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From the Town Office

The second half of property taxes were due on March 16 and unpaid taxes are accruing interest daily.

If you have recently purchased a home and have lived in it for more than one year, you should look into filling out the homestead exemption application. The homestead exemption provides a reduction of up to $20,000 in the value of your home for property tax purposes.

To qualify, you must be a permanent resident of Maine, the home must be your permanent residence, you must have owned a home in Maine for the 12 months prior to applying and an application must be filed on or before April 1 with the municipality where the property is located.

If you are unsure whether or not you have the exemption, or whether or not you qualify, please contact your local town office for clarification.

The Town of Winterport has revamped what once was an inactive Recreation Board. The Recreation Board helps plan and recommend leisure time programs and facilities for the residents of Winterport. The Town Council has appointed April DaSilva, Glen Newey, Scott Basso, Timothy Baude, Chris Elliot, Al Barton and Chris Ruge to all serve on the board.

The Waterfront Access Committee has been formed to discuss the feasibility of acquiring land along the waterfront of Winterport for recreational activities. The committee has met with Susan Lessard, town manager for the town of Bucksport, to discuss Bucksport's successes along its town waterfront.

The committee has also met with Jane LaFleur of the Community Heart and Soul Foundation, where the benefits of community involvement in planning were discussed. A survey was recently put out by the group that concluded that many residents support activities such as trails, docks, and a park.

The committee has asked the Town Council to consider including an article in the next town meeting warrant that would authorize $30,000 to be designated for land acquisition purposes and to also be used for easements and matching funds for planning grants.

Community news

There has been talk around town that RH Foster is planning to renovate its Freshie's On-the-Run convenience store. Part of the renovation plans include removing the indoor booths at the store.

This has been met with great hostility, as a number of people use the booths and tables throughout the day. It's been said to be an important gathering place for people in the downtown village area.

A petition has been started, and as of the beginning of March, over 75 signatures had been collected showing opposition to the plans.

DryDock returns

A very recognizable name to Winterport, "The DryDock Restaurant," has reopened for business. Located in the former home of "The Wooden Spoon," and before that, "The Bacon Tree," the restaurant features a wide assortment of home-cooked meals.

The Drydock will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and breakfast only is served on Sundays.

From the pastor's desk

I cannot begin to tell you how eternally grateful this pastor is for the outpouring of support that our church has received from the community. It all started from a brief snippet about the state of the church steeple here in my column. From there, fellow town columnist and reporter for The Republican Journal, Fran Gonzalez, was gracious enough to come to the church and feature us in a larger article in the newspaper.

As a result of his piece, WABI-TV5 came and featured us in one of its news broadcasts. This publicity has helped us nearly reach our fundraising goal! Answered prayers, for sure. I would like to thank all who have donated and helped support our church. I have greatly enjoyed reading the stories and cards that many of you attached.

On a personal note

We took Opie to the doctor's this past week for his 2-month check-up (2 months already — how is that even possible?) and he's weighing in at a healthy 14.7 pounds. He has recently started smiling in response to peoples actions, loves long car rides, shopping with his mom at Target, and is a real hit with all of the ladies at church.

I have a feeling he's going to be quite the charmer — much like his dad. It's amazing to me how quickly he's growing and how fast time flies. It seems as though it was just yesterday that we were anxiously awaiting his arrival. Now that he has come, our lives are forever changed, for the better, of course.

On a different subject, I'm excited to announce that I have accepted a job offer from the Town of Bucksport for the position of town clerk. By the time this column is sent to print, I will have completed my first day on the job. I'm beyond honored to have been given this opportunity, and am looking forward to sharing the many things that I have learned while at the town of Winterport with the people of Bucksport.

I must thank the residents and municipal officials of the town of Winterport for all of their support over the years. I'm greatly looking forward to this next chapter in my life. My family and I will continue to reside in Winterport, so I'll still contribute the occasional column. If any of the readers of this column reside in Bucksport, I do hope that you'll come in and introduce yourself over the next few weeks.

Until next time, that's all from the only place on earth called "Winterport."