Thursday, December 31, 2009

French Press Gets Good Press

Portland Phoenix:
A likely candidate is the French Press, out in
Westbrook. It was recently opened by the guys from Uffa and the Frog and Turtle,
and they seem likely to take making good sandwiches seriously. The French Press
should be a good breakfast spot too, since they serve a variety of fresh, warm
donuts. Even bad donuts are good when they are warm, and based on the Frog and
Turtle's donut, these are not going to be bad donuts.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: The Brothers (December 11, 2009)
Related: The Paper City Foodie's Guide to Westbrook (November 6, 2009)
Related: Frog and Turtle Owner to Open New Westbrook Eatery (November 5, 2009)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Will Westbrook Be the New Biddeford?

Tons of trash now headed for a controversial
incinerator in Biddeford may instead be trucked to Westbrook. Casella Waste
Systems, which operates Biddeford's Maine Energy Recovery Co., plans to build a
trash processing facility on County Road. But first, the company will have to
quell all fears that Westbrook could once again be a city that stinks. "We've
spent years trying to rid ourselves of being a smelly town," Mayor-elect Colleen
Hilton said Monday. "I'm not going back to being a smelly town.
- John C.L. Morgan

(Update: The AJ's Leslie Bridgers also appeared on WGAN's morning show today to talk about this issue.)

School Officials: We'll Move In When We Move In

After missing two deadlines for opening the city's
new $34 million middle school, officials have decided to get rid of deadlines
altogether. Instead, students will continue attending the 37-year-old Wescott
Junior High School until officials decide the new school is ready. "The focus
should be on doing it right rather than just getting it done," Superintendent
Reza Namin said Tuesday after meeting with the steering committee for the new
[Harriman Associates architect Dan] Cecil said
three remaining items must pass inspection. Two of those jobs are done, and the
third is expected to be finished early next week, he said.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: New Middle School Will Not Be Ready for Jan. 4 (December 29, 2009)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Westbrook Wrasslers Grapple with Cancer

WGME's Dave Eid focuses on the Westbrook High School wrestling team's "Takedown Cancer" fundraiser.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Wrasslers Today, Servicemen Tomorrow (December 8, 2009)

New Middle School Will Not Be Ready for Jan. 4

School officials say the city's new middle school
won't be ready for students when their vacation ends on Jan. 4. Work remains to
be finished before the city can issue a certificate of occupancy. That will
likely delay the start of classes or force school officials to move students
back into Wescott Junior High School until the work is finished.
"We need to figure out how to teach kids out of a
suitcase in a room with no furniture back at Wescott, or figure out a way how to
not hold school for more than a week," said Greg Smith, a member of the
[building steering] committee.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: New Middle School May Not Open on Time (December 18, 2009)

Video of 'Dancing with the Staff'

WCSH's Bill Green has a five-minute segment from his show devoted to the November fundraiser, and WMTW has an eleven-minute raw cut from the event.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Teachers Gettin' Jiggy Wit It (November 18, 2009)

Skybox: (Bar)cade and Grill

Golf and pinball don't share much in common, but at
the Skybox Bar & Grill in Westbrook the two have melded into a game at the
center of a weekly tournament.
The tournament works like this: Each machine is
equivalent to a hole on a golf course and is assigned a score. Players who reach
that score with three balls achieve par. If they do it with one ball it's a hole
in one, and if they use four balls it's a bogey.
The weekly tourneys take place on Tuesdays at 7p.

- John C.L. Morgan

Monday, December 28, 2009

WPD's Grant-Writing Extraordinaire

Westbrook police Capt. Tom Roth does grant-writing
as a sideline, and he's quite good at it. The city's police department pulled in
more than $500,000 in grants this year through his efforts, which tapped into
economic stimulus funds and other sources.
Westbrook Police Chief William Baker said
each grant application targets a specific need in the city. He attributed
Roth's success to his experience in the field. "It gives him an edge,"
Baker said. "I think that's part of the reason he is so successful and we
are benefiting from the numbers we are."
- John C.L. Morgan

School Superintendent Plans to Cut Spending, Salvage Teachers' Jobs

Westbrook Superintendent Reza Namin and school
administrators are preparing to cut another $1.4 million from the district's
$33.2 million budget. Namin will hold a workshop with top administrators in
January to develop a plan to address the estimated $2 million reduction in state
aid in 2010-2011.
Namin said he will continue to look at ways to
reduce the budget and consolidate services with other school districts. He also
said he can reduce spending without cutting teachers.
- John C.L. Morgan

Full disclosure: I am scheduled to begin an internship at Westbrook High School this semester.

