Stockton Springs Report

By Jeff Davis | Jan 17, 2014
Photo by: Jeff Davis January thaw teases us with green grass beneath the snow in the beautiful town of Stockton Springs.

Municipal News

There are no meetings scheduled for the town government this week. Recycling may be set out on Jan. 23 and E-Waste Drop is available at the town's Public Works Facility from 9-noon, Saturday, Jan. 25.

During the Jan. 16 Select Board meeting, the board appointed six people to serve on the 2014 Budget Committee – Ernie Kalinisan, Kirsten Johnson, Ross Cottrell, Ray Hart, Irene Hageman and Ed Nickerson. The Budget Committee starts their work at 7 p.m. Feb. 3 in the town hall. We would like to thank them for their dedication to our town. I recently visited Ernie at his home on the Fort Point Cove Road. He invited me to sit in his living and discuss education in America. He had four pages of facts and figures that he printed off the internet. When he invited me to have a seat, I heard a commotion behind me. I turned around to discover that Ernie and I were the only ones left in the room. The chairs in the town are metal. I would suggest the Budget Committee bring a cushion to their meetings.

In the same select board meeting, the board accepted the petitions of those wishing to withdraw from RSU 20. Couch reports in his town email, “The Select Board voted 3 - 0 this evening to accept the 210 signatures asking the town to begin the withdrawal process from RSU 20. I've been instructed to start the process. If you are curious as to how the process"works, please visit the link below - You may hear people refer tot he "22 steps" - this is what they are referring to! The Select Board have two workshops coming up -

Wednesday January 22nd at 10 AM at Bucksport High School to discuss education options with the Superintendent of Schools. Thursday January 23rd at 7 PM at Stockton Springs Town Hall to discuss education options with members of the Searsport Select Board. Although both meetings are open to the public, please realize this is the Select Board's opportunity to ask questions and discuss options. The public will only be allowed to listen. There will be plenty of time for public comment moving forward. (as per the 22 steps). Please know, I will do my best to keep you up to date as the process moves forward.”

In another town email, Couch provides the following information regarding our recent storm and the need to report damage. “I'm writing on behalf of our EMA Director Chas hare and our Waldo County Director, Dale Rowley. The State of Maine is still working hard to determine if there was enough damage from the Ice Storm which hit our area back in December. I have a feeling we are close to qualifying. We have been asked to have you dial 211 to report your damages and additional expenses. This will allow state level personnel to ask the important questions so they can make a determination. I'm told that dialing 211 is as simple as one would think it is (just three numbers!). State personnel are standing by to take your call. I hope that you will take a few minutes to make this important call. It could help you and it may help the Town. We already know we are looking at extensive brush clean up in the springs along Town roadways. A FEMA disaster declaration will help with those costs. Thank you for your help.”

The Community Lunch is being offered at noon on Jan. 21 at the lower level meeting room of the town hall. Recently, I read about article about the a meeting that was held in the same place. The author referred to the location as the cellar of the Stockton Springs town hall. It is not a cellar. It is the lower level meeting room. The cost of the lunch is $5.00. A kind resident paid for last week's meals and, during the regular Select Board Meeting, Town Manager Rich Couch noted that one can indeed get a free lunch in Stockton Springs.

Please be on the lookout for a barge with a 10' X 12' fishing shack, shingled with a large window. The town received notice on Jan. 11 that it broke loose from its mooring in Castine. It was last seen near Smith Cove in Castine. If seen, please contact the town office at 567-3404 and they will contact the owner. She misses her barge.

Volunteer News

I received email from TIE from Chairperson Andrea Cross stated they were “getting back into the swing of things” following their well-deserved holiday break. To facilitate their “Bargain Bin, TIE is working on setting up an area with gently used coats, winter boots, hats, gloves, scarf etc in the school. There are students who do not have the proper clothing for this time of year. Our goal is to have those students in warm outer wear. If you have any jackets or winter gear you no longer need/want please bring them to the school office, all sizes are needed. The clothing benefits the middle and high school alike. The Military Support Group at Bank of America donated over 100 homemade/brand new hats and scarfs to our school. Usually those donations go elsewhere. TIE is resuming our regular scheduled meetings. Our upcoming meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 01/15 at 5:30pm. Thank you, Andrea and all TIE volunteers for coming forward to assist our schools in their time great need.

