Police Facebook change welcomed
The Bridgton Police Department has softened its approach to posting arrest information and mug shots on its Facebook Page … Selectman King said the new Format does not go far enough because fans can still comment at the end of the log on any of the persons arrested.
As example, the list posted Monday included a comment revealing additional information about the circumstances related to the arrest… something they want avoided
Bridgton officials stand firm on reappointment policy despite possible mass exodus
December 21,2012 may not be the end of the world as some say is prophesied by the Mayan Calendar, but it will be a day to remember in Bridgton politics.
On that day, a new policy will go into effect: all members of appointed committees will serve annually and must reapply by December 21 if they want to stay on for another year.
…Around 15 residents have signed a letter stating it’s unlikely they’ll reapply…
Sprinkler rules softened in new draft
Bridgton’s Fire Protection Committee was directed Tuesday by selectmen to turn over its revised draft ordinance to the Planning Board, with the hope that all their many hours of effort will lead to a workable definition of what developers need to do to provide adequate fire protection for new subdivisions.
The new rules replace a first draft that required sprinklers systems for new construction except seasonal cottages. That idea was quickly and decisively shot down…
From the print version of the Bridgton News
This was printed in this weeks Bridgton News and I got permission from Mark Lopez, who wrote it, to put it here as well.
To The Editor:
At Tuesday’s Bridgton Board of Selectmen’s Meeting, there was such debate amongst the board with regard to the decision to make all current volunteer committee members complete a Committee Application for their “re-appointment”. As a result of this policy, selectmen received a near unanimous response from the various volunteer committee members. The board of selectmen received signed statements indicating that the committee members would not apply for re-appointment to the committee they currently serve.
At the meeting, this issue was discussed in a manner that did not permit comment from the public, many of them volunteer committee members that were accused of listening to the rumor mill or not being team players. Hands of volunteer committee members were raised to make comments, but not acknowledged. This was not apparent to those watching at home since, curiously enough, only the audio was broadcast on Lake Region Television. Selectmen asked for “respect” from committee members, but would not acknowledge their desire to respond to comments directed at them by board of selectmen members. It was somewhat reminiscent of watching the barrage of political ads during the last year. You see a 30 second spot with out-of-context sound bites, which certainly appear factual when the other side is not given the opportunity to respond. When the other side does respond, the factual appearance of the initial comments is often called into question.
The board of selectmen insisted that they are “thankful” for the service of the volunteers that serve the town, that this was not a “recall” of the committee members, that they just wanted to obtain “updated information” from the members. The committees are comprised of intelligent, dedicated, and sincere volunteers. They can read between the lines.
If this is not a “recall”, why were members being asked to fill out an application for “re-appointment”?
If you wanted “updated information”, why didn’t you simply ask if any contact information from your volunteers had changed?
If you are truly “thankful” for the countless hours your volunteers spend trying to help you do your job, the board of selectmen should have sent would have sent a letter to all the members with a request to provide an update of any information that may have changed and a request to let the town know if they no longer wish to remain on their respective committee.
The fact of the matter is that nearly every committee member did view this request as a recall and that they did feel that there is no gratitude for their service. They did not form these opinions by way of the “rumor mill” as Selectman Woody Woodward suggested. This is their perception and as the saying goes, perception is reality.
As the elected leaders of this community, you need to be acutely aware of how your actions are perceived on the street. You missed the bus on this one.
This was printed in this weeks Bridgton News and I got permission from Glenn Zaidman, who wrote it, to put it here to share with everyone.
Dear Chairman Paul Hoyt,
The purpose of this correspondence is to express my sincere disappointment with the recently announced policy of requiring volunteers to reapply each year for committee positions that they have faithfully served on for, in some cases, several years. It is demeaning and disrespectful to those members that have given countless hours to the town that have assisted your board in doing their job to make them reapply for volunteer positions. They work to bring the town together and make this town a better place.
With specific regard to the Comprehensive Plan Committee (CPC), I would suggest that the board of selectmen reread the latest charge given to the committee on March 13, 2012.
Please note that the charge stipulates that the members will be seated on the committee until such a time as the state approves the new Comprehensive Plan. It further states that the only way a member can be removed is by a majority vote of the committee.
The board of selectmen has solicited additional volunteers to serve on new and existing committees with little or no response from the public. Given this lack of response and participation from new volunteers, the reappointment of existing members should be automatic. This would save paper and time, which would allow your board to work on more productive issues. If you do not reappoint existing volunteers, where do you think you will find new volunteers?