Related: School Chief Eyes Outstanding Workers' Comp Cases (December 11, 2009)
Related: City, School Department Talk About Sharing Finance Director (November 30, 2009)

It Still Starts in Westbrook

Related: The Holidays Start in Westbrook (December 4, 2009)
Related: Promo (November 9, 2009)
Related: The Paper City Foodie's Guide to Westbrook (November 6, 2009)
Related: It Starts in Westbrook (February 7, 2009)

- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

We're stuffing the Hyundai for some criss-crossing drives around the southern half of the state, so until next Monday. In the meantime, Happy Christmas, Merry Hannukah, Feliz Festivus, and all that jazz.

Oh, and feel free to catch up on my half-finished review of 2009. I won't mind.

- John C.L. Morgan

Department of Self-Promotion

Down East blogger (and Westbrook resident) Mike Tipping has chronicled this habit and revealed my carefully crafted plans to organize a coup d'etat and install a military government a new face-to-face civic group in Westbrook next year. The Westbrook Historical Society has posted the latest edition of the Westbrook Historical Quarterly I've edited (check it out for a nice tourtiere recipe and the how-to that goes into a Rudy Vallee cocktail, among other historically-relevant goodies).

And in other news, I'm clawing to reach the century mark in fans on this Web site's Web site, so please ink up if you haven't already.

- John C.L. Morgan

Favorite Posts of 2009: May

Broadening Horizons: Wojciech Kilar's "Orawa" (May 5)
Brings back memories of my only jaw-dropping experience at a live concert.

Broadening Horizons: Urban Contra Dancing (May 12)
A Westbrook native gives a tour of contra dancing in Portland.

Cycles and Coolatas and Beards, Oh My (May 12)
A nod toward the strange phenomenon of Westbrook's downtown Dunkin' Donuts serving as the city's biker hangout.

Quote, Unquote: Mallory Shaughnessy (May 13)
Yet another way in which Allen's Coffee-Flavored Brandy explains Maine.

More Allen's Talk (May 15)
There's no such thing as Allen's-related navel gazing, IMHO.

Your Supreme Court Fix (May 18)
Everything you ever wanted to know about the 2005 S.D. Warren v. Maine Board of Environmental Protection decision.

Broadening Horizons: Ali v. Liston (May 19)
Full footage of the infamous championship fight hosted by Lewiston in May 1965.

The Sportswriter: Why I Am Supporting Barca (May 27)
Though this post specifically applies to the 2009 UEFA Championship game, it might as well be about why Barcelona's my favorite foreign soccer club.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: April (December 22, 2009)
Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: March (December 21, 2009)
Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: February (December 18, 2009)
Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: January (December 17, 2009)
Related: See You Next Year (December 26, 2009)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Favorite Posts of 2009: April

Three Thoughts on the Closing of Warren Memorial (April 6)
My take on the closing of one of Westbrook's two libraries.

Prince of the Poor Man's Media: Or, This Week's Episode in Shameless Self-Promotion (April 6)
A link to the best Red Sox blog, which on this day contained my ambivalence surrounding the Sox season opener.

Holy S#!& (April 7)
A link to the raw footage of a man running over a Mill Side Tavern patron with his truck.

The Presumpscots of Cumberland Mills (April 7)
A glimpse at The Presumpscots, the Paper City's nineteenth-century boys of summer.

Bar Talk (April 8)
How the patrons at Westbrook's blue-collar bars dealt with the aftermath of the Mill Side rundown (see above).

Contributors Are Welcome (April 11)
A call to arms keyboards that still rings true.

