Stockton Springs Report
The Select Board will convene their second August meeting at 6 p.m. August 15 at the town office. This meeting will feature RSU 20 Superintendent Brian Carpenter. Carpenter had been visiting the towns under the umbrella of RSU 20 to reach out for answers in our budget dilemma. Residents are strongly encouraged to come out and get involved in the process. Along with the right that we have to send representatives to the school board, the state law includes a public forum, requiring voter participation as part of the budget making process. Each town renewed their faith in the Budget Validation Referendum Process on June 11. If we hold any expectation that it will succeed, then we hold a responsibility to live up to our end of the it.
Town Manager Rich Couch is pleased to announce that Stockton Springs resident Malcolm "Mac" Smith has joined the Town staff in the Recording Secretary position. "With the loss of Dawn Furbush a few months ago, we quickly learned exactly how important the Recording Secretary is to Town government," Couch stated.
"After advertising the position in local papers, at area college career centers and with the Maine Department of Labor, we found a home grown candidate,” Couch said. Mr. Smith is a Navy veteran and a graduate of the journalism program at the University of Maine. Smith also works as a medical transcriber for an area health care group and at a local school in the after school program as well as being active with the Sandy Point Community Club. "I'm glad that someone with Mac's background and experience would make time for his community and be willing to serve the Town in this capacity,” Couch stated.
After being offered the job, Mac Smith wasted no time in getting started, he was at Town Hall with his recorder in hand for a three hour Board of Assessment Review Hearing within hours. Smith will be responsible for minutes for the Select Board, the Harbor Committee, the Planning Board, the Shellfish Committee, the Board of Assessment Review and the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Recording Secretary reports directly to the Town Manager. Couch expressed appreciation to Ruth Lind, Bruce Suppes, Wayne Kraeger, and Bill Cosmano who volunteered to serve on the interview team.
In a recent town email, Couch advised those on the town email list of a problem with our cable access station. To be added to the town email list, email Couch at email@example.com. The last count that I received indicated that around 60 out of approximately 1500 residents are on the list. So, I shall share this bit of information here.
“We have been contacted recently at Town Hall by a few residents who are missing the Cable Bulletin Board on channel 7. I have looked at the Power Point presentation and reset the broadcast box (the black box) which is at Town Hall. We are broadcasting and thanks to Sam Fuller, we are kept up to date with events. However, Time Warner Cable has switched to digital in our area. Time Warner has offered me a few steps that might help you. If your TV has QAM, you can re-program the channels and you should find the Town's Cable Bulletin Board at a higher number (120 or 122 I think). I do not know what QAM is, but I understand that if you can re-set the programmed channels on your TV and you get the Cable Bulletin Board on a higher channel your TV has QAM – congratulations! If you re-program your channels and your TV does not have QAM, you will need a digital converter box. Time Warner is giving them away for FREE. For details you should contact Time Warner at the number provided on your cable bill or 1-877-995-9182. I know this is confusing and many of you are not pleased with this. You are not alone! I'm not thrilled with this either. The television sets in Town Hall do not have QAM. I have asked Time Warner Cable for a digital converter so we can monitor the Cable Bulletin Board at Town Hall. However, we do not have the digital converter yet. Until we can correct this issue at Town Hall, please feel free to e-mail when the Cable Bulletin Board is stuck on one slide or not working
properly. I understand that the Sandy Point Cribbage Slide was on 24/7 for a period of time. I hope this helps you. I understand a good number of residents look to the Cable Bulletin Board for Town events and news.”
I have faith that Rich will get the problem resolved. He has a way of getting things accomplished.
Select Person Lesley Cosmano is seeking helping in collecting school supplies for the students at Searsport Elementary School. In past years, Cosmano spearheaded a successful effort to collect donated supplies at the Stockton Springs Elementary School. A picture of the mountain of supplies sitting on a table to greet the students on their first day of school was featured in this column in a issue of last year's TRJ.
Cosmano emailed me stating, “I need your help. It’s that time of year when School Bells are only a ‘ding’ away, and I’m ready to promote my School Supplies Drive. This will be my 4th year! The people of Stockton have been extremely generous in the past, and I’m hoping they will help again to put smiles on the kids’ faces and supplies in their hands. I met with Linda Bowe, Searsport Elem Principal, and she is very excited about having supplies available to all her students. I will be collecting supplies from now until Thursday, Aug. 29th. They should be brought to the Town Office where I will organize and then deliver them to SES. Please ask people to put their name on their donation so I can personally thank them.”
Here’s what is needed: Spiral notebooks – wide rule, Fiskar Scissors (blunt & pointed), glue Sticks & Bottles, colored construction paper, Math & Phonics flash cards, washable markers, plastic rulers, # 2 pencil, two pocket folders, pencil cases, back packs in various sizes, and cash donations for the purchase of Tennis Shoes, winter coat, socks, etc for kids in need, for a larger classroom-size purchase.
In next week's column, I will provide details for the upcoming Ride for Supplies being offered in town. You may read about it now by searching Facebook for the Stockton Springs/Searsport Ride for Supplies event.
Cosmano would also like to remind residents that we are still collecting non-perishable food donations for the Searsport Food Pantry. The collection box is under the table on the right just as you go into the town office. Thank you for helping to support our students and your neighbors.
The TIE 5K has been scheduled for September 22 at Sears Island. Anyone interested in helping with the race, or businesses who would like to sponsor the event, please contact Rachel at 322-5745.