If this new policy is a response to recommendations that have been put forth by your committees that the board of selectmen or management disagrees with or if this is an attempt to remove certain members from certain committees, have the fortitude to be honest with the volunteer committee members, the voters and yourselves and just remove the members that are not telling you what you want to hear.
As stated above, people serve on these committees and your work in an effort to bring the community together. This new policy is another slap in the face to these volunteers that will do nothing more than divide the town.
With regards to my numerous volunteer positions, please be advised that I have no intention whatsoever of reapplying for any of my positions. If you do not want me to volunteer my time any longer, look me in the eyes and tell me publicly, not through a charade of making me reapply.
Glenn (Bear) Zaidman
Committee members see policy as ‘recall’
The letter, signed by 17 of the 19 members on four committees, said it is unlikely they will reapply to be members, which selectmen have asked them to do by filing application by this Friday December 21. The members say the new requirement amounts to a recall a charge selectmen have strongly denied. There is a complete letter as delivered to the Bridgton Municipal Complex prior to the selectmen’s meeting on the December 11 meeting.
Shoplifters being ID’d on BPD Facebook
Bridgton Police have used their Facebook page to solve four recent shoplifting cases over a six-week period. That degree of crime solving, if nothing else, proves the value of using social media as a tool to interact with the public, Police Chief Schofield said.
“It allows us to instantaneously ask 3600 people, ‘Do you know this person?’ and that is one of the points we have been trying to emphasize.
And to think there are those that wanted to shut down the Facebook page completely. It has proven to be quite a useful tool in finding the identity of shoplifters.
Bridgton seeks to be ‘business-friendly’ community
Bridgton is vying to become a certified “Business-Friendly Community” under a state program initiated by Gov. Paul LePage. If selected, the town will get its very own “Open for Business” sign, and gain an extra edge in competing for state grant funds.
If selected, Bridgton will be able use the “Open for Business” logo on official community correspondence and receive bonus points in the state’s Community Development Block Grant programs.
Farming to be revived at Narramissic
Bridgton Historical Society has entered into an agreement with a local man to return farming to the fields at Narramissic.
Heath Enright of Naples will be working to rejuvenate three of the four fields at the South Bridgton farm. Heath is excited about combining modern organic farming practices with animal-powered machinery and historic methods, to the extent practicable. He started working the project in November, clearing trees that were growing out from the stone walls…
Many refuse to reapply for committee work
Following Friday’s deadline for returning applications for reappointment under a new town policy.
Two key town committees are left with one member, in what amounts to a mass resignation of all but one of those currently serving on the Comprehensive Plan Committee and the Wastewater Committee. By declining to turn in their reappointment applications, a total of 15 residents on five town committees have effectively given up their volunteer service to the town.
Now that all of these committee members have not re-applied for their current positions on all these committees, the selectmen think they have everything in hand. If you ask me, the joke is on them because they have always relied on the towns people to do the work for them whereas in all the towns I have lived in selectmen have always spread themselves amongst the different town committees. I have been sitting back and trying real hard not to laugh because I could see the writing on the wall as I could see a mass walkout coming for months now and the selectmen were like…oh the committee members would never do that to the town…and look what has happened. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks.
Need for zoning prevails at potluck planning sessions
Residents appear to be ready to accept some sort of zoning, based on feedback from residents who attended last month’s planning sessions organized by the Comprehensive Plan Committee.
At each of the four potluck sessions, “There was a lot of discussion of the need for zoning,” said Anne Krieg. She said the 20–25 residents who came to each session wanted especially to make sure commercial growth did not adversely encroach into traditionally residential neighborhoods.
Innkeepers ready for their next adventure
Julie and Rick Whelchel have always looked forward to the next adventure in their lives.
Ten years ago, the couple tired of the grind of corporate America and decided to try something they had no previous experience doing. After looking at 60 inns, they settled on a quaint bed and breakfast in Bridgton.
Cindi Hooper, an attorney from Houston, Texas, took over ownership of The Noble House as 2012 came to a close.
School districts review lockdowns, security after Newtown tragedy
In wake of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy, many area parents wondered what might happen if someone showed up at a local school, armed and possessing intentions of harming…
“I felt it was important to communicate to staff and parents that while we felt our schools were a safe environment for students and staff, we would immediately be reviewing all of our school buildings and procedures to ensure we were doing all we could reasonably do…”
Country singer helps drive home anti-bullying message
Lexi James knows how it feels to be bullied.
She was ridiculed because her dream was to be a successful country singer and songwriter.
Middle school and high school can be such a hard time for so many kids. There is so much pressure to fit in. I spent too much time pretending to be something I am not. I started to act like the real me. That didn’t go so well…”
Bridgton firefighters douse 2 separate blazes
Bridgton firefighters put out a pair of fires on Wednesday.
