Year in Review

By Staff | Dec 29, 2013
Photo by: Dwight Collins The cause of a fire that destroyed a house in Camden March 26 remains undetermined, according to the State Fire Marshal's Office. Lead investigator Sgt. Ken Grimes said the home located at 25 Lily Pond Dr. was a total loss and the cause may never be discovered. “In a fire that burned to this extent it is very possible a cause will never be known,” Grimes said. “In this particular case, the damage was so extensive we can do nothing but list it as undetermined.” A call reporting the fire was received by Knox County Regional Communication Center dispatchers March 26, at 1:55 p.m. as a report of smoke. Fire departments from Camden, Rockport, Hope and Lincolnville responded within minutes, but the home was fully engulfed when crews arrived.

Lincolnville scuttles police department

One of the biggest stories of the year locally was Lincolnville's closing its police department. It began in April with a public hearing on an amendment to the town charter making funding of a police force optional and subject to an annual vote by town meeting. That amendment was passed by voters in June and later that month town meeting voters did away with the police department at a packed and tension-filled meeting. As a result, Police Chief Ron Young, the only officer to have survived the 2012 reduction of the department's staff, ended his employment in Lincolnville June 30. Subsequently, police department opponents pressed the Board of Selectmen to sell the town's two police cruisers and other equipment, arguing that if a police department were voted back in at the next town meeting, it would be better to purchase new vehicles and equipment. Young was hired as police chief in Damariscotta.

Lincolnville bids chief farewell

When the town of Lincolnville voted to disband its police department in June, Chief Ron Young found himself uncertain about his future in law enforcement and sad to be leaving a job and town he felt personally invested in.

A send-off of sorts — just as much a thank you — was given in Young’s honor July 11 at Tranquility Grange on Route 52 in Lincolnville.

More than 200 people stopped to say goodbye and thank you to Young for his dedication to the town at a celebration organized by Jean and Robin Botley.

“I felt goodbye and thank you just didn’t seem enough,” said Jean Botley about the event. “He has been an important part of the community and will be missed dearly.”

Wrangle over Appleton house continues

In Appleton, a long-running legal battle continued over a house on Searsmont Road. On June 20, Knox County Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm issued a ruling in the case of Paul Gagnon et al. vs. Town of Appleton that put the ball back in the town’s court. The plaintiffs had appealed the Feb. 28, 2012, decision of Appleton's Zoning Board of Appeals to grant a variance to Appleton Ridge Construction LLC allowing it to maintain a house that is partly located within a setback associated with Route 131.

Hjelm remanded the case to the Board of Appeals for issuance of further findings of fact, because the findings previously issued were insufficient for him to determine whether the Board had acted properly in granting the variance, he said. In September, the Board of Appeals issued new findings of fact, which Patrick Mellor, attorney for the plaintiffs, said were still “inadequate to support a decision to grant a variance.” He said once the findings were finalized, he would ask the Superior Court to review the Board of Appeals' latest findings and overturn the variance. The case was still pending at year's end.

Appleton selectman hurt in motorcycle crash

On July 18, Appleton Selectman Scott Wiley and his 13-year-old daughter, Payton, were on Wiley's motorcycle when they were hit by a pickup truck on Sennebec Road. The girl was not badly hurt. Riding without a helmet, Scott “got banged up pretty badly,” his brother, Jason Wiley, said, breaking his pelvis and his right leg, including damage to his knee. Jason added that treating Scott’s injuries, “took a lot of reconstruction,” with multiple surgeries. In September a benefit was held at Appleton Village School to help Scott Wiley pay bills.

Fireworks turn explosive in Lincolnville

Beginning in August, several meetings of the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen addressed complaints by some residents about other residents' use of fireworks, especially near Megunticook Lake, Norton Pond and Coleman Pond. People raised concerns about the frequency and duration of the fireworks, their effect on pets, wildlife and water quality. In response, the Board appointed an ad hoc Consumer Fireworks Committee to look into how fireworks might be regulated in town without banning them entirely. The committee has five members, including Fire Chief Ben Hazen, one representative each from the Lakes & Ponds Committee and the Land Use Committee, and two residents. It is due to report to the selectmen by Jan. 31.

