Friday, December 31, 2010

Jeffrey Wood One of Region's 'Unsung Heroes'

Those in Westbrook who have never met Jeffrey Wood might know him as the dog
walker. After all, Wood makes a five-and-a-half-mile trek with his dog every
day. But he would prefer if his fellow community members knew him on a
first-name basis. And he is doing everything he can to make it so. Wood is the
founder of the eHope Foundation, a nonprofit that facilitates care-giving
communities to provide support for sufferers of life-threatening illness and
their families.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Westbrook Man Takes Part in Historic Kidney Donor Swap (June 15, 2010)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mike Sanphy to Become New City Councilor

After 40 years of working for the city of Westbrook, former police Sgt. Mike
Sanphy thought his days of service were over when he retired in 2008. Now, the
longtime Westbrook resident, police officer and historian is bringing his vast
knowledge and experience to the City Council. The city’s Democrats have
nominated Sanphy to fill the City Council seat Suzanne Joyce vacated in
- John C.L. Morgan

Toronto Paper Sings Praises for 'Hardscrabble Sisters'

Globe and Mail:
Many of Jensen's strengths are evident in Gone, the stunning opener to The
Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay
, a novel in stories. Thanks to [author
Beverly Jensen's] background in theatre, the dialogue--raw, witty--sings
rather than reads.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Another Sparkling Review for 'Hardscrabble Sisters' (August 2, 2010)

METRO to Change Westbrook Bus Routes

The Forecaster:
METRO will change its schedules and bus routes starting Jan. 10 so it can begin
a daily service to businesses in the Five Star Industrial Park in
Westbrook. Some service along Washington Avenue to West Falmouth will also
be eliminated. Marketing director Denise Beck said in a press release that Route
4 will provide direct service to Idexx and surrounding businesses on Eisenhower
Driver in Westbrook 10 times a day.
- John C.L. Morgan

Monday, December 27, 2010

Westbrook Politics: December 27- December 31, 2010

There are no events scheduled for this week.

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Almanac: December 19- December 25, 2010

High: 37F (December 23)
Low: 10F (December 25)
Precipitation: 0.66 inches
Snowfall: 0.70 inches
Previous Sunrise: 7:13a
Previous Sunset: 4:09p

High: 54F (December 13)
Low: 10F (December 10, December 25)
Precipitation: 3.83 inches
Snowfall: 1.00 inch

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: -1F (January 10)
Precipitation: 52.32 inches
Snowfall: 26.2 inches

National Weather Service

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, December 24, 2010

Portland Legislator: Commuter Rail Connecting Portland to Exurbs Should Happen

Portland Daily Sun:
Want to jump on a train in the summer in Portland and ride out to Sebago Lake
for a weekend camping excursion? Or how about skipping the traffic on Route 302
and commuting by rail from a suburb to your job in the Port City? These
scenarios and others make newly elected Rep. Ben Chipman (I-Portland) think
there's more to rail than Portland-to-Boston junkets on Amtrak.
Such a plan would naturally include Westbrook.

- John C.L. Morgan

Local Businessman Mourned, Celebrated

"[Tim White] understood the value of, 'you put
back into the community what you get,'" said his brother, Mike White, from his
office at White Brothers on Warren Avenue, the family business that was sold to
Lane Construction earlier this year.
- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Source of Comedic Fodder for Bob Marley

[Comedian Bob Marley] doesn't want to give too much away, but he said
recent Maine news events--like the contentious governor's race and a
controversial new strip club in Westbrook-- gave him lots of fodder for new
material. "A strip club in Westbrook? That's just too good to ignore. I'm all
over that one," said Marley, 43.
- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

D&G Machine: Manufacturers Still Need Skilled Workers

D&G Machine Parts managers said Monday they are
in dire need of skilled workers in Westbrook. The popular misconception that
manufacturing is all going overseas is making it hard for companies like D&G
to build a skilled labor force, Charlie Tarling, vice president of operations
for D&G, said. Tarling said this is the main reason why there is a need to
convince students that skilled manufacturing jobs are still good career choices.
- John C.L. Morgan

