Tag Archives: local government

Candidates set for Lakes Region local races

(Note: This is the section of Matt Junker’s story that pertains to New Gloucester.)

By Matt Junker

In New Gloucester, there are three candidates on the ballot for two Selectboard seats: Council Chairwoman Linda Chase, board member Stephen Hathorne and Budget Committee member Karen Gilles.

Chase was initially set to be termed out under an ordinance passed at last year’s town meeting, but the Selectboard recently voted 3-2 to find the ordinance is legally invalid. Chase voted to overturn the term limits ordinance and Hathorne voted against the measure.

Town Manager Carrie Castonguay said Gilles is the daughter of Selectboard member Lenora Conger, but there is no prohibition on a mother and daughter serving together on the board.

New Gloucester also has two available SAD 15 school board seats. Jason Hart is the only candidate on the ballot for a full three-year term, and Laura Sturgis is the only candidate for a partial term. Water District Chairman Dan Bannon is the only candidate for the water district’s one available seat.

Patti’s April 13 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Ice out in the Pineland Pond can’t come quickly enough for these mallards enjoying a brisk swim alongside a frozen slab on April 5. Photo by Patti Mikkelsen

“Fueling Our Schools”

Customers of the Circle K convenience store at 255 Shaker Road in Gray are invited to a special Fuel Up Night to kick off Circle K’s annual “Fueling Our Schools” fundraising campaign. The ongoing campaign invites customers to purchase fuel at specially marked pumps, with Circle K donating one cent of every gallon of fuel purchased to Gray-New Gloucester High School, up to $2,000. The school will use its donation to address different areas of need, such as technology, resources, teacher incentives and more.

On Thursday, April 19, a special Fuel Up Night, customers will have an opportunity to make an even greater impact. From 3-8 p.m., 10 cents of each gallon of fuel sold at pumps seven and eight will be donated to Gray-New Gloucester High School.

“Circle K is passionate about giving back to the neighborhoods where we work and live,” said Jeff Burrell, vice president of Global Fuels. “Through this unique fundraising program, we are helping to address critical needs and enabling educators to make a difference in the classroom and beyond.”

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-140/

No verdict yet from appeals board on Day One

A near-capacity crowd filled the New Gloucester Meetinghouse Wednesday night for a more than two-hour meeting that yielded plenty of public comment, but no definitive answer from the Board of Appeals on a proposed youth substance abuse treatment facility.

Non-profit organization Day One has proposed a 12-bed residential treatment facility for young men ages 14-20 at 934 Intervale Road, and several residents have appealed a determination from town Code Enforcement Officer Debra Parks Larrivee that the proposal is an approved use subject to site review by the Planning Board.Keep reading

NG Board strikes term limit ordinance

By Matt Junker

NEW GLOUCESTER — The term limit ordinance passed by voters at last May’s town meeting didn’t survive a full year, with the Selectboard voting 3-2 Monday night to find it legally invalid.

For the complete story in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to http://news.keepmecurrent.com/new-gloucester-board-strikes-term-limit-ordinance/




BOS votes 3-2 to overturn term limits for themselves

At their meeting Monday night, the Board of Selectmen voted 3 to 2 to overturn term limits for themselves. The item, which had not been on the public agenda, was introduced by Carrie Castonguay, town manager, after the meeting was underway. Head Selectwoman Linda Chase had contacted her Monday morning and asked her to consult with the Maine Municipal Association for a legal opinion on term limits, and the MMA attorney said she believed that a town charter was required for this to take effect. Vice-chair Steve Libby moved to uphold the MMA legal opinion  and invalidate term limits, and directed the town manager to consult with the town’s attorney and report back to the board.

Action to establish term limits was introduced by citizen petition last year, and the town’s attorney reviewed and approved the language for the ordinance that was approved by voters 60 to 40-% at the 2017 town meeting. Linda Chase, who took out nomination papers despite being termed out of office this spring, voted along with Steve Libby and Lenora Conger to invalidate the ordinance. Libby and Conger’s terms would have been limited in 2019. Steve Hawthorne and Joe Davis were opposed. Watch the video of the meeting from about 58:00-1:14. (If you have trouble viewing the video from the link, go directly to the town website at www.newglocuester.com, scroll town on the left side to Public Cable video to find the April 2 Selectmen’s meeting.)