The TIE Auction group is working on gathering items for the Live and Silent Auction scheduled for November 23. Anyone with interest in helping with the event or donating items to the auction, please contact Shannon or Rachel.
The TIE Car Wash was a big success, bringing $470 for the group. They report having “a fantastic time at the car wash yesterday. Sold some t-shirts and bracelets and washed several cars and one motorcycle. The kids were amazing. Each and every one of them had a great positive attitude. Not one was slacking off and I cannot say it often enough, we have the best kids around! What a privilege it is to be part of this community. Searsport Motor Company let us use their location, supplies and matched the funds we raised. What a generous gesture on their part supporting our great schools and our kids.”
They wish to like to extend a special thank you to Mr. Knowles, who worked all day alongside the kids washing the cars and kept everyone focused on the job. They also wish to acknowledge some who went above and beyond to display their Viking spirit; Kaylee Knowles, Hannah Nadeau, Riley Colby, Liam MacMillan, Lauren Burkard, Ivy Blake, Evee Blake, Daniel McKennon, Brookelyn Knowles, Ava Knowles, Julian Cross and Olivia Ellis. I bought a shirt that reads, “Fear the Vikings.” It was a good day.
If you missed the Danny Harrison talk at the Stockton Springs Community library on August 4, then you can get another chance by viewing the video of the event provided by Ryan King. Danny's talk on Stockton in 1907 was recorded by King and uploaded to Youtube. I won't attempt to paste the link, but you find it by searching for Ryan King. He has a number of quality local videos; one showing the departure of the SS State of Maine in Castine.
Harrison, former chairperson of the Stockton Springs Historical Society is as knowledgeable about the town's history as any person alive. Documenting his knowledge on video tape was a stroke of genius and lendss a clue as to why the Maine Maritime Academy is so successful. King is their finance officer.
The Stockton Springs Community Church will be offering their free senior luncheon at noon on August 15 at the church.
The Stockton Springs Community Club will be offering an Open Mic Night and Ice Cream Social beginning at 6 p.m. August 20 at the club at 648 Route One in Stockton Springs. The cost of the Ice Cream Social is $4.00. Ice cream will be served in the first floor meeting room. Those coming only for the Open Mic are welcomed to wander upstairs and tune up. The Open Mic Nights have proven to be a success for the club. A doll house style bank built to resemble the club is used to collect donations. Local musicians from town, and from across the river, gather to entertain us with their talents. Satisfied attendees and performers have rewarded our efforts by leaving donations in the box. The SPCC would like to thank all who have helped to make all of our community outreach events a success.
All are welcomed to return on August 21 for Cribbage Night and August 28 for Family Game Night. All SPCC events begin at 6:30, unless otherwise noted.
I was recently voted in as a trustee at the club and on my first official meeting, I got into a little trouble. Trustee and member of the Stockton Springs Historical Society Faith Campbell sat across the table from me.
I had earlier heard from town Point of Light Pat Curley that our Cemetery Committee was inspecting all the cemeteries in town. I fashion myself to be amateur historian and spend a lot of time reading and wondering about the stones, markers and memorials in our town's final resting places. Since I was up there anyway, I offered to weed whack one of them. I reside on Cape Jellison and regional pride forced me to choose Mount Recluse, as it lays on the cape and town founder Robert Hichborn is buried beneath that “great green tent with no flap,” a quote I got off of another marker in one of our cemeteries.
Prior to the club meeting, I decided to go to Mount Prospect and check out the competition. It's pretty stiff. This is not going to be an easy win. Now let me point out that there is no real competition. I am retired and have a lot of time on my hands.
While up there, I went to visit the grave of the author of A Historic Sketch of Stockton Springs, and former TRJ reporter, Faustina Hichborn. In the summer, I found the moss-covered tombstone that bears only her name. “Faustina” lays arched in the upper part of the stone. Her family name is cut across the middle. I had to clean the moss off of it when I found her to ensure that it was her. No dates or remembrances were cut into the stone that resembles the millions of Styrofoam decorations that adorn the shelf of the Rite Aid during the Halloween shopping season.
It is not unusual for our town's stones to be unremarkable. Our ancestors were traditionally very sober people. Founder Hichborn's first stone is plain slate, denoting not his involvement in the Boston Tea Party, nor his involvement in the settlement of the Penobscot River basin towns. It tells of his family commitments and speaks of his devotion to God. It claims that he faced death with the understanding that it was simpy the completion of the will of God.
Laying next to mother Caroline and father Nathan, whose monuments are quite stately and much taller, I assumed Faustina to be a modest, unassuming woman and left it at that. Not knowing who lay next to her got the best of me and before the club meeting, I took my Old Henry and cleaned the stone of the person lying next to Faustina beneath an identical, yet smaller tombstone. I had expected it to be a lesser know sibling and was surprised to learn that it was a man named Ellery Channing. Immediately, I conjured up images of a lost love, clandestine meetings down by Cape Docks and the quiet acceptance of a man who never married the woman.
When I presented my scenario to Faith, Danny Harrison not being available, she offered a more subtle theory. She stated that back then, extended families were common. This is true. War, disease and hard winters shuffled a lot of younger people from one family to another. I was about to concur with her when Chairperson Bob Bradford slammed the gavel down on me and called us back to order. I am glad they didn't give him a cattle prod. Faith smiled at me and leaned forward. Then, she said something to me that I have not been able to forget, “Jeff,” she whispered. “These were ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” I believe that sentence just about sums up the beautiful town of Stockton Springs.