Tag Archives: local government

Patti’s Dec. 8 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Wreath making for kids

Children ages 3 and up are invited to make a beautiful balsam wreath for the holiday season at the Pineland Farms Education Barn, 100B Valley Farm Road. Classes are held from 10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 9; Tuesday, Dec. 12; Thursday, Dec. 14; and Wednesday, Dec. 20.

Fifty tickets are available at $5 per person. Plan to arrive 15 minutes early to allow time to purchase tickets, which are sold at the Education Barn on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 650-3031 or email education@pinelandfarms.org.

Story time lunch with Santa

Join Santa for a fun gathering from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14. He will be reading “The Night before Christmas” and having lunch at the Dish Café, 59 Pineland Drive. Your child can interact and have their picture taken with Santa. Children 10 and under can have lunch, a holiday cookie, and a special craft for $5.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-132/

Patti’s Nov. 10 “Inside New Gloucester”

Get Out! Nature Walk

Get Out! Nature Walks are volunteer-led regular trips with trained master naturalists and other skilled volunteer leaders. Join them for a well-planned, no-cost, guided adventure occurring once-per-month on Wednesdays, rain, snow or shine. Their programs are jointly offered by the Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust, as well as the Royal River Conservation Trust.

Be mindful of the weather and dress accordingly. Bring appropriate gear, snacks and a thermos or water bottle. Check www.rrct.org for any updates or changes. Nature walks typically involve getting on your knees with a hand lens or standing still for 10 minutes craning up at a treetop. Trips are great for kids, but inappropriate for those under age 6. Their curriculum is targeted at adults and engaged youth. Because the purpose is nature observation, please don’t bring dogs.

The next Get Out! Nature Walk takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 707 Shaker Road. The curriculum is Winter Weeds, led by volunteer Karen Herold. She is a Natural Resources Council of Maine board member.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-130/

Petition to revisit funding for new public works building voted down

A citizen-initiated petition to reconsider a town vote last month to build and fund a new public works facility failed to get the 283 valid signatures needed, according to officials. A total of 279 was required.

At their Monday meeting, selectmen voted 3-2 against the petitioners’ request for another town meeting on the issue. Keep reading

Tensions flare at NG meeting

By Matt Junker

NEW GLOUCESTER — The New Gloucester public works garage saga took a turn for the vulgar at Monday night’s Selectboard meeting, when several audience members used colorful language not usually on display at public meetings.

One audience member told another to “shut your [expletive] mouth,” while a third resident said certain accusations amounted to “bull[expletive].”

Tensions escalated to the point that Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office was called. An official from the Sherriff’s Office said that someone at the meeting apparently texted their husband to say things had become heated, and the husband then called the sheriffs.

Though a deputy came and stood in the meeting for a few minutes, things had already calmed down and the deputy left.

Both of the residents who used the less-than-cordial language apologized.

Accusations of a possible conflict of interest and misuse of town resources relating to the “vote yes” signs purchased before last week’s special town meeting made for a tense Oct. 23 selectboard meeting – and those tensions bubbled over in the audience.

Pat O’Brien introduced a petition to reconsider the results of the special town meeting, where voters approved the public works garage proposal 168-138.  The push to reconsider stems in part from allegations that came up at the town meeting that Ganneston Construction, the company slated to build the new garage, paid for signs encouraging people to vote yes, and that town public works staff later put some of those sign up.

Later, while another resident was at the microphone asking about the sign issue, O’Brien made a comment from his seat.

Dennis McCann, who was sitting behind O’Brien, told him, “You had your time to speak, sir.”

O’Brien then told McCann to “shut your [expletive] mouth.”

O’Brien said Wednesday that he felt McCann was threatening in both his language and demeanor and that McCann had made a number of comments to him on Monday night.

“I will defend myself,” O’Brien said. “This man was threatening to me.”

His comment to McCann elicited an immediate and fiery reaction from others in attendance, including calls to have O’Brien kicked out of the meeting.

McCann stood up, and at least one other audience member moved closer to O’Brien after his remarks and stood behind him. O’Brien said that “it didn’t feel safe to me in there.”

