Still bringing you the news, one year after going dark
There was no shortage of news in Knox County this week. In fact it was hard to figure out what to leave off the front page.
Regional School Unit 13 is looking to save $400,000 a year toward its $1.6 million budget gap by combining Rockland and Thomaston middle schools. If adopted, sixth- and seventh-grade students from Thomaston, Rockland and Cushing will attend the Thomaston Grammar School building. The South School population, including Rockland fifth-graders, will move to the middle school building, and South School will not be used, the superintendent said.
In Rockland, a seemingly invigorated city council approved the Brass Compass using part of Winslow-Holbrook Memorial Park to provide outdoor seating for customers.
Mayor Will Clayton has been doing a good job of keeping meetings on subject and the council as a whole seems to have learned the difference between logical arguments and emotional ramblings.
In addition to dealing with the regular city business this week, the council has instructed City Manager James Smith to work with other municipal and community leaders to convey the council's strong opposition to Gov. Paul LePage's plan to cut state revenue sharing. This really amounts to a tax shift, moving a budget problem from the state government's plate to that of local property taxpayers. Towns and cities including Rockland, which have been responsible in keeping budgets under control are now facing tough choices between cutting whole departments and services or raising property taxes.
Mr. Smith goes to Augusta this week with many others for a budget battle. You may want to write your local reps to let them know where you stand on this issue.
Developers have proposed a large indoor sports facility off Route 90 in Warren that would allow local and visiting teams to practice and compete in soccer, baseball, lacrosse, regardless of weather. This is a welcome change from the methadone clinic topic for the Warren planning board and could be a benefit to the community.
Lincoln Street Center renovations are headed to the Rockland Planning Board in April.
Not only that, but we also have previews for the upcoming town meetings and elections that are a staple of local journalism in March. Don't forget to go out and participate in democracy at your local town meeting.
There is news enough to fill this issue and the promise of follow-ups to come.
One year ago at this time, Village Net Media had just announced that it was closing, taking the community's weekly papers with it. Most of the employees who worked to put together the paper you hold in your hands this week were busy filling out paperwork for unemployment last March.
In terms of local news and the important business of the people being done in the community, March is one of the worst months for a local newspaper to go dark.
That is part of the reason why The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal received such a warm reception in the community when they appeared on newsstands again April 5, 2012, under a new management team headed by owner Reade Brower, the founder and president of The Free Press.
We will likely have a bit more to say about this anniversary as April 5 approaches, but it has to be mentioned that a year ago at this time, the longtime community papers were dark.
In the time since we reopened, Courier Publications has created jobs and participated in the community. For many of our employees this has been the most exciting and fulfilling year of our careers. Bringing our friends and neighbors local news has taken on a new meaning for those of us who were afraid our reporting days were over.
We appreciate the support, the business and the feedback the community has given us in the past year. Special thanks goes out to all of our readers and advertisers.
Now we move forward and continue to write daily online and weekly in our papers about the news, which is defined more often than not as what everyone in town is talking about.
Turn the page.