Friday, July 30, 2010

On Malaga Island

Down East:
Between July 1911 and November 1912, the state of Maine purchased the island,
incarcerated a fifth of its [black, white, and mixed race] inhabitants on
questionable grounds at the Maine School for the Feebleminded in New Gloucester,
and forcibly evicted everyone else on the orders of Governor Frederick Plaisted.
The islanders had dismantled and taken their homes with them, but state
officials made certain no trace of the community remained. They took down and
relocated the schoolhouse (to Louds Island in Muscongus Bay), then dug up the
seventeen bodies in the cemetery, stuffed them into five group caskets, and
unceremoniously buried them at the School for the Feebleminded (now Pineland
A Web site devoted to Malaga Island: A Story Best Left Untold, a radio documentary produced by Rob Rosenthal, can be seen here.

- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Check 'Em Out

Katie Camplin, the coordinator of the Westbrook Children's Project, has launched a blog called the Westbrook Parenting Network.

Also, the Westbrook Community Center's Web site is up.

- John C.L. Morgan

Private Negotiations Between City and Pike Raise Concerns

Westbrook residents and businesses are unhappy they’re in the dark about
negotiations among the city, Pike Industries and Idexx Laboratories on an
agreement that could allow Pike to operate its controversial Spring Street
quarry with some restrictions. However, the city says the negotiations are
private because they involve the potential settlement of a lawsuit that Pike
filed against the city. City Administrator Jerre Bryant said the agreement will
become public as soon as it is ready to go to the City Council for a vote –
which he hopes will happen sometime in August.
- John C.L. Morgan

Changes at Smiling Hill Farm Spark Dissension

Some-–if not all-–of the cows at Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook were transported
to new homes this week. The departure of the cows has apparently created
dissension among members of the Knight family that owns the farm, and unsettled
some customers and others with connections to Smiling Hill. Warren Knight,
president of the farm’s board of directors, said last week that cows at the farm
would be leaving while the farm temporarily stopped milking on site. The farm
plans to milk cows there again after it transitions to a less labor-intensive
type of milking system, Knight said.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Smiling Hill to Alter Milk Production (July 26, 2010)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On Maine's Blueberries

The Atlantic:
They're sold pretty much everyplace along Route 1:
gas stations, convenience stores, nurseries, and one-lawn-chair roadside stands
that annoy summer travelers forced to crawl anyway as people like me pull over
for a quick quart. In fact on the way up I went through a quart in only the hour
or so between Brunswick and Rockland, and then roughly a quart a day while I was
there, with an a bonus afternoon pint thrown in on top of the morning's quart on
the long trip back. The grainy, dry texture makes them somewhere between the
cultivated blueberries we all know (and that I can consume by the pint but not
the quart), which may be sweeter, softer, and juicier but not necessarily
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Quote, Unquote: Trevor Corson (March 18, 2009)

Thanksgiving's Shuts Its Doors

It’s no longer Turkey Day every day on the rotary in Westbrook. Thanksgiving’s
Bakery and Eatery shut its doors last week after about four years of serving up
rotisserie turkey and a variety of baked goods. The eatery and bakery was owned
and run by the Piattoni family--Jack, Chris and Kyle, according to its website.
Jack Piattoni this week declined to provide many specifics about the closing
other than to say that "it just didn’t work."
- John C.L. Morgan

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Firefighters Lose Jobs, Former Chief Sues City

Two Westbrook firefighters who were arrested last month and placed on leave have
lost their jobs. James Gammon, a full-time firefighter for the Westbrook Fire
and Rescue Department, is "not currently on the city's payroll," City
Administrator Jerre Bryant said Monday. He was on the city's payroll Friday,
Bryant said. Richard Dorr, a captain with the call company, was terminated
during his meeting with city officials Monday. The moves come about two weeks
after the resignation of a third firefighter who had been named in a
protection-from-abuse order.