Firefighters put out a fire at a building at 116 South High St., Perreault said. The fire gutted an apartment and damaged first- and second-floor apartments… which was reported 1:56 p.m.
A wood stove with its door ajar caused a fire in a living room at 461 Portland Road on Wednesday night. It was part of the First and Last Resort Motel.
I had been reading some of the posts on the Bridgton Police Department’s Facebook Page and there were many comments about… “how this motel has been vacant since last summer”…”how the fire department had to get a bucket loader to plow a path in so they could get the fire equipment in there”… “this seems kind of suspicious”
Selectmen to State: Don’t shift shortfalls to towns
Bridgton Selectmen agreed to send a strongly worded appeal to county and state elected officials saying they need to avoid shifting state budget shortfalls onto local taxpayers, lest they have Bridgton “rethink our relationship with our state government”.
The letter challenged state senators and representatives in the Lakes Region, along with those in Oxford and Androscoggin Counties, to not fall prey to pressures to reduce traditional revenue sources that towns rely on in preparing… budgets…
The selectmen are also going to have the towns around us join in on this letter so there are a lot of signatures on this letter. We are looking at all the towns in our school district and those in school districts 17 & 72 because they are all border towns to us…Harrison, Lovell, Sweden, Denmark, Fryeburg just to name a few.
Re-up fiasco shows signs of healing
Seeking to salvage their broken relationship with town committees over a new reappointment policy, the Bridgton Board of Selectmen and Town Manager took it on the chin Tuesday, allowing committee members and other frustrated residents to rebuke them for more than an hour.
Both sides saw the hour long back-and-forth as only a beginning. The board ageed to table any action on reappointments and continue the discussion by holding an informal meeting with members…
There are times I wish I could throw out the 75 word limit. This article is a full page long. I do have to say that I did attend this weeks meeting and just as things were getting better and it looked like there was going to be a resolution of sorts, Selectman Hoyt opened his mouth and said he started this whole thing and would not change anything. That just sent the whole room back into an uproar. I think that if people were carrying daggers, they would have all been thrown at him at that very moment. As things kept winding up a member of the audience stood up and said Mr. Hoyt…I am asking you to stop talking now…or something like that. Another thing I noticed is that this is the only selectman not to apologize for what took place at the last meeting. He was even called out on it, but to my knowledge he never did. We heard from every other selectman and the town manager saying they were sorry and why, but not this guy or at least not that I could hear and it was a standing room only type of situation.
Emergency fuel funds desperately low
The Bridgton Community Center’s Fuel Collaborative has assisted 33 Bridgton families with emergency fuel the past two and a half months — and now funds are desperately low. In order to get through February, the Bridgton Community Center needs your help. The families that receive emergency assistance from this fund are generally hard-working, under-employed families or people on fixed incomes that do not qualify for General Assistance help.
The BCC needs to raise another $3,000...
Manoian’s legacy takes center stage at BOS-committee summit
Joined by the common cause of the town they love, 20 of Bridgton’s most dedicated public servants — selectmen, the town manager, economic development director and appointed committee members… moderator Steve Collins called “the festering sore” under the surface; the feeling of a betrayal of trust.
CPC member Bob Wiser said Manoian openly stated his hope that if he could bring Avesta’s $4.5 million project to town, “That would be his crowning achievement in Bridgton.”
This was one of Manoian’s biggest problems…be was more concerned about his achievements and resume then he was about how the town’s people felt about the different projects he was trying to bring to town. He basically felt there were two ways of doing things…his way or get out of his way.
Fires erupt at Pike’s Farm apartment, First & Last Resort Motel
Robert Murphy is trying to adhere to the old saying, “The show must go on,” despite seeing all of his instruments destroyed by fire last week.
Murphy is a musician. He was set to go on tour…
“I came home to learn that, due to faulty wiring, my television exploded, incinerating my entire living room.
…Firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading to rental units at the motel. However, the fire did extensive damage to the apartment.
Teen indicted in fatal crash case
A Sebago teen has been indicted by the Cumberland County Grand Jury in connection with a fatal car accident in Bridgton last fall.
Nathan Anderson (18) was indicted on charges of reckless conduct and driving to endanger. The charges stem from an accident on September 5, 2012 on Kansas Road which resulted in death of Austin Sloat, a senior at Lake Region High School.
Jennifer Ackerman, who is an assistant district attorney, said she is unable to discuss any facts of the case or any facts presented to the Grand Jury. Anderson will be arraigned and disposition with both taking place within the next 90 days.
