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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. 17 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Jenny Smick and Kyle Hardy with 2-year-old son Augustus take a rest break in the History Barn near the portion of the current exhibit featuring properties in the Webber District of New Gloucester. They moved into town about a year ago and reside on the Morse Road about halfway between the Webber District and White’s Corner.

Maine Native American Market

The 10th annual festival of Maine’s finest, award-winning Native American artists will be held from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 707 Shaker Road. The Maine Native American Summer Market provides a rare opportunity to purchase museum-quality crafts directly from Maine’s finest Wabanaki artists. A wide selection of crafts is offered for a range of prices from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. Cash or personal checks are accepted by all of the artists.

More than 40 members of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac and Maliseet tribes will demonstrate traditional Wabanaki art forms including basket making, stone carving, bark etching, beadwork and jewelry, in addition to featured performances of drumming, singing, dancing and storytelling by the Burnurwurbskek Singers and Dancers from the Penobscot Nation. This is the southernmost gathering of Wabanaki artists in the state of Maine. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn about and experience first-hand Maine’s Native American culture.

Barbecue dinner plates will be for sale to the public, while supplies last. Admission is free, and the event will occur rain or shine.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-149/

 

Patti’s July 20 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy Al Winslow talks about his experiences with his K-9 partner Ruk at the New Gloucester Public Library’s Pet Show on July 10. They graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in June 2013 having been trained in tracking, building sweeps, evidence and article searches, officer protection and suspect apprehension.

Library Players casting call

Calling all thespians! The New Gloucester Public Library, 379 Intervale Road, will be conducting a casting call at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 24, for this year’s play. Every child who wants a part is guaranteed one, and there will be speaking and non-speaking roles available.

The Library Players will present their performance on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 6:30 p.m. If acting isn’t your thing, come support the young actors as an audience member. Call Suzan or Carla at 926-4840 for more details.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-147/

 

Patti’s April 27 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

These volunteers are getting ready for a day of sprucing up the grounds at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village during an annual Spring Work Day hosted by the Friends of the Shakers. This year’s work day is scheduled for Saturday, May 12.

Shaker’s spring work day

Brother Arnold and Sister June invite you to put your hands to work and give your hearts to God because Spring Work Day is just around the corner. Join the Friends of the Shakers on Saturday, May 12 at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, 707 Shaker Road.

Lend a hand working at various tasks suitable for all ages and abilities, including sweeping away the winter sand, cleaning out the hay barn, helping in the herb department, prepping the Shakers’ gardens, clearing brush, and so much more. Work days bring lots of hard work as well as much fellowship, too. Everyone shares the noon meal, conversation and laughter.

Participants are asked to bring a potluck dish or dessert and drop it off at the registration check-in table located on the lawn at the back of the Brick Dwelling House. Chores start at 9 a.m. and last until 3 p.m. All necessary tools and supplies will be furnished but if you have a favorite pair of work gloves, feel free to wear them. Pre-register at www.friendsoftheshakers.org or by calling 926-4597.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-141/

 

 

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/

 

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/

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/

Patti’s Sept. 29 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

Indie Author Day

New Gloucester Public Library is proud to announce it will participate in the second annual Indie Author Day celebration with a free event Saturday, Oct. 14. Three local authors will conduct a panel discussion, which includes reading excerpts from their books, starting at 1 p.m.

This event provides an opportunity to help local self-published and independent authors get discovered and for readers to find new books written by fellow community members. Joan Dempsey, Dave Jefferson (Dr. J) and Steve Rogers will share their experiences with various types of writing, fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

The library is located at 379 Intervale Road, Route 231. For more information, contact Suzan Hawkins, library director, at srhawkins@newgloucesterlibrary.org or 926-4840. To learn more about Indie Author Day, visit www.indieauthorday.com.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-123/

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. 18 “Inside New Gloucester” Column

kids at playground

Ellie Jean Cosgrove, 5, of Freeport, left, Nicholas Pinette, 6, of Westbrook, and Reilly Lund, 4, of New Gloucester, try out the new playground at the New Gloucester Fairgrounds, 106 Bald Hill Road.

New playground open

Children in the area now have another recreational option – a playground located at the New Gloucester Fairgrounds, 106 Bald Hill Road. The facility is open during daylight hours and closes at dusk.

The town’s Parks and Recreation Committee, headed up by Director Harvey Price Jr., devoted many years to the planning process, from the financing, including a federal grant, to erecting the equipment. The playground project finished up on Aug. 10.

“We had a great group of volunteers who put in significant hours. Some are on the Parks and Recreation Committee, some aren’t. A few don’t even have kids or grandkids. They were there because it’s a community project,” Price said.

Another undertaking at the fairgrounds is building a pavilion. Price estimated that the framework should be in place by the end of August, and volunteers will be sought for a community build of the roof afterward. Once the pavilion, which is adjacent to the fairgrounds, is done, hopefully in mid-September, there will be a ribbon cutting/grand opening to showcase the two projects.

For Patti Mikkelsen’s complete column in the Lakes Region Weekly, go to: http://news.keepmecurrent.com/inside-new-gloucester-119/