Former Fire Chief Daniel Brock has sued the city of Westbrook and Mayor Colleen
Hilton, claiming the city violated its charter and his constitutional rights
when Hilton dismissed him in January.The lawsuit, filed in Cumberland County
Superior Court on July 20, contends Brock "has suffered pecuniary loss, damage
to his reputation and emotional distress" from his public dismissal during the
mayor's inauguration speech on Jan. 4. "He was wrongfully discharged, and
nothing was done to explain or rectify the situation," said Barbara Goodwin, an
attorney for Murray, Plumb & Murray in Portland, who represents Brock.
- John C.L. Morgan

Monday, July 26, 2010

Creator of Middle School's Public Art Among Maine's 'Most Exciting Artists'

Down East:
[Aaron] Stephan lives in Portland’s gritty Bayside neighborhood with Lauren
Fensterstock, and he shares a large studio space with a blacksmith on the light
industrial outskirts of the city. Currently, he is at work on a $34,000 Percent
for Art commission for the new Westbrook Middle School. Return, as the
site-specific middle school installation is called, takes the form of a
twenty-two-foot carpentered tree erupting from the floor of the school’s atrium.
When Stephan discovered that the school was built on the site of the old
Cumberland-Oxford Canal that once carried logs to the Westbrook paper mill, he
set about finding logs that had been submerged in Maine lakes, milling them into
lumber, and building a new tree out of the old trees. "I see my art practice as
being a dialogue with the world through stuff," says Stephan. "The stuff can say
so much. I am exploring the ways that things can teach."
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: On Westbrook Middle School's Public Art (March 8, 2010)

Smiling Hill to Alter Milk Production

Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook plans to temporarily
stop milking cows on site as the farm transitions to a less labor-intensive type
of milking system, according to Warren Knight, president of the family farm's
board of directors. The transition could start as soon as this weekend as the
farm begins to sell or move some of its cows. However, the farm will continue to
have the local milk products and ice cream for which it is known, Knight
- John C.L. Morgan

Mad Gabs Reports Big Boost in Sales

Owner and founder Gabrielle Melchionda credits the products' low price point at
under $15 as the "magic number" that has allowed the 19-year-old company to
continue to grow despite a recession that has hurt the tourism and travel
businesses. Financial details were not released, but she said the privately
owned company has had a 40 percent increase in sales in the last year.
- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Realtor: Federal Tax Credits Strengthened Housing Market

"What I've experience in the recent past is that more of the move-up buyers are
out there and I think that has direct correlation to the increase in the median
sale price," said [Prudential Northeast associate broker Marie] Flaherty.
Flaherty says she saw some fierce competition for properties as the April 30th
homebuyer tax credit deadline approached. The credit was $8,000 for first-time
buyers and $6,500 for existing owners who move.
- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Energy Center Earns Recognition for Workplace Safety

Calpine Corporation's (NYSE:CPN) Westbrook Energy Center has earned Star
Worksite designation under the stringent federal Voluntary Protection Program
(VPP). This distinction is the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety
and Health Administration's (OSHA's) highest level of recognition for exemplary
workplace health and safety efforts. "At Calpine, we put safety first in
everything we do--for our employees, visitors, communities and the environment,"
said Calpine's Chief Executive Officer Jack Fusco.
- John C.L. Morgan

Two Corrections

See here and here to see how I've corrected a couple posts.

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Politics: July 26- July 30, 2010

Tuesday, July 27
Maine Department of Transportation Public Meeting
Westbrook Public Safety Building, 570 Main Street

- John C.L. Morgan

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Westbrook Almanac: July 18- July 24, 2010

High: 88F (July 18)
Low: 59F (July 23)
Precipitation: 0.96 inches
Snowfall: 0.00 inches
Previous Sunrise: 5:15a
Previous Sunset: 8:19p

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: 49F (July 1)
Precipitation: 3.72 inches
Snowfall: 0.00 inches

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: -1F (January 10)
Precipitation: 30.79 inches
Snowfall: 24.8 inches

National Weather Service

- John C.L. Morgan

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gone Fishin'

Will resume posting next week.