Comprehensive Plan Update Committee

 The Comprehensive Plan Update Committee is working on updating the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.   
If you want to receive regular email updates on the progress of the update committee’s work email Scott Hastings, the town planner, at shastings@newgloucester.com

Why have and update a Comprehensive Plan?
A town’s comprehensive plan takes stock of where the town is and then sets goals for where the town’s residents want it to be.  New Gloucester last updated our comprehensive plan in 1990.   A lot has changed since then.  An update lets us find out exactly what has happened in town and see how we are doing on the goals that were in that plan.
The comprehensive plan process is also a chance for all of us to get together and really talk about our town.   What do we like about New Gloucester? What might we like to change? Where do we want to be in the future?  We will talk about all of these things and create new goals as part of the updated plan.
A current comprehensive plan also has certain legal and regulatory benefits.  The state requires plans to be updated every 10 years and meet certain standards.  Plans that meet these requirements are the legal basis for enforceable municipal zoning rules.  They also qualify towns for preferred status when commenting for state grants and working with state departments.
For more information on comprehensive plans, the rules and laws governing them here in Maine, and approved plans from other municipalities go to Maine’s page on comprehensive plans.
Please contact Scott Hastings, Town Planner, with any comments or questions:
Email: shastings@newgloucester.com
Phone: (207)926-4126

Patti’s March 16 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Shaker Village workshops

The Shakers are among the best-known craftspeople in American history; their legacy includes fine examples of woodworking, textile arts, basket making, metalwork, music, gardening, cooking, and more. Learn age-old crafts and modern spins on their tradition from local artisans and makers. All workshops take place at Shaker Village, working in historic buildings with serene views all around; learning about and carrying on the traditional crafts of the Shakers and our region.

The list of workshops and events to be held at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village during their 2018 season, starting Memorial Day weekend, can be found at www.maineshakers.com. Pre-registration is required for all workshop classes. Register online, by phone 926-4597, or by mail addressed to United Society of Shakers, 707 Shaker Road, New Gloucester, ME 04260.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-138/


Fire Department pay heats up in recent budget discussions

Debate over compensation for the town’s mostly volunteer fire department, especially in regards to several thousand dollars in officer stipends, has included some simmering discussion at recent meetings.

The New Gloucester Selectboard initially voted on March 5 to reduce funding in the proposed budget for volunteer officer stipends by $3,500 – a move that didn’t sit well with members of the NG Fire & Rescue Department.Keep reading

New Gloucester Town Newsletter, Winter 2018

The town newsletter includes information from town departments, View online, or email Sharlene Myers to subscribe via email (smyers@newgloucester.com)


Charter/Spectrum wants to make public cable TV less accessible

“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939) and “Born Yesterday” (1950) both portray the deleterious effect of corporate lobbying in the halls of Congress and should always be “required viewing” for those in power. Charter Communications, new to Maine in 2016, has been the subject of complaints received by the Attorney General’s office for non-compliance with State cable franchising laws and would benefit from the lessons learned in those two films.  Better known by their product line “Spectrum” and newly energized by a reported $9.9 billion dollar profit in 2017 thanks partially to the new federal tax bill, Charter/Spectrum flexed their corporate muscles in February and joined with Comcast lobbyists to squash (along strict party lines) a small piece of proposed emergency legislation that would have benefited 300,000 cable viewers in Maine. The one page bill, created with the help of a loosely organized group of Town Managers, Select Boards and Community Television volunteers with legal counsel, was sponsored by Senator David Miramant (D-Camden). If passed by the legislature, it would have prevented cable operators in Maine from moving the local Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) channels from the easy to find single digit locations on cable TV systems where they have been for 30 years, up into a digital limbo in the 1301, 1302 etc. channel locations. Charter maintains that this is a necessary part of their “digital encryption” project but fails to mention why the local commercial broadcast channels are not being moved as well. Ironically, it is because of the prime location on the dial that Charter has taken this step as those lucrative channel locations can be leased to shopping networks, generating significant new revenue for the cable operator. By making the PEG channels less conspicuous and less viewed, Towns will be less likely to require increased franchise fees and capital grants from cable operators at franchise renewal times, a double win for the cable industry. In addition, Charter refuses to carry local PEG channels in high definition and will down convert the HD signals to near VHS quality even if HD signals are provided to them by the PEG originator. Both issues and other enhanced consumer protections will be addressed in a new version of the bill which will be re-introduced in the next session of the legislature. Until then, our group stands ready to debate these issues with cable industry representatives in a televised open forum as opposed to behind closed doors at the State House. Stay tuned.

Tony Vigue