Jackie Watts, founder of Lincolnville Historical Society, dies

The last week of September saw the death of Jackie Watts, wife of former Fire Chief Maurice Watts (and a former member of the fire department herself), founder of the Lincolnville Historical Society and supporter of many charitable causes in town. Watts was remembered warmly by many friends, including her pastor, the Rev. Susan Stonestreet, who said Watts, “was always thinking of others, and helping them out.” A number of others who knew Watts agreed, citing her kindness to them and her generosity in general. Her niece Stacey Parra told how Watts started a family tradition of holding Thanksgiving dinners at Tranquility Grange and inviting not just extended family, but “anyone in town who didn't have a place to go.”

A schoolhouse turns into a library

Lincolnville's library got a new home in the relocated, refurbished Center Schoolhouse. In October, an open house allowed visitors to see the progress on the building, which had been moved across Route 52 by townspeople with ropes about a year earlier. Besides the interior renovations, an annex was added to provide space for a bathroom and a library work room. Library Committee Chair and volunteer librarian Sheila Polson said the new quarters should be in use early in January, and staffed by volunteers 12 to 15 hours a week. In addition, several women in town built outdoor display sheds for some of the larger items owned by the Lincolnville Historical Society. The sheds were named in honor of Jackie Watts, a founder of the Historical Society, who died a couple of weeks before the open house.

Camden Hills draws extra visitors during government shutdown

When Acadia National Park was closed during the federal government shutdown in the fall, visitors flocked to Camden Hills State Park for Columbus Day weekend. Park Manager Bill Elliott said that, as of Oct. 11, the park had had 1,050 visitors for the month, versus 957 for the whole month of October in 2012. Columbus Day weekend is the busiest weekend of the year for Camden Hills, and this year Elliott said he expected 1,000 to 1,500 visitors each day of the three-day holiday.

Longtime Appleton official honored

When Donald Burke, chairman of the Appleton Board of Selectmen, received the Maine Municipal Association's Ethel Kelly award Oct. 2, no one was more surprised than he was. When he heard he was to get the honor, he was “totally blown away,” he said. The award is given annually to a current or former municipal official with at least 20 years' service who is selflessly concerned for members of their community; capable and conscientious; willing and able to hold the community together; and dedicated to serving local government and needs. Burke has been a selectman for 26 years, 19 of those as chairman. In addition, he is actively involved in Appleton Historical Society, Mildred Stevens Williams Memorial Library, Burkettville Grange, the Memorial Association and the board of Tri-County Solid Waste. In nominating him for the award, fellow Selectman Denise Pease said, “From our first introduction, it was evident to me that he knew a thing or two about Appleton and took immense pride in our little town. … I am in awe of his unwavering dedication … .” In December, the state Legislature recognized Burke's achievement with a Legislative Sentiment.

Hope officials seek to slow traffic on Route 17

In response to complaints from some residents in the neighborhood of Pushaw's Trading Post on Route 17 in South Hope, town officials talked with state legislators and representatives of the Department of Transportation about what could be done to slow traffic along Route 17 near the intersection with Harts Mill Road. Regional Traffic Engineer David Allen said there was little to be done because of state budget reductions in recent years. He declined to reduce the speed limit from the present 40 miles an hour to 35. He said it would not cause most drivers to slow down and could actually increase the risk of a crash if a few drivers went slower and most did not. Town Administrator Jon Duke said the issue should be considered as part of the larger picture of what residents want for the future of this area of town.

Town Office reopens on time and on budget

November saw the opening of the renovated and expanded Lincolnville Town Office, with an open house followed by the return of office staff from their temporary quarters in the Hazel and Roger Heald Fire Station on Route 52. The addition houses a lobby, a room for town maps, a conference room, a meeting room, restrooms and storage. Interior renovations reworked the former facility into office space, storage and additional work space for staff. Work on the renovations began in April under general contractor The Penobscot Co. Architectural services were supplied by 2A Architects. The project cost close to $540,000.

Lincolnville buys land for future fire station

Voters at a special town meeting and in the Nov. 5 election authorized the Board of Selectmen to accept a gift of $45,000 from Lincolnville Volunteer Fire Department Inc. to purchase about three acres of vacant land on Beach Road owned by Robert and Joyce Collemer to be used for a future fire station. Selectmen had previously entered into a purchase and sale agreement with the Collemers, pending town meeting approval. Residents expressed some concerns about the purchase at a subsequent selectmen's meeting, especially regarding the possibility of timber harvesting on the parcel without input from abutters. No proposal for a structure on the Beach Road parcel has yet been commissioned.