Appeal Filed in Pike Ruling

Pike Industries may want to hold off blasting at its Spring Street quarry--two
interveners in the company’s lawsuit with Westbrook filed appeals of a judge’s
decision to accept the settlement between Pike and the city. Artel Inc. and
Smiling Hill Farm, two businesses located near Pike’s Spring Street quarry,
filed their notices of appeal with the Maine Business and Consumer Court this
-John C.L. Morgan


It's good to be a dog, even when you get dragged to the vet. Many veterinarians
today have sophisticated blood-testing equipment. In minutes, pets can be
screened for a host of nasty diseases, like heartworm and Lyme disease. That's
also good for Idexx Laboratories, the Westbrook-based firm that makes testing
equipment found in many veterinarians' offices.
Jonathan Ayers shuffles excitedly through the high-school-like hallways of Idexx
Laboratories, a firm that makes animal disease testing equipment in
Westbrook."Come here, I want to show you this," says Ayers, Idexx president and
CEO. He is dressed in khaki pants, a white collared shirt, an "Idexx" emblazoned
red vest.
- John C.L. Morgan

(Full Disclosure: My works works at IDEXX.)

Westbrook Almanac: December 12- December 18, 2010

High: 54F (December 13)
Low: 13F (December 16, December 18)
Precipitation: 2.16 inches
Snowfall: 0.00 inches
Previous Sunrise: 7:09a
Previous Sunset: 4:06p

High: 54F (December 13)
Low: 10F (December 10)
Precipitation: 3.17 inches
Snowfall: 0.30 inches

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: -1F (January 10)
Precipitation: 51.66 inches
Snowfall: 25.5 inches

Source: National Weather Service

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jason Snyder's Proposal for Civic Center May Still Be Alive

A local developer's vision for a new arena off the Maine Turnpike may still have
some legs after all. The Cumberland County Budget Advisory Committee, by a vote
of 3-2, decided Dec. 8 to recommend spending up to $100,000 from the county's
upcoming capital budget on a feasibility study examining the conversion of the
Cumberland County Civic Center into a convention center. The money would come
out of $200,000 placed in the budget originally as a placeholder to fund studies
of civic center renovations.
- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Westbrook Toddler's Death Sparks Regional Health Warning

The death last week of a 2-year-old Westbrook girl from what appears to be
meningitis prompted a statewide health alert and notices this week to parents of
schoolchildren in the area. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
issued a high-priority alert Friday evening to health care providers and school
officials, citing a "bacterial blood infection in Cumberland County."
- John C.L. Morgan

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Westbrook Historian Garners Postive Book Review

Andrea M.P. Vasquez, who grew up in South Portland and graduated from Bowdoin
and the Stonecoast MFA Program, is a skilled journalist, writer and not a bad
researcher. Furthermore, she has chosen a reasonably good format in "American
Chronicles: A History Press Series," which has more text and less space than
other prefab titles.
-John C.L. Morgan

Related: Another Sparkling Review for 'Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay' (August 2, 2010)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Introducing the Paper City Junto

The Web site for the Paper City Junto, a social club with a civic bent that I (and others) have toyed with organizing for a couple years now, is up and running.

My ever-dwindling capacity for high-minded prose was exhausted by the "About Us" section of the Web site, so I'll have to wait a little bit before I do my best impersonation of a very poor man's Robert Putnam.

In the meantime, I highly recommend you get a group of four of your friends and neighbors together, dream up a ironic team nickname and/or outfit, and sign up for our Candlepin Bowling League.