Broadening Horizons (April 14)
Pregame footage of the sublime Diego Maradona.

Pike v. Idexx et al Goes Viral (April 23)
An opponent of Pike's expansion plans for Spring Street channels Sesame Street.

On the Rock 'N Road Tour '09 (April 24)
My experience on Pike's PR caravan.

Decisions, Decisions (April 27)
A reminder that I've got to come up with a nickname for the Mayor-elect.

Why I Live in the Paper City, Draft (April 27)
Let me count the ways...

Broadening Horizons: How to BBQ Frog Legs (April 28)
I know it's not officially BBQ season, but methinks that if I actually tried this dish, I'd eat it year-round.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: March (December 21, 2009)
Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: February (December 18, 2009)
Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: January (December 17, 2009)
Related: See You Next Year (December 26, 2008)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Judge Rules Pike Cannot Blast While Waiting for Appeal

Pike Industries will not be allowed to blast rock
at its Spring Street quarry while the company appeals a zoning board decision in
court. Chief Justice Thomas Humphrey on Wednesday denied Pike's request to blast
up to nine times over a two-month period. Earlier this year, the Westbrook
Zoning Board ruled that Pike does not have the proper permits to operate at its
Spring Street quarry. Pike is contesting that decision in Maine Business Court.
Humphrey last month granted Pike a stay, allowing the company to continue to
excavate, crush and remove rock from the quarry, but prohibiting Pike from
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Judge Sides with Pike on Question of Shutdown Order (November 19, 2009)

Favorite Posts of 2009: March

Broadening Horizons: Punk Capital of the Paper City (March 10)
Video footage from Westbrook's punk hot spot, the Stephen W. Manchester American Legion Hall.

Longfellow in Everyday Life (March 10)
Proof Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poetry is still relevant in modern American life.

Did You Know? (March 11)
A look at the origins of Westbrook High School's foreign exchange student program.

When Life Resembles Grand Theft Auto (March 16)
A link to news stories about a Westbrook resident who thought he was a character in a video game.

Broadening Horizons: Turtleman (March 17)
Consider this man an inspiration for the aspiring turtle hunters among my readers.

Quote, Unquote: Trevor Corson (March 18)
How Maine is like--and unlike--Finland.

Westbrook Taxes: 2008 v. 1958 (March 18)
A look at how the City of Westbrook has spent its taxes over the last fifty years.

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Maine (March 19)
Any post related to Maine's statehood is a shoo-in for this category.

The Riverbank Park Reader (March 27)
A collection of my posts related to Riverbank Park.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: February (December 18, 2009)
Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: January (December 17, 2009)
Related: See You Next Year (December 26, 2008)

Cream, Sugar, and Cannabis?

Charles Wynott of Westbrook is planning a place
with a cafe setting, like a coffee shop, where [medicinal marijuana] patients
can come and be sociable. Ideally, it would be easily accessible, a communitiy's
main street, right off a bus line. And both places would be nonprofits licensed
by the state to dispense medical marijuana to patients who need help with pain,
nausea, lack of appetite and other problems.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: City Eyes Regulations for Medicinal Pot Dispensaries (December 7, 2009)

Westbrook-Based Publication Enters Fourth Year

Enter the SunriseGuide, a coupon book for consumers
who want to save the world on a budget.The $20 book, now out in its fourth
annual edition, includes more than $5,300 worth of coupons and advertisements
for businesses around southern Maine. It also has nearly 60 pages of short
articles and tips about green living, such as making your house more energy
efficient and growing organic vegetables. The book has built a loyal following
among environmentally conscious consumers who use it to save money and find
companies they may not have known about.
- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Posts of 2009: February

The Works (February 4)
My deep thought about Italian sandwiches.

How Real Men Sleep (February 5)
Unfortunately, this post is becoming more relevant by the day.

Broadening Horizons: Clam Digging (February 10)
A short profile of two Maine clammers.

The Sportswriter: Thoughts on Tonight's U.S. vs. Mexico World Cup Qualifer (February 11)
Even the New York Times thought this post was worthy of a glance.

