Stockton Springs Report
The Library Committee meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the Stockton Springs Community Library.
The Harbor Committee meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 at the town office.
Single-stream curbside recycling pickup is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 10. For a list of allowable items, see the town website at www.stocktonsprings.org.
With winter approaching the attention of the town office and town volunteers has turned to our “Keep the Heat On” program. Town manger Rich Couch recently emailed the following message regarding the program. “I received a distressing phone call today from someone who I trust and respect. They were concerned because they heard that the Heat Fund was not being supported by the Town in the same way that it once was. I need to tell you - that is just not true.
“A number of years ago, a group of concerned citizens came together to raise funds to create a Heat Fund which was designed to help fellow residents in need purchase fuel. I’m told that they raised over $15,000! The Town was then asked to administer the funds and has done so since the beginning.
“I’ve met with a number of people in need. Because the Heat Fund was designed as a program of last resort and consists of donations, I do work with folks to make sure that they are getting the assistance that they deserve through other social service programs first. I make sure they know about LI-HEAP, I do check to see if they qualify for General Assistance (I’m also the GA Administrator). When all other programs fail (and they often do) we then have the Heat Fund to fall back on. During the 2012/2013 winter, we spent $2,301.72 - that is over 575 gallons of fuel oil! The Select Board and I have not turned down anyone who has asked – it was determined that they had a legitimate need. I feel strongly that we are fair and very careful with this fund. As of today, the balance of the fund is $4,197.01.
“A group has come forward and offered to help raise money for the Heat Fund. They are community members baking pies and making chowder and they have asked me to invite you to come. They are serving chowder Friday October 4th starting at 4:30 PM at the Stockton Springs Community Church. I hope you will join your neighbors. The fund raising goal is $1,000 and the chowder has a reputation all its own! If you can’t attend, I hope you will donate to the Heat Fund.
“Misinformation is not helpful at best and hurtful at worst. There are well respected neighbors and community members working so this program can continue – I do not want misinformation that is floating around Town to tarnish their efforts in any way.
“Honestly, with $4,197.01 in the account, we might be able to make it through another winter. I do not know. I will administer the fund to the best of my ability whether it has $15,000 or just one penny! The Heat Fund has been a wonderful community based resource that has given the Town the opportunity to help those in need when other programs have failed them. Whether we keep this resource is up to donors like you.
“Willing donors have many worthy charities to choose from - we were invited to enjoy delicious soup to benefit the local food pantry last week! Donor dollars are hard earned and must be used appropriately.
“Every penny raised will go to the Town Heat Fund and the Town will continue help anyone who has a legitimate need and asks for help as long as the fund exists. Please know that.”
I don't know who is spreading this misinformation that is getting Rich upset. But whoever it is, stop it. Lead, follow or get out of the way.
The Stockton Springs Community Church is rightfully proud to announce that the spire of the steeple will go up on Oct. 18. Volunteer Pete Hardester sent an email to the town to thank contributors who financed the replacement of the old steeple and repair to the aging roof without “government help” or “outside grants.” He wrote in his email, “To the six Steeple People who have humbly given of yourselves physically and financially more than any of us will ever know, thank you. Your reward is now before us for all to see. This community is in awe of your beautiful accomplishment. It is now truly your legacy in this beautiful Town of Stockton Springs.” I couldn't said it better myself. It is my understanding that funds raised over and above the amount to pay for the Steeple will go into a separate account specifically for future Steeple maintenance.
The Sandy Point Community Club invites all to the Bucksport Performing Arts Center, located at the Bucksport Middle School, on Oct. 11 for night of music and fellowship. The night will feature a performance by the Juke Rockets Blues Band. Winner of the Maine's Best Blues Band contest, the Juke Rockets represented the state of Maine at the International Blues Competition this year and will return again in 2014. Tickets for this “high octane blues” event are $15 and may be purchased at the Main Street Market in Stockton Springs, Bookstacks in Bucksport or by contacting Veronica Magnan at 567-6097. Tickets for music fans under age ten and over age 60 are $10. Tickets may be purchased at the gate, which will open at 6 p.m. The drawing for the raffle sponsored by the club will be held at that time. The show begins at 7 p.m. We hope to see you there.
One of the benefits of writing the town column is that it provides one with an opportunity to get to know the people who oil the gears of our town to keep us moving along smoothly. Being a small town, the largest section of those people receive no monetary payment for their efforts. However, they are paid well for their service. Our time on this earth is fleeting, but the mark we leave here remains long after we are gone. Last week, I was up at Mount Recluse Cemetery and stopped at the grave of town founder, Robert Hichborn. At one time, he owned all of Cape Jellison. He was at the Boston Tea Party, was a shipbuilder and founded a town. Yet, his grave stone doesn't remind us of that. It reads simply, “Having devoted his life to the service of his family, his friends and his country, he resigned it calmly to his Creator.” It stuck upon me then how Hichborn's devotion is present today in the our current residents of the beautiful town of Stockton Springs.