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Politics: July 19- July 23, 2010

Wednesday, July 21
Zoning Board of Appeals meeting
Westbrook High School, Room 114

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Almanac: July 11- July 17, 2010

High: 83F (July 15)
Low: 63F (July 12)
Precipitation: 2.28 inches
Snowfall: 0.00 inches
Previous Sunrise: 5:15a
Previous Sunset: 8:19p

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: 49F (July 1)
Precipitation: 2.76 inches
Snowfall: 0.00 inches

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: -1F (January 10)
Precipitation: 29.83 inches
Snowfall: 24.8 inches

National Weather Service

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, July 16, 2010

Harmon: Anne Farley Epitomized Courage and Sacrifice

Anne Farley, the Westbrook woman who drowned at Old Orchard Beach Wednesday after saving her granddaughter, was the subject of M.D. Harmon's Press Herald column today:
I don't recall sitting at my desk with tears running down my face before, but
now the next time it happens won't be the first. Not because, as I said, I knew
Anne all that well, but because I was completely overwhelmed by her courage.
What she did represented the absolute best that we are capable of as human
beings, an act of utter heroism on the part of someone you would never think
would have the opportunity to show such luminous bravery.
- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Part-Time Firefighter Resigns Amid Legal Issues

A part-time Westbrook firefighter who was put on
unpaid leave after a woman got a protection-from-harassment order against him
has left his job.James Harbaugh resigned Monday from the Westbrook Fire and
Rescue Department.Since July 7, he has also been on paid leave from the
Scarborough Fire Department, where he has been a part-time firefighter and
rescue worker since 2000.Westbrook officials put Harbaugh on leave in June,
after he was accused of harassing and threatening a social worker who shares an
office with Harbaugh's wife.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: City Places Three Firefighters on Leave for 'Legal Tangles' (July 1, 2010)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Westbrook Company Wins Contract for Federally-Funded Wind Turbines

A downturn in the construction market is often one of the red flags signaling a
recession, but the tough times can be combated with a commitment to excellence,
says a Westbrook construction company. Last month, CCB Inc. landed a $253,000
contract to install a wind turbine off Cape Cod for the area's transit
authority, beating out competing firms from four states. The wind power project
is the first to be financed solely by the federal government.
- John C.L. Morgan

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

Monday, July 12, 2010

More Praise for Beverly Jensen's Book

The Kingdom Journal:
I sat down with the manuscript and began to read. What struck me first is that I
felt that I knew these characters. I knew them the way I knew my neighbors of
decades, and even my own family. Beverly Jensen’s hard-bitten country folk
seemed real to me in a way that I had only very rarely experienced before.
Reading her manuscript was reminiscent of the day I discovered Flannery
O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find and read it in a sitting. I
finished Beverly’s book about ten o’clock that evening. The Red Sox were playing
the Yankees on television, and I am a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation.
But I had entirely forgotten about the baseball game. Instead, I had read a
literary masterwork.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Westbrook Native's Book Has Been Published (June 30, 2010)

Westbrook Couple Celebrates 70 Years of Marriage

[Irving and Ethel Knowles] stand out in today’s world for a lot of reasons. At a
time when the divorce rate in the United States is nearly 50 percent of all
marriages, their union is still going strong after 70 years. Also, in an era
when many people move frequently, in search of a bigger and better house, the
couple remains happily ensconced in the cozy little house on Rochester Street
that has been their home for seven decades.
For the record, Mr. and Mrs. Knowles were not the neighbors responsible for my Westbrook Wake-Up a couple years ago.

- John C.L. Morgan

D'Alfonso Swings for the Fences in Arizona

[Anthony] D'Alfonso flew to Yuma, Ariz., for a
tryout with an independent league team located near the Mexican border. He
waited in a hotel room for two days and was close to returning home to Westbrook
when the Yuma Scorpions of the Golden Baseball League called to offer him a
tryout. They'd make time during batting practice before that night's game. It
was all he needed. D'Alfonso hit several pitches out of the park and was to
signed a contract within an hour. He went 4 for 4 Tuesday night in his third
appearance at first base.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: On Location: Westbrook High School (June 9, 2009)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Westbrook Politics: July 12- July 16, 2010

Monday, July 12
Facilities and Streets Committee meeting
Westbrook High School, Room 114

City Council meeting
Westbrook High School, Room 114

Tuesday, July 13
Planning Board meeting
Westbrook High School, Room 114

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Almanac: July 4- July 10, 2010

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: 65F (July 4)
Precipitation: 0.40 inches
Snowfall: 0.00 inches
Previous Sunrise: 5:10a
Previous Sunset: 8:24p

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: 49F (July 1)
Precipitation: 0.48 inches
Snowfall: 0.00 inches

