Stockton Springs Report
Happy birthday, Stockton Springs. We will celebrate 156 years of our existence as a Maine municipality at the Mar. 13 lunch at Town Hall. Gay Dion and her staff from the Good Kettle with have a great hot lunch as usual. To celebrate, there will be some special surprises! Stockton, Me., was incorporated on Mar. 13, 1857. The town's name was changed to Stockton Springs in 1889.
Community lunches are going strong! The community room of Town Hall opens 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 Feb. 27, Mar. 13, Mar. 27, and April 10. Suggested donation is $7. Please RSVP so there is enough food.
Recycling should be set out on Thursday, Feb. 28. A list of items that can be set out for single-stream recycling is available at the town website www.stocktonsprings.org. It can be found near the bottom of the home page. If you need containers, you may purchase them at the Town Office; they are priced as follows: compost bins-$40, rain barrels-$65 (only three left), kitchen compost buckets-$8, recycling bins-$5.
The application process for harbormaster has closed. I don't know how many applied, but Town Manager Rich Couch advises that he has some “great candidates.” I wish to offer a personal thanks to all who applied and announce my support of whoever is chosen. Whoever it may be, they know more about mastering a harbor than I know.
Stockton Springs Library news
The library's story hour is scheduled for 10 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 2, at the library. Library volunteers are excited to combine their weekly attempts to entice and delight the children of our town with the celebration of Theodor Seuss Geisel, American writer, poet and cartoonist. More commonly known as Dr. Seuss, this amazing man also wrote "The Rosetta Stone" under the name of Theo LeSieg. Join the library staff as they educate, celebrate and entertain.
This week the town laments the loss of Sammie French, who left us this week to join her sister, Virginia. In her passing, she left behind 20 spayed and neutered cats. At the time of this writing, the shelter could not accept such a load. If you know someone who would like to have a pet that came from a home as good as a cat could come from, call the Town Hall at 567-3404.
We are all praying for the recovery of Bruce Snowman, who was admitted to CCU in Bangor on Feb. 21 and we offer our neighborly aid to the entire Shute family.
I was delighted to receive an email from former resident Erma Thompson. Erma grew up on Church Street and her folks owned Rowe's Pigeon Farm. She tells me that as she gets older, she misses Stockton and enjoys seeing the pictures and hearing about her old friends on Village Soup, the online edition of The Republican Journal. Erma used to love to ride her horse around the cape and remembers the times when “kids could disappear all day, pretty much without our parents worrying, as long as they had an idea where we were if they needed us.” Erma emailed that she wrote to Georgianna Jones after reading about her in our column. She wrote that “She was our next door neighbor and the best cook that Stockton Springs school (on School Street) ever had. She answered my note and I even heard from her daughter Sharon.” Oddly enough, Laverne was meeting with her friends Madeline Keniston, Nancy Munroe, Janis Tague and Sharon Gilmore Lamb at Anglers when Erma's sister, Alana Rowe, came in. Congratulations to the Republican Journal for your continued efforts to keep the relationships of distant family and friends intact.
Jessica Howard benefitsA public supper will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, Mar. 22, at the Searsport Methodist Chruch to benefit Jessica Howard, who is courageously battling a brain tumor. The Searsport Lions Club and Bay Area Lions Club will be offering turkey with traditional fixings and delectable desserts. Adults are asked to pay $8 and children under 12 can support Ms. Howard's efforts for $4.The BAHS vs. SDHS Alumni Basketball Game will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 23, at Belfast Area High School. Tickets for adults are $5 and students are $3. I am advised that voulunteers are needed to bake some delectable desserts for the supper, as well as baked goods to sell at the concessions stand at the basketball game.Registration for the Atlantic Ocean Deep Freeze Polar Plunge is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, Mar. 23. The plunge begins at 9 a.m. There is no admission fee for this event. Plungers will raise funds for Jessica. Contact Morgan Elkins at email@example.com for your plunge packet!
On the same day, the 220's will be at Bowen's Tavern, 181 Waterville Rd., Belfast, beginning at 7 p.m. Please email Morgan Elkins at the email listed above to confirm the time. This is an adults-only event and the cover charge is $5.An auction to assist Jessica is in the making. You can follow the progress of these events via Facebook at www.facebook.com/marchmadness2012.Thank you, Jess Connor, and all of Jessica's family and friends for providing this information and for all you are doing for Jessica.Stockton Springs Elementary School
Going through some of the articles I have submitted in the past year, it struck upon me that David Ingram, who penned the story of Norumbega while freebooting with Sir John Hawkins, was slightly off on the location of the famed city. From the picture I paint of this town, Norumbega was not at falls in Bangor, but at the mouth of the Penobscot River. However, I am not the first Stockton columnist to offer that opinion.
Former columnist and town historians Faustina Hichborn and Alice Ellis both wrote romantic histories of Stockton. Neither focused on the fact that America's greatest naval defeat until Pearl Harbor happened off the coast of Sandy Point. I don't blame them. I don't wish to discuss it, either. If I did, it would be to point out that men like Benjamin Shute, Joshua Treat and later, Robert Hichborn arose from that defeat and subsequent British rule to build a town that has stood for 156 years. Further, they settled a town whose guardianship was guided by three selectmen elected by the town, shunning the control of Colonial aristocracy, as was the case under British rule. Although the complexity of the state and federal guidelines that control all that we do has required us to hire a town manager, we are still guided by three elected selectpersons. That is quite a feat.
In that span of time, we have experienced our highs and lows. We have suffered great loss and on several occasions had to go back to square one and try again. We are heading back to square one at his time in our history and have not yet decided what path to take, as we don't yet know the extent of the troubles we are facing.
Maine's constitutional requirement for a balanced state budget is presenting a problem to us. And on Feb. 19, the finance committee of RSU 20 voted to close the Stockton Springs Elementary School and install a Pre-Kindergarten program in the building. It was one of five options the union proposed, and it was not the option the town voted for in an earlier meeting. By the time this article comes out in print, the school board will have made their decision.
I cannot express the extent of my personal sadness to see the last of Stockton Springs' school children leave town to receive their education. However, the town is not run by my personal feelings and I must accept the will of the majority. This will be the third time in 156 years that we have closed our schools. Each time we have arisen and rebuilt them. I have faith that we shall rise again and someday our town will be able to educate its children without succumbing to the will of those who are not affected by our loss. I say this because I have faith in the beautiful town of Stockton Springs.