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Almanac: December 5- December 11, 2010

High: 41F (December 11)

Low: 10F (December 10)
Precipitation: 1.01 inches
Snowfall: 0.30 inches
Previous Sunrise: 7:04a
Previous Sunset: 4:04p

High: 41F (December 11)
Low: 10F (December 10)
Precipitation: 1.01 inches
Snowfall: 0.30 inches

High: 95F (July 6)
Low: -1F (January 10)
Precipitation: 49.50 inches
Snowfall: 25.2 inches

Source: National Weather Service

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, December 10, 2010

Visionaries Wanted, Take Two

The task force reviewing Westbrook’s comprehensive plan wants to hear from you
on Saturday. The Westbrook Comprehensive Plan Task Force is in the midst of
reviewing the city’s comprehensive plan. State law requires this process occur
every 10 years, according to Molly Just, city planner. The task force has
already held numerous public meetings, and Saturday’s "Visioning Day" represents
another opportunity for the public to have a say in the direction of the city
for the next decade.
This event is the culminating experience for the first phase of the Comprehensive Plan Task Force's job, and it is a great opportunity for Westbrook folk to get together to discuss how the direction of the city over the next ten years. It begins at 10a and will include neighborhood-based discussions, topic-based discussions, and (free!) lunch for participants. It'll take place in the Westbrook Middle School cafeteria.

- John C.L. Morgan

(Full disclosure: I'm a member of the task force.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Three Members Added to Charter Panel

The charter commission has all its members after the Westbrook Municipal
Officers announced their picks at their meeting Monday night. The municipal
officers, made up of the city councilors and the mayor, unanimously supported
appointing Michael Mullett, Gary Reardon and James Violette to the charter
- John C.L. Morgan

More Dreamers Drama

The owner of a strip club in Westbrook that is closed because of code violations
apparently has workers putting in late hours to make repairs. At 1 a.m. Sunday,
police were checking commercial buildings along Warren Avenue when they "came
upon activity that appeared to indicate that Dreamers Cabaret was open for
business," the city said in a news release, even though the club's occupancy
permit had been revoked in September. Inside, a few women were serving coffee
while the music system blared, a disco ball spun overhead and lights flashed,
Westbrook police say.

In a separate AJ article, Westbrook Police Chief Bill Baker responded to the criticism expressed by the strip club owner's lawyer, Thomas Hallett:

Baker responded harshly Thursday, saying in an e-mail, "As Police Chief in this
community I am responsible for the safety and well being of our citizens. I find
Mr. Hallett's assertion that the City is being ‘childish,' or that the police
are being ‘overvigilant' rather silly." Later in his press release, Baker seemed
to insinuate that the people at the club in the early morning hours of Dec. 5
had criminal backgrounds. "It's our job to be vigilant in the presence of people
with histories of bank robbery, kidnapping, extortion, narcotics trafficking,
prostitution, aggravated assault, assault and battery with dangerous weapons,
terrorizing, burglary in the night time, assault and battery on police officers,
etc.," he wrote, adding, "This of course is not a direct reflection on Mr.
Hallett's client (Dreamers owner Larry Ferrante) who has no such history."

- John C.L. Morgan

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Al Hawkes Doc to Be Aired by MPBN

The schedule of the television station's showings of the documentary about the Westbrook musician can be seen here.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: The Story Behind the Hawkes Doc (October 18, 2010)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Festival of Trees Celebrates 10th Anniversary

It has been 10 years since 18 decorated trees represented the humble beginnings
of what would grow into a local phenomenon. A decade later, there will be 47
festively adorned evergreens at Westbrook’s 10th annual Festival of Trees. The
event kicks off Saturday at Westbrook-Warren Congregational Church at 810 Main
- John C.L. Morgan

Board of Appeals Rejects Strip Club

The owner of a Westbrook strip club plans to appeal the Westbrook Zoning Board
of Appeals’ denial of an occupancy permit for a Warren Avenue strip club. The
appeals board voted unanimously Wednesday not to allow Dreamers Cabaret to
reopen. The club was shut down in September, the day after it opened, by city
inspectors for building code violations, including inadequate sprinklers and
construction permits. Owner Larry Ferrante appealed the decision and sued
Westbrook and fire inspector Charles Jarrett, claiming the shutdown violated his
right to freedom of expression.
- John C.L. Morgan