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: -1F (January 10)
Precipitation: 27.15 inches
Snowfall: 24.8 inches

National Weather Service

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, July 9, 2010

Portland Pirates Seek Feedback on Arena Location

The Portland Pirates are asking their fans where they would like to go to watch
the team play in the future."Where would you like to see the Pirates play?"
asked the one-question survey posted Thursday afternoon on the team's website
and sent to fans' e-mail accounts. Respondents are asked to check one of four
answers: in Downtown Portland, off the Maine Turnpike in Portland or Westbrook,
off the Maine Turnpike in Saco, or no preference. "We just wanted to get a sense
of where people's heads were at without making it any more complicated," said
Brian Petrovek, the Pirates' managing owner.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Snyder Proposes Arena, Convention Center to Complement Mall Plans (June 23, 2010)

Changes Coming at The French Press Eatery

The French Press Eatery was sort of the little brother of the Frog & Turtle
restaurant when it opened on Main Street last fall. The French Press’ role has
been to serve coffee, breakfast and lunch to the daytime crowd. The Frog &
Turtle, a gastro pub around the corner on Bridge Street, serves dinner in the
evenings. But now The French Press, run by Andre Tranchemontagne, the younger
brother of the Frog & Turtle’s chef, James Tranchemontagne, has developed
its own full-grown identity. The French Press will continue to serve breakfast
and lunch, but next week, starting Tuesday, July 13, it also will be open in the
evenings serving dinner. And coffee will no longer be the strongest tipple at
The French Press--the eatery recently won approval from the city for a liquor
license and has installed a full bar.
- John C.L. Morgan

Construction on Downtown Elderly Housing to Begin Next Week

Work will begin next week on a new 34-unit affordable housing complex for the
elderly on the Presumpscot River. Spring Crossing, to be located at 19 Ash St.,
will be the first project built by the Westbrook Housing Authority since 2003.
The $3.3 million project addresses a strong demand for elderly housing. Spring
Crossing will feature 31 one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments for people
aged 55 and older. Three of the apartments will be handicapped-accessible, and
the remainder will be designed to be easily adaptable for handicapped residents.
- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pike Files An Appeal Against the Re-Zoning of Business Park

Pike Industries has gone to court to appeal the City Council's decision to
rezone the Five Star Industrial Park in a way that would restrict Pike's
operation of its quarry there. Lawyers for the company filed the appeal in
Cumberland County Superior Court on Wednesday to challenge the city's enactment
of the new zoning, which they say would put Pike out of business. Tony Buxton, a
lawyer representing Pike, said the zoning is illegal and conflicts with the
city's comprehensive plan. He said it would prevent Pike from using its property
in a way that it believes it has a constitutional right to continue.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: City Council Rezones Five Star Industrial Park (June 9, 2010)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Booknotes: Grievances

(Editor's Note: I recently bought a copy of Ronald Banks's Maine Becomes a State: The Movement to Separate Maine from Massachusetts, 1785-1820, so I figured I'd kick off a new feature of the blog that will include thoughts on Maine-themed books I'm currently reading.)

Just as Thomas Jefferson used the
Declaration of Independence in July 1776 to air out the American colonists' grievances against their British governors, attendees of a January 1786 convention devoted to Maine's independence from Massachusetts listed seven reasons for why the District of Maine should separate from Massachusetts.

Unlike the Declaration of Independence, though, Maine's own declaration of independence did not enjoy widespread support and proved to be inconsequential, due in large part to the fear of mobocracy and radicalism that took root in both Massachusetts and Maine as a result of
Shays's Rebellion, which began in August 1786. Nevertheless, the critiques expressed by the first movement for independence (described by Banks as taking place between 1785 and 1789) laid the intellectual groundwork for the subsequent movements for Maine's indepedence.