Fatal crash on Alford Lake Road

The day before Thanksgiving, Cameron Dow, 20, of Hope, was driving a Landrover on Alford Lake Road when it rolled over and crashed. He later died of his injuries. Dow's passenger, Riley Francis, 18, of Fayette, had minor injuries. He was treated at Pen Bay Medical Center and released. Dow was first taken to Pen Bay, then to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he died. He was a student at Roger Williams College in Rhode Island, and had graduated in 2012 from Kents Hill School in Readfield.

PAWS plans move to Camden

Late in the year, PAWS Animal Adoption Center sought and received a special exception to operate a quasi-public facility from the Camden Zoning Board of Appeals. It purchased the former Camden First Aid Association building at 123 John St. The John Street building sits on slightly less than 4 acres, according to online assessment data. It was constructed in 2000 and housed Camden First Aid ambulances and offices until Camden First Aid closed its doors in the middle of 2013. The building has more than 8,200 square feet of space. PAWS contracts with Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, Belfast, Northport, Searsmont, Liberty and Islesboro to care for homeless or abandoned dogs and cats.

Northport explores relationship with School Union 69

Also in December, representatives from the town of Northport, which wants to withdraw from Regional School Unit (RSU) 20, made a proposal to school board members of School Union 69 for Northport to receive central office services from Union 69. Nancy Weed, superintendent of Union 69, said of those in Northport who want to withdraw, “they like what they see in Union 69.” She added the Union 69 board is interested in pursuing the relationship, which Weed likened to an adoption. The management service agreement would be a yearly contract. After the first year, if Northport wanted to formally join the union, the state Legislature would have to act, she said. Talks between Union 69 and Northport are set to continue.

Cross-country skiers rescue man from icy pond

A week before Christmas, George Stevenson, 83, was removing snow from his farm pond so people could skate on it when his tractor went through the ice. Soon, he was sitting in the submerged bucket of the tractor yelling for help and thinking he was about to die. A quarter-mile away, Tree Roth of Union and Dora Lievow of Camden were cross-country skiing on his land, where they had often been before because of his generosity in allowing recreational use of his property. Unsure what they were hearing, the two went to investigate, and found Stevenson clinging to the tractor. They called for help, then pushed an aluminum boat out to Stevenson. Soon Appleton Fire Chief David Stone arrived and helped them get Stevenson into the boat. They wrapped him with blankets and put their hands on his face to warm him. Lievow went with Stevenson in the ambulance and visited him after he was admitted to the hospital. He had expected to die, he told her, and thought it was ironic, because he had spent a lot of his life as a sailor. “He was just amazingly okay, and full of a twinkle,” Lievow said. He was released from Pen Bay Medical Center a couple of days later.

Rockport legal troubles

From the end of 2012 and carrying through the holidays to 2013, Rockport Select Board members met repeatedly in executive session regarding an employee or employees. As a result, the town accepted the resignation of Town Manager Robert Peabody – later in 2013, Peabody was hired as Old Orchard Beach town manager – and agreed to pay legal fees for two unnamed employees. Roger Moody was named interim town manager Feb. 20. Richard Bates was hired as town manager.

Woodward retires

Long-time Rockport Fire Chief Bruce Woodward retired this year and Jason Peasley, most recently fire chief in Lincolnville, was hired after two rounds of applications that saw a total of nearly 100 resumes submitted for the position. Woodward was celebrated for his extensive service by current and former town employees, family and residents at the Samoset Resort.

Camden First Aid Association closes

After initial calls for more funding, Camden First Aid Association Director Julia Libby said in March the service planned to continue to provide emergency medical service to the area. Assets had been sold or were for sale, she noted, and fundraisers under way to help support the nonprofit ambulance service. However, a failed bid for dramatic increases in municipal funding led to closure of the service in July. After reviewing proposals from several for-profit services as well as Camden First Aid, town officials chose North East Mobile Health Services as a contract provider for 911 responses.

Hospice approved

Rockport Planning Board members heard an initial proposal for a hospice house located on the grounds of Pen Bay Medical Center in March. The proposal was ultimately approved following concerns about traffic pattern changes and ground was broken for the facility in September.