Keith Luke Responds to "Ideas for a Better Westbrook" (February 17)
Westbrook's director of economic development gives readers a glimpse of what is in the economic development pipeline.

Crystal Lake Crystals (February 28)
A very short summary of an ice-cutting demonstration in Harrison.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Favorite Posts of 2009: January (December 17, 2009)
Related: See You Next Year (December 26, 2008)

New Middle School May Not Open on Time

Uncompleted work at the new Westbrook Middle School
has postponed a dedication ceremony and called into question whether the school
would be ready for students on Jan. 4. The school department was supposed to
receive its certificate of occupancy Tuesday, but the city's code enforcement
officer, fire inspector and electrical inspector said more work would have to be
done before that could happen, and that work wouldn't be completed in time for
Saturday's scheduled dedication ceremony.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Skepticism Squared (November 24, 2009)

Reuse Plans for Old Junior High Taking Shape

The city is solidifying plans for reusing the
soon-to-be-vacant junior high school, including relocating City Hall from Main
Street. The Wescott Junior High School Reuse Committee has voted to recommend
moving forward with a plan to move the recreation department, social services
agencies and City Hall offices into the building, located on Bridge Street. "To
really make this work, in terms of the least impact to the taxpayers, we'd have
to relocate City Hall to the junior high school," said Jim Violette, co-chairman
of the reuse committee.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Will Davan Pool Be Closed? (May 29, 2009)
Related: Did You Know? (September 24, 2008)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Favorite Posts of 2009: January

Quote of the Day--So Far (January 5)
A Westbrook resident eloquently explains her opposition to a state law that would prohibit Mainers from texting while driving.

Paper City Streets: Rochester Street (January 5)
A look at why Rochester Street is, well, Rochester Street.

Broadening Horizons: Parkour (January 6)
Though the posted video of Johnny O's secret hobby is a good one, be sure to check out the vintage Parkour footage linked to by WD reader Hurdy Chadwick in the comments section.

Quote, Unquote: Walter Lowell (January 7)
Find out why Americans from all over want to die in Maine.

The Sportswriter: The ABCS of College Football (January 8)
A look at the former part of the scholar-athlete job title.

On Location: Great Reading Room (January 8)
I confess my greatest addiction and describe my stint in rehab.

Taylor Smith's Ideas for a Better Westbrook (January 12)
One Westbrook resident's thoughts on how the city can become a better place in which to work and live.

Department of the Bizarre (January 12)
There should be more engagement notices like this one.

Broadening Horizons: Playing the Spoons (January 13)
This post reminds me of the two or three hours I spent working on my spoon-playing skills as two or three hours of my life I won't ever get back.

Broadening Horizons: How to Pour Stella Artois (January 20)
Yes, it takes 4:15 to explain the correct way to pour a proper glass of beer.

On Location: Warren Centennial Gymnasium (January 22)
An account of a big night out on the town.

Rudy Vallee: Modest Inspirer of Goose Flesh or National Menace? (January 22)
This post contains a link to a must-see February 1958 Mike Wallace interview with Westbrook's golden son.

The Sportswriter: Why Linemen Don't Win More Fitzpatrick Trophies (January 25)
My theory on why linemen are almost never identified as Maine's best football players.

James Tranchemontagne's Ideas for a Better Westbrook (January 26)
Another Westbrook resident's thoughts on how the city can be improved.

Did You Know? (January 28)
A look at the KKK's historical presence in the Pine Tree State.

Eat Meat (January 28)
The Maine comedian Tim Sample's dietary prescription for a more aggressive planet.

Paper City People: Blaine Reynolds and Kevin Sparks (January 30)
The proprietors of the Colonial Bowling Center dish their picks for the Best of Westbrook.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: See You Next Year (December 26, 2008)

Six Degrees of John Lackey

The newly-acquired Red Sox pitcher's father-in-law, Nielson Clark, is a Westbrook native.