Below is a paraphrased version of Banks's paraphrased version of the original document:
  1. What's good for Massachusetts wasn't necessarily good for Maine. In fact, what's good for Massachusetts actually "retarded the growth of Maine."
  2. Massachusetts's Supreme Judicial Court was responsible for dispensing justice for such a large geographical area that it was impossible for "proper and expeditious justice" to always be achieved. Moreover, because the official clerk's office was located only in Boston, any inquiry into public records "necessitated costly and time-consuming trips" to the city.
  3. Trade regulations reduced the price of lumber, which benefited Boston at the expense of the many Mainers involved in the lumber trade.
  4. Because only towns with 150 elgible voters were allowed to participate in statewide elections, "scores of settlements" and citizens in Maine went without actual representation.
  5. Taxation on Mainers' estates were inequitable to the taxation of those who lived in Massachusetts proper. One example: A sheep raised in Maine required more feed and care due to the longer winters in the Pine Tree State, yet Maine farmers were expected to pay the same tax rate on their sheep as Massachusetts farmers did for their livestock.
  6. Excise taxes and import taxes were unfair for Mainers, when compared to the excise and import taxes Massachusetts residents needed to pay. One example: Due to the scarcity of apple orchards (and thus hard cider) in Maine, Mainers were forced to "import vast quantities of rum to meet the legitimate expectations of working people." And because the tax on rum was higher than the taxes related to hard cider, this was cited as yet another case of Massachusetts proper ignoring the pecularities of Maine.
  7. A fixed fee on deed transfers dealt Mainers a greater financial blow than it did to those from Massachusetts, because land in the District of Maine was bought and sold at a higher rate than it was in Massachusetts.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Booknotes: Longfellow's Provincial Bloodlines (June 15, 2010)

Mainers Responsible for Popularity of Competetive Eating

At noon Eastern on Sunday, tens of thousands of onlookers and millions of
television viewers will wonder how someone like last year’s champion, Joey
Chestnut, can swallow a record 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. A few may
wonder who is responsible. One is a 45-year-old named George Shea, who dons a
straw hat and spews full-throated commentary and tall tales of gorging glory as
the M.C. The other is his brother Rich, 41, who provides tongue-in-cheek
observations for television. Thank them. Blame them. Curse them. Relish them.
Until reading this article I'd forgotten I'd witnessed history when I stood in the parking lot of Costa Vida (now Loco Baja Grill) in South Portland and watched the fourth-ranked competitive eater in the world devour 10 3/4, 18-ounce burritos in 12 minutes en route to winning the 2007 edition of the Costa Vida World Burrito Eating Championship. Ah, the memories.

- John C.L. Morgan

P.S. Video of the 2008 version of the event can be seen here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

City Council Supports Sebago to the Sea Trail


The Westbrook City Council voted unanimously last week to support development of
a 28-mile trail system linking existing hiking trails, bike paths and sidewalks
with some new trails to create a continuous walkway between Sebago Lake and
Portland's East End Beach. The 4-mile leg of the trail in Westbrook begins on
Bridge Street and goes northeast to East Bridge Street. The trail goes to
Puritan Road, then 1,300 feet through city-owned property to the Presumpscot
River. The trail follows along the river to Bridgton Road, where it enters the
city of Portland.
- John C.L. Morgan

Did You Know?

Did you know Westbrook native Rudy Vallee was among the five guests to appear in the first installment of Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show?

Taking place on October 1, 1962, that first show also featured Groucho Marx, Joan Crawford, Tony Bennett, and Mel Brooks. A reflection on the inaugural show can be seen here.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Rudy Vallee: Modest Inspirer of Goose Flesh or National Menace?

On Paul's Shoe Repair

Misadventures in Portland:
Mandy has a million pairs of shoes. She needed a pair to be fixed, so we headed
out to Paul’s Shoe Repair in Westbrook. There are a few different cobblers in
the area, and it’s one of those things that it seems like everyone has an
opinion about. Mary likes the one on Stevens Avenue; Rebecca likes the guy in
South Portland, etc. It’s like finding a locksmith or a taylor (sic)--something
you never think about until you desperately need one.
- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Politics: July 5- July 9, 2010

Wednesday, July 7
Zoning Board of Appeals meeting
Westbrook High School, Room 114

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Almanac: July 1- July 3, 2010

High: 81F (July 3)
Low: 49F (July 1)
Precipitation: 0.08 inches
Snowfall: 0.00 inches
Previous Sunrise: 5:05a
Previous Sunset: 8:26p

High: 81F (July 3)
Low: 49F (July 1)
Precipitation: 0.08 inches
Snowfall: 0.00 inches

High: 91F (May 26)
Low: -1F (January 10)
Precipitation: 27.15 inches
Snowfall: 24.8 inches