Falling tree kills parks and recreation director

Jeff Kuller, Camden's Parks and Recreation director, was killed by a falling tree while working on his own property. The freak accident shocked town officials and residents. Beth Ward was named interim director and Landon Fake was approved as Kuller's replacement in September.

Public Landing redesign considered

Camden town officials hosted a series of meetings to gather input about a potential redesign of the Public Landing. A report and scalable options were presented and approved by selectmen in November; a fisherman's hoist and boardwalk extension could be installed in the spring of 2014 if a grant is received. Plans for redesign of the public landing call for decreased parking spaces and increased green space.

Fundraiser draws support for local man

Well-known public safety worker Justin Hills was the beneficiary of a fundraiser at Lincolnville Fire Station in March. Hills was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma earlier in the year and money raised offset his medical costs.

Tibbetts layoffs

IntriCon Corp., a designer, developer, manufacturer and distributor of miniature and micro-miniature body-worn devices, announced in a June 13 press release a global strategic restructuring plan that included phased-in layoffs in Camden.

As part of the restructuring, IntriCon planned a global workforce net reduction of approximately 35 administrative and support employees, resulting in immediate annual cost savings of $2 million. The majority of the staff reductions were immediate, except in the company's Maine operation, where a phased approach was planned. Impacted employees were to receive financial support and outplacement assistance.

Additionally, IntriCon said it would classify its Maine operations, which include the company's security, microphone and receivers businesses, as discontinued operations for financial reporting purposes. Certain Singapore assets that support the microphone and receiver product lines also were tol be classified as discontinued.

Fox Hill

Investors in the property at 235 Bay View St., known as Fox Hill, made a request to Camden's Planning Board for a special exception to allow a high-end alcohol and substance abuse facility early in the year but later dropped the bid. At the end of June, the proposal was back before the Planning Board and the attorney hoped to see the issue up for a vote in November. Public criticism of how the Planning Board handled the initial application led to numerous open meetings and discussions of language for the proposed special exception within the Coastal-Residential district. Following two public hearings before the Planning Board, no decision has yet been made as to moving the proposal forward to the Select Board and ultimately to a vote before investors can begin the site planning process to establish the facility.

Planning Board members are set to begin board discussions this week.

Ocean swim raises money for Life Flight

Nearly 100 swimmers took to the ocean near the Ducktrap River in Lincolnville in August, to swim across the bay to Islesboro in an effort to raise money for Life Flight, a medical helicopter service. Nearly $20,000 was raised during the event, which saw swimmers make the nearly 3-mile swim in a range of times.

Snow Bowl bond approved

Voters approved at the ballot box in November a $2 million bond for improvements at Camden Snow Bowl. The bond was matched by more than $4 million in private donations and will see trail and lighting improvements as well as a new ski lift and, in the later phase, a new lodge.

New tenants at former Farmer's Fare

Celebration Life Family Church announced in September that it planned to move to the former location of Farmer's Fare on West Street in Rockport. Renovations are under way and the church expects to begin hosting services in January 2014.

Bus service explored

Options for public bus service are being explored in the Midcoast. Members of the Midcoast Transit Committee heard a preliminary report by Nelson\Nygaard that outlined potential routes and stops as well as operating costs per year, which ranged from $70,000 to $648,000.

Assistant Fire Chief struck by car

Camden Fire Department Assistant Chief Robert Stiehler spent eight days in the hospital after being struck by a car when he was crossing Main Street in October. While he did not break any bones, numerous muscles were torn and he had lost feeling on his entire left side for a time. At the time doctors estimated several months of recovery.

Appleton school budget reduced

An error in the initial school budget for Appleton Village School was discovered by newly-hired Union 69 Superintendent Nancy Weed, leading to reductions. A carryover of more than $100,000 from the previous year was included in the budget erroneously, though the exact circumstances of its inclusion remain unknown. The reductions resulted in a cutback in hours for several teachers, loss of funding for field trips and some maintenance.

Hope school principal retires

Carol Hathorne retired as principal of Hope Elementary School and Danielle Fagonde was hired to replace her. Hathorne had been an educator for 40 years; 13 years as principal in Hope. During her retirement party, Hathorne said she and her husband, Tim, were hitting the road with their travel trailer in tow, planning to camp and visit family. Fagonde moved to Hope from Jonesport, where she'd been principal, with her family.