From the Columnist

A couple from the Black Road contacted me about obtaining a picture from a previous column. I made them a 8X11 at Rite-aid and it turned out nice. But I lost her phone number and can't find their house. If you are that lady, please call me and I'll run it over to you.

As one of the six petitioners who collected signatures for the withdrawal of RSU 20, it would stand to reason that I am in favor of the withdraw. One may think that it would further be reasonable that I would use the column to forward that cause. I am not one those who would think that. I am the town columnist for all the residents of this town. Some are in favor of withdraw and some are opposed. The process has been set in motion and the decision will be made, in accordance to law, and by a vote of the people. As I am the columnist for the entire town, I will not use their column to promote my personal view. I am not a real journalist, but I feel I should still try to maintain my objectivity.

However, I will use the column to send a shout out some of my snowbird friends in The Sunshine State. Rhonda Maddocks has joined her husband Bert, her sister Regina Larrabee and brother-in-law Dennis Larrabee in their individual winter retreats. The sisters seem to be on a Facebook campaign to taunt us with pictures of them wearing shorts and setting in lawn chairs. Although this suggestion is meant them, it could apply to any snowbirds. We are enjoying the pictures, but some of them are bordering on cruel. Its cold up here. Please keep in mind that while you are basking Florida that it is your friends who keeping an eye on your house, for you, up here in the beautiful town of Stockton Springs.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Jeff Davis | Jan 18, 2014 12:18

Thank you, Ms Lavender for your kind comments. Outside of the ones sent by those who know me, yours represents my first actually online comment. I wish I had a prize to offer you. Would you care for an 8x11 of my front yard?

The problems with the RSU would be better discussed in TRJs editorial page. Actually, the people there are looking for someone to talk to about this stuff. Sometimes, when I see a lull, I fill in. Ha. Ha.

It is a little hypocritical of me to chastise parents for not attending school meetings as my children went to MSAD 56 from kindergarten through 12th grade and the only time I went to a meeting is when a teacher shamed me into it. And that wasn't often enough and it was not for the lack of caring. Now, I do remember when the BOD sought to close the open campus because the owner of Dicks Corner Market said the kids were coming down there and ripping him blind. One of our sons was a senior at the time and the seniors protested as Searsport had no lunchroom and they had to eat on the uncleaned desks that were common to all students. As I recall, Kurt's specific claim was that he wasn't eating where some snotty-nosed kid wiped his boogers. But, I can't claim community activism on that one. Being an old hippie, I was just glad to see my son rage against the machine. But, I lost a good side job over going. So, I understand exactly what you mean. I needed that money bad.

I do a little volunteering and "get involved" now to pay back the old people that took the time when mine were young and I couldn't go. So, I got your back, kid. You do what you can and I'll keep you posted the best that I can. And good luck.

Posted by: Leslie Lavender | Jan 18, 2014 11:06

Thanks Jeff. I enjoy your column and believe you try to be fair and objective. I appreciate that not enough people attend the town and school meetings, I am one of them (my husband has a very irregular schedule and I try to limit my night time driving). And it is very frustrating how difficult it is to get straightforward information about costs and potential savings. My family background is firmly rooted in public education (superintendents, principals and teachers). I also understand that change is difficult. As the population of school-age children continues to drop and property taxes continue to rise, it seems that perhaps we, as thoughtful individuals, need to re-think the picture we have of public education. I don't wish to point fingers, but there are many of the "stake holders" who seem more interested in protecting their turf in the name of "the children", when it is transparently obvious that is not the case. So, please keep up the wonderful, objective reporting to the people of Stockton Springs. I appreciate that you are not trying to tell us what we should be thinking and that you respect all opinions. Leslie Lavender

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