National Weather Service

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, July 2, 2010

Samuel James and Billie Jean


- John C.L. Morgan

Farmers' Market Would Benefit--Not Hurt--Riverbank Park

I've experienced Riverbank Park from different perspectives over the years. There is, of course, the plentiful people-watching opportunities the park offers, most notably during the first weekend in June. And during my days as a wild-eyed rebel, I actually sat on the park's benches after sunset to take in the park's clear, white lights atop ground's sparkling, white snow. Most recently, though, I've experienced the park under the guise of the doting dad, making the almost-daily pilgrimmage to my daughter's mecca of swing sets, slides, and jungle gyms. As such, I've graduated into that class of Westbrook "families with young children" who apparently seek municipal protection that most menacing parental nightmare...wait for it...the farmers' market.

At least that's according to Tess Nacelewicz's American Journal article on the possibility of relocating the city's farmers' market from the CVS parking lot to other locations, most notably Riverbank Park.

All snark aside, I do appreciate the City's concern for the safety of kids at the playground and its fear of stalled traffic. As I pointed out in an earlier post, I think vehicular traffic should be barred from the sliver of pavement that bisects the park, as I'm afraid the unfortunate meeting between youthful flesh and motorized metal in that narrow thoroughfare is merely a yet-to-unfold tragedy. Moreover, I claim ignorance of any efforts the City has made to reach an agreement with the abutting Stephen W. Manchester American Legion Post No. 62 to use their parking lot, an agreement that would increase safety and reduce traffic in the park's interior.

Nevertheless, it would be a shame if the City decides against relocating the farmers' market to Riverbank Park on these grounds, mostly because a relocation of the market to Riverbank Park is the best option.

In her 1961 book The Life and Death of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs stresses the importance of diversity in public spaces. In order for a public space to be vital and lively, Jacobs argues, it needs to have diverse functions that attract diverse populations.

As the most visible function of Riverbank Park, the park's playground certainly attracts a diverse population. I've heard sons chastised in a half-dozen languages for chucking wood chips and granddaughters chided by grandparents with a wicked impersonation of Tim Sample. I've seen the Bobo sipping her latte and checking her iPhone between nudges on the swing set over there and the Westbrook Tuxedo-clad dad escorting his daughter down the slide over here. However, as culturally eclectic as the park can get sometimes, the pattern to playground use is pretty uniform.

So, instead of disrupting the rhythm of the playground, a farmers' market in Riverbank Park could actually complement activity in Riverbank Park.

To take but a few examples: Surviving the morning routine prevents even the most efficient of us parents from getting down to the park until 9:30-10a at the earliest. Since the farmers' market is expected to be open from 6a-6p on Thursdays and Fridays, that means the use of the space will not be even remotely competitive for at least 2-3 hours in the early morning. Thus, besides enticing some of the regulars who like to use the Presumpscot as a scenic backdrop while they read the morning paper in the car, a farmers' market in Riverbank Park could actually recruit a new crowd to the space at a time when it is otherwise lightly occupied.

The convoy of minivans pulling in around 10a would definitely make the park a bit more snug (which come to think of it, is a good thing), but the farmers' market would again fill the gap created by the vacancies caused by domestic duties (read: lunch, nap, mental health break, etc.) at 12p or so, just in time for those noontime strollers walking along the Riverwalk.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Instead of detracting from the civic life that Riverbank Park uniquely cultivates in Westbrook, a farmers' market could actually enrich that culture. Let's just hope the City is creative and wise enough to allow that to happen.

- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, July 1, 2010

City Places Three Firefighters on Leave for 'Legal Tangles'

Three Westbrook firefighters have been placed on administrative leave for
getting into legal trouble outside of work, Mayor Colleen Hilton said Wednesday
evening. "They are on administrative leave, but it's not work related," Hilton
said. She said three have been put on leave because they got themselves into
"some legal tangles." Hilton said that because the matter is a personnel issue,
she could not provide more details or identify the firefighters, who she said
Fire Chief Michael Pardue placed on leave last week.
The Press Herald's account of the suspensions is here.

- John C.L. Morgan

Bustlin' Bill on Westbrook Tuxedos

His appearance on Good Day Maine is here.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Cops and Robbers--And Pharmacists, Too (June 25, 2010)