workshop will be held from 1-4 p.m. Please bring your camera manual, SD card, fresh batteries and, if you have one, a tripod. Pre-registration is required, and the fee is $50. Class size is limited to 12. Register online at www.maineshakers.com/workshops or call 926-4597 to reserve a spot.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-120/

Patti’s Aug. 4 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Inside New Gloucester – Keep Me Current

4-H’ers to help pantries

Cumberland County 4-H members Caleb and Katie McGrath-Holmquist and Amber, Amanda and Austin Holmes are raising money to buy three market hogs and three market lambs from the Cumberland Fair 4-H Livestock Auction on Wednesday Sept. 27, at the Cumberland Fairgrounds. The livestock will be donated to the Gray and New Gloucester Food Pantries.

The two families are longtime members of the Cumberland County 4-H Sheep Club and the 4-H Swiners Club who raise market lambs and hogs to be sold annually at the fair’s 4-H auction. This year, in addition to raising and auctioning their own animals, they are participating in a self-designed community service project to benefit both 4-H’ers and their local food pantries.

They hope to raise $3,600 to buy the animals. They will be selling donated water, soda and lemonade at the Gray Blueberry Festival on Saturday Aug. 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Pennell Municipal Complex, 24 Main St., Gray.

Donations of any amount can be sent to GNG 4-H Food Pantry Project, P.O. Box 1012, Gray, Maine 04039. Checks can be made payable to: GNG 4-H Food Pantry Project.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-118/

Patti’s June 23 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Summer Reading Program

Come to the New Gloucester Public Library, 389 Intervale Road, and enroll in the  Summer Reading Program. The program’s goal is to read (or, for little ones, to listen to) a total of 3,960 books. Sign up during library hours now through Saturday, July 8. All ages are welcome to participate from babes in arms to Great Aunt Gertie. The program wraps up on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-112/

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/