- John C.L. Morgan

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Metro to Offer Free Rides on Friday and Saturday

The METRO and South Portland public bus services
will be free Friday and Saturday. The METRO, operated by the Greater Portland
Transit District, provides bus service to Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth and the
Maine Mall area of South Portland.
The schedule for the Westbrook line is here.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: On Location: Metro No. 4 (July 15, 2008)
Related: 11:53 AM: Wow, I Never Realized How Beautiful Westbrook Is (February 9, 2008)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sappi and the Paper Industry

To succeed in this new era of innovation and marketing,
producers must constantly seek new markets, says Donna Cassese,
managing director for the Sappi mill in Westbrook. Sappi is the
world’s leading supplier of “release paper,” which is used in the
creation of fashionable leather jackets, polyurethane car dashboards
and Nike soccer cleats, to provide the texture found in these products.
“In addition to our ongoing product development, we’re constantly
interacting with and seeking out new customers,” says Cassese.
- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, December 11, 2009

School Chief Eyes Outstanding Workers' Comp Cases

The Westbrook School Department has put pressure on
its insurance administrator to close more than half of its 19 open worker's
compensation claims, some dating back to the 1990s. Superintendent Reza Namin,
who started taking a close look at the department's budget this year, said he
was surprised to find how many open claims there were and wondered why they
hadn't been more effectively managed. Human Resources Director Kristy Gould
agreed. "I was surprised," she said. "Those are worrisome, to see large
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: City, School Department Talk About Sharing Finance Director (November 30, 2009)

The Brothers

James and Andre Tranchemontagne, the co-owners of The Frog and Turtle and The French Press Eatery, talk to the Portland Food Heads about their establishments and their preferred last meals.

- John C.L. Morgan

Idexx Introduces H1N1 Test for Cats and Dogs

Veterinary Practice News:
Idexx Laboratories of Westbrook, Maine, reported
Dec. 8 that it has introduced a canine and feline H1N1 Influenza Virus RealPCR
Test. The test, which is in response to concern about the spread of the virus,
is designed to help veterinarians diagnose and manage patients with suspected
respiratory infection.
- John C.L. Morgan

Full Disclosure: My wife works at Idexx.

Related: Silver Lining in Swine Flu Hysteria (April 30, 2009)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

04092 on 207

The folks at "207" compare the Paper City to Brooklyn and document the Dana Warp Mill's contributions to the culture and economy of Westbrook.

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Arts in Spotlight (December 7, 2009)
Related: Paper City Minute: Saccarappa Falls (August 4, 2008)

Football: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture

The Sportswriter: Seven Questions for Edward Rielly

(Editor's Note: Edward Rielly, a St. Joseph's College professor of English and a Westbrook resident, recently authored the book Football: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Below are his answers to the seven questions I e-mailed to him.)

1. Besides this book, you've also written Baseball: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. What intrigues you about using sports as an allegory for American pop culture?

Both my earlier Baseball: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture and the recent Football: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture explore many ways in which that particular sport and American culture intersect, each affecting the other. With both sports (but not necessarily with all sports), there is such a historically strong interest in the game that we see a great many dimensions of our society represented in it.

I discuss in the football book such matters as race relations, the role of women, gun violence, disabilities, concussions, politicians, labor-management relations, the media, retirement issues, suicide, and many other topics. All of these are significant within football but also extremely important within our broader culture.

In some ways football, like baseball, is emblematic of American society. At times, football may be ahead of the curve, for example, integrating before large geographical segments of our country did; at other times, as in taking head injuries seriously, it has lagged behind. I am happy to see that football finally is catching up in this health area.

2. What are some of the most common roles baseball and football have played in reflecting or changing American pop culture?

Both sports have played huge roles in integrating our society and helping people to accept a multicultural nation. I think that they also emphasize the increasing globalization of the United States and the rest of the world. That is especially true in baseball with so many players coming from Latin American countries, but we also are seeing more players from Japan. The trend will continue. In football, as the NFL continues to play games abroad, as in the recent Patriots game in England, we probably will see more players coming here from other countries. Of course, the impact of these sports is widespread.