Archangel grounded

The Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment based in Belfast responded to a grounding outside Camden Harbor Aug. 7. The 70-foot sailing yacht Archangel out of Newport, R.I., ran aground on East Goose Rock ledge near Lasell Island; the force of the impact demasted the vessel, said Petty Officer Wesley Wofford of the Belfast Coast Guard Station.

Wofford said of the eight people aboard the Archangel, six passengers and one crew member were rescued by a good Samaritan. The yacht’s master stayed aboard to ready the boat for salvage, and was picked up by a Coast Guard cutter from the Rockland station. There were no injuries reported, he said.

Students win international competition

Five Camden Hills Regional High School students visited Gothenburg, Sweden, where they took third prize — $4,000 — in the Volvo Adventure program, a worldwide competition in which high school students develop solutions to regional environmental problems.

The Camden students were selected from a pool of more than 150 North American projects, with 400 entries submitted worldwide, according to Windplanners adviser Margo Murphy, who teaches global science as well as horticulture and gardening at Camden Hills.

Eliot Grigot, Kiera Haining, Chelsea Hunter, Anna Mynic and Maya Sosland, members of Camden Hills’ Windplanners group, and advisers Murphy and Keith Rose — facility manager for Camden Hills and Camden Rockport Middle School — spent five days in Sweden at Volvo’s expense, and stayed an extra three days on their own.

Union Chemical clean-up

In June, public hearings took place to approve a plan that would loosen requirements to bring contaminated water up to drinking water standards at the former site of Union Chemical on Route 17 in Hope. Approval also would allow use of the property, with restrictions. Clean-up of the site had been ongoing for nearly 30 years.

New restaurant opens in Union Hall

Saltwater Farm in Lincolnville expanded its offerings to Rockport with the opening of a restaurant inside the newly renovated Union Hall. Owner Annemarie Ahearn said the venture is an expansion of the farm's Full Moon dinners and she hoped to attract both local residents and locavores from away.

Amphitheatre and library declared national historic landmarks

Camden Amphitheatre and Public Library were among 13 new national historic landmarks approved March 10 by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis.

According to Mike Litterst, a public affairs specialist with the National Park Service Office of Communications, the amphitheatre was a rare public project of 20th-century American landscape architect Fletcher Steele. Director of Camden Harbor Park and Camden Amphitheatre Dave Jackson said the process to add the library and amphitheatre to the list of national historic landmarks began in 2005.

According to the library website, Harbor Park and the Amphitheatre were a gift to the library in 1931 from Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist.

Constructed in 1928, Camden Public Library sits at the highest point on Main Street. Architects Parker Morse Hooper and Charles Greely Loring chose to position the building close to the street, under the shade of existing elms and maples – a more direct relationship with its surrounding built environment rather than its larger landscape scenery, the website states.

Rockport school demolished

Demolition of the former Rockport Elementary School began the week of Feb. 18 following several years of debate and attempts to secure reuse for the existing buildings. The town of Rockport acquired the 7.6-acre property in 2009, including the 40,000-square-foot building, which was constructed in several stages beginning in 1954.

Demolition had been scheduled to begin in April and finish by June 2013, according to previously published reports. Rockport Public Works Director Steve Beveridge said the town hoped to have demolition completed before the arrival of any precipitation, as rain or snowfall would add weight to the existing detritus and incur increased disposal costs.

Neighboring select boards meet

For the first time in 122 years, the Camden and Rockport select boards met Jan. 29 to discuss ways to strengthen bonds between the two communities.

According to Rockport Select Board Chairman Bill Chapman, the two select boards had not jointly met since 1891.

Custodial service contracts considered

Supporters of retaining in-house custodial service for School Administrative District 28 and Five Town Community School District let their voices be heard through an online petition drive. School board members decided against outsourcing the service at the high school but have left the decision open at the elementary level, at least until the budget can be further defined. A study showed a potential cost savings of more than $100,000 if custodial service were contracted with an outside firm.

Voters approve local articles

Rockport residents approved all local articles at the polls Nov. 5.

On the ballot, a proposed change to the Shoreland Zone Overlay District was approved with a vote of 419 to 169. The change in the zoning added municipal buildings to the acceptable use section of the ordinance to allow governmental and institutional use in a Stream Protection District if also located in the Rockport Downtown District.

Renovation or new construction of the public library can take place at its existing location in the harbor village now that the change has been approved by voters. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection still must approve any changes to the library property.

