Stockton Springs Report

By Jeff Davis | Jan 24, 2014
Photo by: Jeff Davis Local residents making a hard living on the shore of Stockton Harbor.

Municipal News

The Historical Society will have their monthly meeting at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Concord House.

The Planning Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Feb 5 at the town hall.

Stockton Springs Town Manager, Rich Couch, MPA sent the following information to the residents on the town's email list. To get on that list, contact Couch at “On Wednesday January 22nd, the Select Board and Town Manager met with the Superintendent of Schools at RSU 25 to explore options for educating the children of Stockton Springs in the future. Although the visit was very helpful in assisting Town Officials with the options associated with the withdrawal process, no decisions were made. Town Manager, Rich Couch, continues to explain that the process is a 22 step process and "the process will be methodical." Residents will be aware of every step along the way. Couch acknowledged that the process can be emotional, but assures us that it is being taken very seriously. Our Town Manager was even seen on ABC 7 and Fox News talking about this process! Currently, the three main options seem to be: Stockton Springs and Searpsort work together to form an SAD/RSU of their own, join RSU 25 (Bucksport) or explore the options of creating a k - 8 community school in Stockton Springs and tuition high school students out to area high schools.

The Withdrawal Committee will have the task of exploring all options if voters decide to advance past step 2. Step 6 outlines the creation of a Withdrawal Committee. If voters elect not to pay for the withdrawal process in the upcoming special election (Date TBA) the process will stop and the Town will remain in RSU 20.”

Couch offers the following in related town news, “In other Town Business, and yes there is other Town business. The Budget Committee starts its work on February 3rd. The Town again this year is left wondering whether or not we will receive Revenue Sharing from the State of Maine. Revenue sharing has been reduced from $160,000 in 2009 to a projected $78,000 this year. As in years past the threat of complete elimination is real. Revenue sharing helps to offset property taxes for Town revenue. A loss of $78,000 would be equal to roughly 44 cents on the mil rate.

The Town may have to ask voters for a new plow truck this year at Town Meeting. The frame on the old Ford that George Russell drives has given up, but the people in the beautiful Town of Stockton Springs must not! Keep Calm and Carry On!” Thank you for all you do for the town, Rich. We will do out best to follow your sound advice.

School News

I had the opportunity to serve as a judge in at the Searsport school. Mr. Ray Wirth's class has been engaged in a Poetry Out Loud competition. It was assignment for the class and a way for their educator to introduce and engage them in one of man's oldest form of personal expression. The students had to chose a poem from the internet, learn the poem and perform it in front of an audience. It was good to see them find a poem out there that related to their own life and use the words of published authors to express their feelings. They did well and I was honored to be asked to be a judge.

If you follow the news, you may have seen Stockton Springs home girl, Dawn Staples-Knox speak proudly of the school that has employed her for 28 years. She has good reason to be proud. In 2012 Searsport District High School was the subject of a study on improving Maine High Schools. Researchers Erika Stump and Lori Moran Gunn visited the campus on behalf of the Center for

Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation (CEPARE) at University of Southern Maine

(USM) and the Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI), who were “conducting a study of high schools that have been identified as improving. CEPARE is exploring the significant practices and

characteristics of improving Maine high schools in an effort to identify some practices and attributes

that have helped these schools to improve student performance.” There are people more qualified to explain the results of the study. Suffice it for me to say that they were glowing results. As was the case in the results of the study, Standards-Based Success at Searsport District High School: A Case Study of Standards-Based Education In Action, by Anita S. Charles, Ph.D. Lecturer, Education Department and Director of Teacher Education, Bates College. Her report was laced with the phrase, “There is no doubt” when speaking of the fine things going on at the SDMHS. We owe a word of thanks and a multitude of gratitude to the educators in our schools.

Volunteer News

Pat Curley and Robbie Pendelton report that our Women Over 40 Volleyball continues to meet on Monday night at the SSES. Its a good way to keep your blood flowing as well as being an excellent method of warding off cabin fever. They are always looking for players.

Nearly 20 people sat down for lunch at Town Hall on Tuesday Jan. 21 for the 2nd Community Luncheon of the year. The next lunch is Feb. 4 at noon. The cook's at the Good Kettle will be serving American Chop Suey with salad, bread and a soft drink and dessert. All for $5. Please call Town Hall to RSVP by noon on Monday Feb. 3.

I received the minutes of the Jan. 14 meeting of our local American Legion. The members are currently working on their local efforts, building improvements and work dubbed in the minutes as “For the Good of the American Legion.” The Mid-December Conference is in the planning stage and the building leased for the event has suffered damage. Legionaries throughout the state are working together to resolve the problem. Our local branch is involved in the effort. This should remind us that we are part of something greater than the sum of its parts. Thank you, Adjutant Lee Snyder and all of the members of the Jerry Dobbins Post 157 of the American Legion for making our town a part of the American Legion commitment in “mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.”

Resident News

Lee Snyder, Adjutant, Post 157 advises that fellow Legionnaire Frank Costigan fell on the ice and injured his neck. He is in the Belfast Hospital. Keep Frank and Mary Jane in your thoughts and prayers.

The mystery of the shore photograph, mentioned in last week's column, has been solved. It was a Searsport neighbor, Iva McElravy, formerly Iva Bennett and a childhood friend of my beloved Laverne. As adults, they worked together at Colonial Gables. Iva grew up on School Street. This might explain why she wanted a picture of Fort Point Cove. She probably played there as a child. She was coming over to the Stockton medical center, so I dropped it off there for her to pick up. The lady at the medical center knew she was coming and said that she would be glad to give it to her. We are all pretty good friends here in the beautiful town of Stockton Springs.

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