If convicted, he faces up to five years in jail and a $5000 fine, but from what I read that is seldom handed out.
Musher’s Bowl canceled
According to organizers, the Musher’s Bowl in Bridgton… scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26, has been called off.
The 2013 Musher’s Bowl was canceled due to lack of snow at the host site, Five Fields Farm in South Bridgton. Last year, the races were postponed to a later date, but due to scheduling conflicts, the event has been canceled this year, organizers said Tuesday morning.
Lakes Legion Weekly
This only affects the sled dog races ... all aother activities for the weekend are still on.
Riprap project raises access concerns
A plan to fix a major source of pollution runoff on the Moose Pond Causeway may invite increased use of the problem area by the boating public, even though the Causeway is a no-parking zone, Bridgton selectmen said.
Selectmen agreed that remediation work is long overdue at the locally-used carry-on path, located on the west side of Sabattus Island. It remained unclear whether the town or the Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over the site.
Bridgton selectmen reject hiring new fire inspector
The board voted 5-0 to give member Doug Taft’s suggestion a try, and see if there is anyone currently on the ranks of the 62-member Bridgton Fire Department willing to assume the responsibilities of the job.
In making its decision, the board overruled the opinion of Fire Chief Glen Garland, who said he had “very grave concerns” about his department’s ability of “doing anything more than what we’re doing now, which is answering complaints.”
According to Chief Garland there is not a member among the ranks who is currently trained to do these inspections…nor has anybody on the department stepped forward saying they have the time to do this position during normal business hours most businesses Monday through Friday as our fire department is a volunteer on-call fire department whereas most volunteers have daytime jobs outside of town and or don’t have the ability to just drop what they are doing and go to a fire call because of who they work for.
Public education seen as key to draft fireworks ordinance
The committee discussed the idea that use of fireworks be banned in certain high-density downtown neighborhoods, but “Instead of trying to pinpoint it through density, we chose to do an educational program,” Schofield said.
On Tuesday, Selectman Taft suggested the permission be obtained in writing from the property owner. He said it might make the police department’s job easier if they didn’t have to track down whether a fireworks user was telling the truth…
People would be permitted to shoot off fireworks until 12:30pm on the weekend of the 4th of July or the following weekend unless the 4th falls on a Monday. Fireworks can be fired off only on weekends which would start at 5pm on Friday and end at 10:00pm Sunday. Fireworks can not be fired off Monday through Thursday unless otherwise stated.
Bridgton Selectmen list top eight 2013 priotitiesIn an effort to counter concerns that sometimes, meetings tend to be all talk and no action, the Selectmen have come with a list of their eight top priorities…:
Completion and approval of the updated Comprehensive Plan
Downtown wastewater system expansion and or improvements
Renovations / restoration of the Historic Town Hall
Downtown improvements (sidewalks, lighting, ect)
Depot Street redevelopment
Tourism promotion plan
Salmon Point Campground master plan
Local Preference Ordinance
From the print version of Bridgton News
Hannaford urged to make haste on interior sidewalk
Town of Bridgton and the Bridgton Economic Development Corporation are urging Hannaford to reconsider its decision not to go ahead with sidewalk construction.
The sidewalk, which would be located alongside the entrance into the shopping center’s parking lot, is viewed as a safety necessity because of the large number of residents who walk to the store. Hannaford had made a preliminary agreement to install the sidewalk as part of a Safe Passage to Schools Grant.
Social media used to promote Bridgton
The Bridgton Economic Development Corporation is betting on the power of social media to spread the message to businesses that Bridgton is “the perfect place to start or grow your business”.
BEDC President Lee Eastman told the Bridgton Board of Selectmen that the corporation’s online marketing plan “is going down a road that is a little bit unchartered,” but the potential benefits are huge if even one major employer is enticed...
Landlord throws in towel as units go to auction
A bitter cold January afternoon as landlord Nelson Henry stood in the driveway of three unit apartment house at 553 Main Street in Bridgton. He stood apart from the small gathering wearing a headset…
Just 10 minutes after it had begun, the auction was over, leaving Henry still owing on the mortgage…
Mortgage banker Shawn Lynden of Portland bought all five properties for $55,000.
The total assessed value of all five properties tops $400,000.
Impacts of the state cut
Bridgton is taking an early lead role among Maine towns in crying foul over a proposal by Governor Paul LePage that would strip $420 million over the next two years either from municipal directly or from property taxpayers that support municipal government.
After sending a strongly worded letter to legislative leaders, Town Manager Berkowitz followed up by creating a memo showing how the cuts would affect Bridgton and the fiscal year 2014 budget review…