I mentioned a lot of connections earlier, but we also see these games yielding some outstanding films and literature. If we do not think that football has a big impact on us, we should remember the Super Bowl. Who would be so foolish as to schedule a meeting or other event when the Super Bowl is being played?

3. What are some of the biggest differences between the two sports in the roles they've played in pop culture?

Baseball achieved great popularity in the nineteenth century and to a great extent has retained that popularity. College football went through a golden age of popularity in the 1920s, but professional football did not reach something close to parity with other major sports until television became a major player in the late 1950s. The championship game between the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts, with Johnny Unitas leading the Colts to a dramatic overtime victory, is often credited with being the turning point for professional football. In my book, I call that contest football's greatest game--a subjective judgment, but one shared by many people.

It is hard today to believe that until then professional football was no better than the fifth favorite sport, behind baseball, boxing, horse racing, and college football. So football, especially professional football, has lagged behind baseball historically in popularity, thus limiting its impact on American society.

When General Douglas MacArthur chose a sport as a way to encourage the Japanese after World War II to accept American democratic principles, he picked baseball, not football. Of course, baseball had been popular in Japan before the war, and MacArthur was a former baseball player. Perhaps if General Eisenhower, a football star at Army, had been choosing, he might have selected football.

When the Japanese wanted to insult American soldiers, they hurled derogatory comments about Babe Ruth across the lines. Conversely, when U.S. troops came upon someone they thought might be a Nazi infiltrator, they would quiz him on baseball facts. The assumption was that any true American knew about baseball.

4. Baseball is, of course, frequently described as America's past time. Do you think that continues to be true, or do you think football as overtaken baseball's claim as America's past time?

Continuing what I just said, I would add that because of the longer and steadier relationship between baseball and the United States, and the perception that baseball is a quintessentially democratic pastime (something almost everyone at some level can play), baseball still deserves the title of America's National Pastime. The number of people following the sport today, in my opinion, is not the deciding factor regarding that title.

5. Which entry in the book is the most meaningful to you?

That is a really hard question to answer. I will take the liberty of answering it a little differently. As a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, I included a few more entries dealing with the Fighting Irish than perhaps someone else would have chosen. I will opt for the Notre Dame entries collectively as my personal favorites.

6. As a soccer fanatic I can't help but ask: How long before I can pick up a copy of a book in which you explore the relationship between soccer and American pop culture?

My grandchildren love soccer, and my son coaches it. However, when I was growing up in Wisconsin, no one around there played soccer. I am sure that a great many people now do, but soccer was not a part of my childhood. I never connected to it the same way that I did to baseball and football. Of course, soccer does not have the same long tradition within the United States as they enjoy. All of this is to say that although soccer may deserve a similar volume, it is unlikely to come from me.

7. Is there anything you'd like to add?

Any writer is likely to add the hope that people will actually read his or her book. My Football: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture can be purchased at Border's, ordered through or directly from the University of Nebraska Press, or, in fact, requested through any bookstore.

Of course, I'm biased in this matter, but I think that it's a good read. It is the type of book that a person can move through a bit at a time, reading an entry here, another there, whatever topics seem especially interesting. If anyone has a question or wants to contact me, I can be reached at

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: On Location: 19 Monroe Avenue (September 9, 2008)

Storey's Garden Center Faces Make It or Break It Season

Portland Daily Sun:
This month, Elliot Storey will know whether he can
keep his garden-center business afloat without access to a key Christmas tree
lot that his family has used for 20 years. For the first time in two decades,
Storey’s Garden Center is not selling Christmas trees at Lib’s Ice Cream Center
at the Northgate Shopping Plaza in the North Deering neighborhood. Just weeks
before the Christmas tree season, he explains, the lot owner informed him that
rent was jumping from $2,000 to $8,000 for the season. "As a small business
owner, I can’t afford that," Storey said.
In the article, Storey floats the theory that a falling out with a former business partner may be the reason for the 400% hike in rent at the location where 65-75% of his company's Christmas trees had been sold each year.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: On Maine Christmas Trees (December 7, 2009)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