“Get out of here! Get him out of here,” shouted Beverly Cadigan, who served on the garage design committee and was one of the leaders of the first petition effort.

“That language is not allowed in this room,” said a clearly upset Libby, who served as a Selectboard liaison on the design committee.

Cadigan continued to push for O’Brien’s removal.

Earlier, during O’Brien’s time at the microphone, he wondered whether there were “favors” or “kick-backs” such as concert tickets, vacation packages, golf outings, or meals from Ganneston as part of the garage process.

Libby strongly denied that any such things occurred, and later said that misinformation circulated on social media “seems to have spread inappropriately like wildfire.”

“There was no concert tickets or any of that jazz that was listed off,” he said.

In her brief back-and-forth with O’Brien, Cadigan seemed agitated by his questions and suggestions about the committee.

“Who are you to talk to me that way?” O’Brien asked Cadigan as she was yelling for him to get out.

“I’m a citizen in this town, too, and I’m a committee member, and you just accused me of taking money that I didn’t,” Cadigan said.

“Potentially, you have,” O’Brien told her.

“Bull[expletive],” Cadigan responded forcefully.

Chase said she did not want any more of that type of language, and both Cadigan and O’Brien apologized. No one was kicked out.

O’Brien said after leaving the meeting later in the night that his language was “inappropriate.”

“I apologize for that,” he said, also saying that Cadigan’s language was “equally inappropriate.”

“Emotions are running high,” continued O’Brien.

McCann said he thought that O’Brien’s language was “a little hostile” but didn’t seem particularly bothered by it after the meeting. McCann also stood up at one point during the special town meeting last week when another resident mentioned him by name.

Kathleen Potter, one of the self-described “old ladies” (including Cadigan) who led the initial citizen’s petition to hold the special town meeting, said McCann helped collect some of the signatures for that effort.

Potter also said that this issue has “frayed the nerves of the community” like she had never seen before in the 15 years she’s lived in town.

During Monday night’s discussion, Libby said he was “disgusted” by the level of “hate and discontent” surrounding the garage issue.

“We’ve had emotional issues in the past, but people haven’t reacted this way,” Libby said after Monday’s meeting.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Outbursts Erupt at the Oct. 23 Special Board of Selectmen’s Meeting

Controversy over the proposed new public works facility continued at the Oct. 23 Special Board of Selectmen’s meeting. You can watch it as video on demand at https://newgloucester.viebit.com/

Garage contract signed, petition filed to reconsider vote

Selectmen voted 3-2 Monday night to authorize Town Manager Carrie Castonguay to sign the contract to build a public works garage.Meanwhile, a petition signed by 290 residents was filed with town officials this week asking for reconsideration of last week’s vote approving the $4.6 million project. The vote was 169-139. Keep reading

“Vote Yes” signs stir ethics controversy

An Augusta construction company paid for 150 signs urging New Gloucester residents to vote yes on building a controversial public works garage — a $4.6 million building the company had a contract to build if the voters approved the project. Keep reading

Voters OK funds for new garage

Residents on Monday night narrowly voted to fund a new six-bay town garage and salt shed at 611 Lewiston Road. The secret ballot vote was 168-138.The thirty-vote margin came after voters argued about safety, site location choice and impact to taxes. Keep reading Ellie Fellers’ story in the Sun Journal.

Patti’s Oct. 13 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Callie Kimball

Callie Kimball, a longtime member of The Friends of the Shakers, volunteers at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village’s Harvest Festival by serving barbecue pulled pork sandwiches to the throngs of visitors in attendance on Oct. 7. Kimball is a resident of Cape Elizabeth.

Women’s suffrage talk

Family historian Anne Gass will speak on “Women’s Suffrage in Maine and the USA” at the Thursday, Oct. 19, meeting of the New Gloucester Historical Society, beginning at 7 p.m. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the New Gloucester Meetinghouse, 389 Intervale Road. Refreshments will be served.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-126/

Salt pile raises concerns

Resident Dennis McCann told selectmen at their meeting on October 2nd that he’s concerned that a salt pile and truck-washing outside the town garage is leaching salt into the ground. Keep reading in Sun Journal