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Westbrook to unveil downtown development network, coordinator on Monday

At a meeting in Room 114 at Westbrook High School 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 3, the Westbrook City Council is scheduled to introduce the new coordinator of the Westbrook Downtown Coalition and announce the city's introduction as a Downtown Network Community through a statewide development foundation.

The Maine Development Foundation's Downtown Center program serves as the state coordinator for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street program, the foundation reports. According to the foundation, "The Maine Downtown Network (MDN) was launched in 2009 as a sister-program to Main Street Maine using the same Four Points but at a lighter, less rigorous pace. The MDN is ideal for communities in the early stages of downtown revitalization as well as for those communities working toward achieving 'Main Street' designation. MDN communities are not authorized to use the Main Street trademarked name, nor are they required to have paid staff."

According to Assistant City Administrator William Baker, Monday's meeting will serve to introduce the city council in Westbrook to Abigail Cioffi, former Heart of Biddeford Design Committee co-chair and board member, and now the coordinator chosen by the Westbrook Downtown Coalition Executive Board to head up the downtown revitalization effort. The meeting also will allow Mayor Colleen Hilton to announce that the Maine Downtown Center has selected Westbrook as a Downtown Network Community, Baker reported.

According to a letter from Lorain Francis Sr., Maine Downtown Center program manager, the group's outreach committee reviewed Westbrook's application and conducted a site visit. The Westbrook Downtown Coalition was accepted, with commitment to operational recommendations, effective Oct. 1.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 00:14

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From Bath to Belfast, endangered sites top 2014 list

The Maine's Most Endangered Historic Places List — launched in 1996 for the purpose of identifying and raising public awareness of significant endangered and threatened historic places — this year includes a host of familiar locales.10-31-14-preservation-bidd-clock
"Maine's Most Endangered Historic Places List for 2014 show the wide range of historic places in our state that are facing a variety of threats," said Greg Paxton, executive director of Maine Preservation.
New to the list in 2014 are downtown Gardiner, "settled by a Boston doctor in 1754 and incorporated as a town in 1803"; Bath's Sewall Mansion, a 17-room house built in 1844 and given a Colonial-revival style renovation by John Calvin Stevens in 1894; the Abijah Buck House, "built in 1791 by the founder of Buckfield" and "one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in rural Maine"; Anson Town Office, built in 1918 but faced with possible replacement by a $300,000-400,000 new structure; the Clocks of Biddeford, including the Lincoln Mill Clock Tower which was moved just before being demolished by the city, and the Biddeford City Hall Clock Tower, built in 1894 with the city hall and designed by John Calvin Stevens; Skowhegan Drive-In Theater, one of only five still operating in Maine; and the Belfast Opera House, "part of the Hayford Block, a ca. 1866-1868 granite and brick commercial building located in downtown Belfast."
Since 1996, 44 sites on the lists have been saved, 25 are "in motion," 20 are threatened and 15 have been demolished, reported Maine Preservation, a statewide, nonprofit, membership organization.

For more information, visit http://www.mainepreservation.org.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 02:27

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Odor on waterfront traced to marine terminal excavations

Portland Fire Department dispatchers received a flurry of calls due to reports of a strong odor of natural gas in the area of West Commercial Street in Portland Tuesday, but officials said the odor was linked to excavation work for the new International Marine Terminal.
Unitil, the natural gas provider in the Portland area, reported that they investigated the odor, but found no leaks in their system, the fire department reported. Unitil inspectors in the area noted that the odor was strong, but no readings of natural gas had been detected.
Shaw Brothers of Gorham, performing excavation work to make way for the new International Marine Terminal on the Portland waterfront, appeared to be the source. The work involved unearthing a large quantity of contaminated soil which created the pungent gas-like scent, a fire department press release explained.
Fire crews were called to the area early Tuesday morning and investigated.
"While the smell is strong and widespread due to the current weather conditions, there is no cause for alarm or concern," said Portland Fire Department spokesperson Tim Nangle. "We've been in contact with both Unitil and Shaw Brothers and understand the situation and are comfortable that it is being handled in the safest possible manner at this time."
In August, project bids were received at Maine Department of Transportation headquarters in Augusta for the contract to expand the International Marine Terminal on Commercial Street in Portland, the agency reported. The apparent low bidder was Shaw Brothers Construction, with a low bid of $8.6 million, Maine DOT reported. When combined with engineering, property acquisition and other costs, the total project cost stands at approximately $18 million.
The scope of the project is to expand the terminal westward to create a container storage area and bring new rail line into the expanded facility. Work will also include the installation of approximately 5,000 feet of railroad track from Cassidy Point Drive into the expanded facility, as well as site improvements that will include grading, drainage, lighting, security features and electrical provisions for refrigerator containers.

Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 00:49

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SailMaine attracts 'ghosts, goblins' at Casco Bay regatta

Sam Weiser of Peaks Island and Samantha Pynchon of North Yarmouth flexed their muscles as the Incredibles during the SailMaine Ghosts and Goblins Regatta on Saturday in Casco Bay. 10-28-14-sailmaine-1

The sailing event offered high school students a chance to dress the part, a week before Halloween.

Teo Scott and Griffin Primeau of Yarmouth hauled in their sailboat with a host of other young sailing enthusiasts. Nico Blanchard, a Scarborough High School student, said he dressed as a "bloody guy"; his colleague, Curran Clere of Portland High, helped haul in their sailboat.10-28-14-sailmaine-2

Over 100 sailors from eight high school sailing teams were scheduled to compete, SailMaine reported.

On Thursday, Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m., SailMaine hosts its end-of-season party to benefit the SailMaine Scholarship Fund, the goal of which is "making Casco Bay accessible to the next generation of sailors." The event is at SailMaine Warehouse, 235 Presumpscot St., Portland.10-28-14-sailmaine-3

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 00:27

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Master Gardening class offered in Falmouth in January

University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County is offering a Master Gardener Training Course to begin Jan. 30, 2015 in Falmouth. The 2015 training program will focus on fruits and vegetables and take place on 16 consecutive Friday afternoons.
A Master Gardener is a trained volunteer of UMaine Extension. Master Gardeners receive approximately 50 hours of practical training in basic horticulture and completes a minimum of 40 hours-approved volunteer work on various community-based projects around the county.
Participants must be residents of Cumberland County and are selected through an application process. Application packets are available by calling the Cumberland County Extension office at 781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine). The application packet is also available online at: http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/mg_app_cumb/.
The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, Dec. 26.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 22:35

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