Stockton Springs Report
The Planning Board will convene Jan. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall. The rest of our committees are still on winter break.
The Select Board will meet Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. I don't have the agenda, but I imagine they will be discussing the excellent response of our EMS service and town citizens in the wake of the fire in the home of lifelong resident Marsha Ellis. In the face of misfortune, true fortune can be found.
Allow me to remind everyone about the upcoming senior luncheons starting Jan. 9. The Community Room of Town Hall will be open at 11:30 a.m. to give folks an excuse to get out of the house during the winter months. Gay Dion from The Good Kettle will serve a hot lunch at noon, and people can visit with friends and neighbors in the afternoon. Bring a deck of cards, a board game, your knitting or craft project or a good story to share with friends. Town Hall is open and the heat will be on. For more information or to RSVP, call Town Hall at 567-3404. Lunches are planned for Jan. 9 and 23, Feb. 13 and 27, March 13 and 27, and April 10. Suggested donation is $7. Please RSVP so there is enough food!
The Good Kettle
When Gay Dion told me that she was closing for the winter and will reopen in March, I asked the usual question; are you heading to Florida. She answered with a raspberry. Gay is not a snowbird and will be holing up here. We know she will be catering the senior luncheons, and I imagine will be shining her point of light in town until the spring thaw. If you see her about, please offer the town's thanks for all she does to promote and serve Stockton.
Stockton Springs Community Library
Unless one frequents the library, it is sometimes hard to remember when it is open. It is a volunteer library and staffing the desk is a little harder than one would think. Thank you, Pat Curley and Robbie Pendleton, for seeing to it that someone is there when the doors are open. The library hours are as follows: Mondays from 3-5 p.m., Tuesdays from 4-7 p.m., Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 6:30-8 p.m. The library is closed on Fridays. On Saturdays, volunteers are there to assist you from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. On Sunday, the library is closed.
Although the library has something for every reading age and interest on the shelves, there is also the Inter-library loan program, through which one can obtain books from many other libraries in the state. I recently received a book from the Folger Library at the University of Maine. The book went from the university to the Bangor Library and was sent to the SSCL. Not only is it impossible for me to purchase this particular book, but without the SSCL, I would not have been able to read it. Thanks to all the volunteers at the library and elsewhere in our town.
Partners in Education
The Stockton Springs Elementary School PIE group had a very successful year. Under the leadership of Group President Ross Cantrell, Co-vice-presidents Brandie Ward and Courtney Harvey and Treasurer Joanne Cantrell, the annual Harvest Parade and Christmas Bazaar went off without a hitch.
The group is currently working on the school yearbook, which is due out by the end of the school year. The yearbook will be produced and published by the Partners in Education. Although only the second and third grade will be represented, as all others are being shipped to another town for their primary education, it is still a grand effort.
I spoke with Ross on the phone, and he advised me that PIE's main focus is supporting the teachers. He is still looking for volunteers, and you may reach him at 567-4228. I wanted to talk further with him about the group, but I overheard someone say, “Daddy, I'm done.” And then, after hearing Daddy being paged four more times, I decided that he was needed elsewhere and let him go. Thank you, Ross, for volunteering in town when you are so obviously needed at home.
Year in review
I had to get away from the “From the Columnist” topic. I found it a bit pompous. Who wants to hear from me? So this week I would like to offer a columnist's year in review.
When Sharon Catus was elected to the school board, she asked me to take over the column. She didn't wish to “appear to have a conflict of interest.” Knowing Sharon, I realize how laughable it is to assume that she would do anything wrong. Outside of knowing the current columnist, her record is squeaky clean. But I took the assignment because I love to write. Give me an excuse to turn a phrase and I am on it.
Since that time, I have discovered that I follow in a long line of distinguished town columnists. Faustina Hichborn, descendant of town founder Robert Hichborn, wrote for the Republican Journal. Historian and great-aunt of Mac Smith, Alice Ellis, wrote our column, as did town historian Marion Fisher, also of the Stockton Spring Historical Society. Dawn Furbush followed Ms Fisher and Sharon took over when Dawn took sick. Now you have me. I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but I'm the only fellow in the crowd. I'll try not to embarrass us, guys.
I have submitted 27 Stockton Springs Reports to the editor of the state's oldest weekly newspaper. In that time, we have honored 25 of our local citizens. We have watched the construction of our new bridge and waited with bated breath to see if it would be completed before the Harvest Parade. It was, and this year Town Manger Rich Couch opened the Town Office to greet the students, breaking the ground for a new tradition.
We have bragged on and supported our many local businesses. We have praised the beautiful wonder of the town that rests on the great Penobscot Bay. We have remembered those who took ill. We have held one another through the ugliness of the national election. And we held fast against the evil that exited our new bridge during that time. We held one another up during the national tragedy involving school children and had to be reminded of the time another cowardly fool came to town. I was angry about that until last week, when we all held up Marsha and her family, when they lost their home to fire. Fools can't touch that.
Knowing the town of Stockton was once on the lips of every mariner and businessman from the St. John's River to Singapore, I use to be of the opinion that should Robert Hichborn leave his resting place and walk about town, he might be disappointed to see the once-booming shipyards gone. He might be sad to see that we have become a bedroom community to a fading paper mill. During the storm of Dec. 27, I took a walk up East Cape Road and saw his faded marker. I got to thinking about the past year and the things that I have witnessed in this town. I also considered the fact that, as of 2012, the town has a population of 1,591 people. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 7.07 percent. The evidence that we are growing and the knowledge that we are growing closer with each passing week made me realize that I was wrong. I truly believe that should Captain Hichborn, Joshua Treat or Benjamin Shute come alive and see what has become of us, then they would be pretty proud of the beautiful town of Stockton Springs.