A Westbrook firefighter was fired last week after a
disciplinary hearing to address allegations of sexual harassment made by two
female firefighters who sued the department and the city. Matthew Lamontagne was
dismissed Friday from the Westbrook Fire and Rescue Department for allegedly
violating the city's harassment policy, said Dan Walsh, a business agent for
Teamsters Local 340, which represents firefighters and rescue workers. Walsh
declined to say Tuesday whether he would appeal the decision. "The union will do
everything within their power to defend the rights of the members," he
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Consultant: Fire Department Needs More Training (December 8, 2009)
Related: State Board Reinstates Firefighter's Rank (June 16, 2009)

TechMaine to Host Annual Technology Conference


Wind power turbines, iPhone applications and the
future of news will all be part of the discussion Thursday at the annual
TechMaine conference. For the 17th year, Maine's technology trade association
will bring together state officials, entrepreneurs, academics and more to
discuss the future of the state's technology sector. Created as the Maine
Software Developers Association (MESDA), TechMaine now encompasses
communications, manufacturing, research and other industries. "As business and
technology have become intertwined, the conference has reflected that," said Joe
Kumiszcza, executive director of TechMaine.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Westbrook-Based Technology Association Wins Grant (December 8, 2009)
Related: Westbrook Company Has Popular Map App (October 20, 2009)

Storm Remedy

The Bollard's John Myers might have just the tonic you're looking for to cure that onset of winter blues.

- John C.L. Morgan

Consultant: Fire Department Needs More Training

The city's Fire and Rescue Department needs stronger leadership and significant
training in communication skills, says a consultant hired to address issues of
gender bias and allegations of sexual harassment raised in a lawsuit by two
female firefighters. The consultant, the Center for the Prevention of Hate
Violence, presented a training proposal Monday to city councilors. The sessions,
targeted for the command staff, would focus on improving communication within
the department and developing strategies to resolve conflicts.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Two Firefighters Formally File Lawsuit Against City (Thursday, November 5, 2009)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wrasslers Today, Servicemen Tomorrow

Andrew Drouin and Harrison Strondak are extremely passionate about wrestling.
And both have strong feelings about their country, too. It comes as little
surprise to anyone who knows them what their plans are following graduation in
June from Westbrook High. Drouin will become a U.S. Marine and Strondak intends
to join the Coast Guard.
- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook-Based Tech Association Wins Grant

The Maine Technology Institute reports it has given out three grants worth a
total of $140,000 to Pine Tree State organizations. The MTI gave the grants
under its Cluster Initiative Program, which is intended to provide funding for
feasibility and planning collaborative projects in the state’s technology
clusters, including IT, forestry, agriculture and manufacturing.
Westbrook-based TechMaine was awarded $49,500 for its online educational program for the state's technologists.

- John C.L. Morgan

Calpine Among Consumers of Carbon Credits

Maine has earned another $1.7 million from the
greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program known as RGGI, state environmental
officials say. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is aimed at regulating
emissions that contribute to global warming by forcing dirty power plants to buy
emissions allowances from cleaner ones. Ten northeast and mid-Atlantic states
are participating in the initiative, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont,
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and
Maryland. So far, Maine has earned more than $15.2 million from the six
allowance auctions conducted so far. The money is being spent on programs that
promote energy efficiency and cut energy costs.

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Businesswoman on Mainebiz Sunday

(Editor's Note: This segment originally aired in the fall, but WCSH broadcast it again Sunday morning.)

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: CCB Inc. President a 'Woman to Watch' (October 13, 2009)

Monday, December 7, 2009

On Maine Christmas Trees

Some people grab a tree, twirl it around, and if
they don't see a massive bald spot, buy it. Others will tap the trunk on the
ground and if only a few needles fall, they'll buy it. Other folks wait for the
kids to say something cute like "That looks like the tree on Charlie Brown"
before buying one. But there are some practical aspects to picking out a
Christmas tree. There are differences between the types you might find at Maine
tree farms or tree lots this holiday season.
- John C.L. Morgan

Brown Street, Circa 1966

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Arts in Spotlight

Over the next week, Westbrook will get a chance to
prove how far it has come in its effort to become a destination for the arts.
Several arts groups and creative enterprises that are based in the Dana Warp
Mill will host events and open houses to call attention to their presence and
encourage people to visit. "Westbrook is getting the buzz that artists are
moving out here. The mill is filled with a bunch of painters, photographers,
dancers, an acting company and others. Within the walls of the mill, we are
getting this whole creative economy thing going," said Steve Pennisi, a painter
who is organizing a group art show called "Mill-ieu."
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: The Holidays Start in Westbrook (December 4, 2009)

City Eyes Regulations for Medicinal Pot Dispensaries

[Charlie] Wynott’s plans--and the potential for
others--have gotten city officials talking about how they can regulate the
number and location of marijuana dispensaries in the city. One of Wynott’s
neighbors, who operates a day care next door, has taken issue with what he’s
doing now and doesn’t want to see more marijuana being distributed from his
home. City Council President Brendan Rielly said the situation in California,
where a lack of regulation has resulted in an onslaught of dispensaries, led him
to start a discussion about regulations in Westbrook. "They’re just overrun with
these public dispensaries and now they’re trying to put the genie back in the
bottle," he said. "I wanted to make sure we’re out in front of it and
- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Native Reminisces

I especially liked the stories about that four-lane
bowling alley in Westbrook, Maine, the town where you were born and spent your
early childhood. Four lanes and a pool table. It must seem a long, long way from
that sleek automated 60-lane bowling palace in East Providence, especially when
you consider how you paid for your bowling back then: "I was a pin boy. I worked
for two cents a string. When I’d made enough money, I'd bowl."
- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Sportswriter: Weekend Surfing

Eyes around the globe were focused on Cape Town, South Africa earlier this afternoon for the 2010 World Cup Final Draw, an event in which the thirty-two qualified teams--America included--found out who and when they will be playing when the world's largest sporting event kicks off in June 2010.

Because soccer is unique among American sports in the sense that it can truly spark seemingly random curiosity about other countries, below is a reading list for each of the Americans' first-round opponents, Algeria, England, and Slovenia:

Algeria (Wednesday, June 23, 2010)
Profile of host city
Profile of host stadium
Country profile
Team profile
National Public Radio archive
The Atlantic archive
The New Republic archive
The New York Times archive
TIME archive
Wall Street Journal

England (Saturday, June 12, 2010)
Profile of host city
Profile of host stadium
Country profile
Team profile
National Public Radio archive
The Atlantic archive
The New Republic archive
The New York Times archive
TIME archive
Wall Street Journal

Slovenia (Friday, June 18, 2010)
Profile of host city
Profile of host stadium
Country profile
Team profile
National Public Radio archive
The Atlantic archive
The New Republic archive
The New York Times archive
TIME archive
Wall Street Journal

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Weekend Viewing: Inja (2001) (October 30, 2009)

WHS Boys' Basketball Team One to Watch

The Blue Blazes have the tallest starting lineup in
the SMAA and maybe the most talented, as well, with two first-team
all-conference players in Dominic Borelli at 6-foot-7 and Nich Jobin at 6-6.
Borelli averaged 16 points per game, while Jobin added 14 per game. Sean Murphy,
a 6-5 junior, is the team's best 3-point shooter. The team's could depend on how
well the backcourt plays. Point guard Jose Nouchanthavong is a three-year
Borelli and Jobin were also on the PPH's list of "10 Players to Watch."

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: On Location: Warren Centennial Gymnasium (January 22, 2009)

The Holidays Start in Westbrook

Or so says this promo.

According to Keith Luke, Westbrook's Director of Economic & Community Development, the promo will be soon be re-cut with some different images and phrases and was paid for by WPXT's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) deal.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Westbrook's Christmas Tree Will Be Lit Sunday (December 2, 2009)
Related: Santa Claus is Coming to (Down)town (December 1, 2009)
Related: Promo (November 9, 2009)
Related: Go to Photo-A-Go-Go (November 2, 2009)
Related: It Starts in Westbrook (February 7, 2009)