A sewer ordinance amendment, a sewer extension bond and an amendment to public utility installation were all approved by residents.

Middle school renovations hashed out

Ideas for renovation of Camden-Rockport Middle School were discussed Oct. 24 by members of the public and the hired architects of the project.

Interested community members met with representatives of Oak Point Associates of Biddeford for a workshop to discuss what the community would like to see happen to the building and campus.

“We are here to get your input and ask the tough questions,” said Oak Point President Robert Tillotson. “You use it, love it and pay for it, so we want to make sure that we heard you and did what you asked for.”

Three breakout groups talked about building electrical and technology systems, exterior architecture and landscaping, and the physical building.

Anonymous donor helps fire department

A donor who wished to remain anonymous provided complete funding to replace Rockport Fire Department's aging hoses. Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley said the $15,000 donation allowed the department to update a majority of fire hoses carried on the trucks.

Larson leaves Rockport Public Library

After eight years of service to Rockport Public Library, Director Molly Larson stepped down in the beginning of November.

In a letter to the Friends of Rockport Library, Larson wrote that she was “taking a break from my nearly thirty years of working in public libraries to pursue educational and personal interest.”

She went on to write, “I have grown to love this town, its citizens and of course our library patrons.”

New tools for fire departments

Rockport Fire Department procured the funds to purchase badly needed extrication equipment that will be used to free victims from their vehicles after a serious crash. Camden Fire Department also purchased extrication equipment in anticipation of the closure of Camden First Aid Association.

New officers hired in Rockport, Camden

Cooper Plaisted and Jake Grinnell are the newest additions to the Rockport Police Department.

A 24-year-old Lincolnville native, Grinnell was home-schooled and participated in athletics at Camden Hills Regional High School, including basketball and baseball. Grinnell graduated from University of Maine at Augusta with an associate's degree in criminal justice. He gained experience in law enforcement working for both Damariscotta and Thomaston police departments.

A 2009 graduate of Hampden Academy, Plaisted attended University of Maine at Presque Isle, where he received a bachelor’s degree in outdoor recreation in May. He said growing up in Maine, he had aspirations of becoming a game warden, so while enrolled at UMPI, he also took classes in criminal justice.

Wes Butler, Tim Davis and Jeff Boudreau joined Camden Police and Dan Brown was promoted to sergeant, replacing Patrick Polky.

Butler joined the department full-time in July. He previously was a member of Rockport Police Department and Knox County Sheriff's Office. Butler has multiple certifications for training new officers, including defensive tactics, interactive use of force and field training officer. He lives in Camden.

Davis, a former corrections officer, joined Camden Police Department in July as a full-time officer. Prior to his law enforcement career, Davis was an overseas missionary in the Czech Republic and a carpenter. Davis, a resident of Appleton, has been a reserve officer and it is anticipated he will attend the Criminal Justice Academy next fall.

Boudreau is a full-time temporary officer. The recent Unity College graduate was training with Camden Police for several weeks until it was determined  whether he was a good fit for the community; Boudreau also is expected to attend the Criminal Justice Academy with Davis. Boudreau lives in Unity.

Public works over budget

A transcription error in Rockport’s local road projects line led to a shortfall in the town's public works budget.

This year’s public works budget was supposed to allow for 1,850 tons of asphalt to be purchased for resurfacing roads, but the final budget passed by the voters only asked for 850 tons — a 1,000-ton, $78,000 mistake.

“A mistake was made with no bad intent,” said Town Manager Richard Bates at the monthly meeting of the Rockport Select Board Sept. 9. “A transcription error somewhere along the line was not caught and [Public Works Director] Steve [Beveridge] was under the assumption that we had 1,850 tons of asphalt budgeted, when the number that was voted on and approved was 850 tons.”

Fire Department changes in Rockport

A changing of the guard continued at the Rockport Fire Department with the promotion of two firefighters and the resignation of one.

Longtime Deputy Chief Charles Knight stepped down from that position in June after decades serving the town of Rockport. Knight retained a position with the fire department and continued to serve his neighbors, according to William Chapman, chairman of the Rockport Select Board.

Former Assistant Chief and longtime Rockport firefighter Todd Philbrook was promoted to the position of deputy chief and John Wickenden was promoted to assistant chief.

Rockport hires town manager

After months of applications and interviews, the Rockport Select Board announced its choice for town manager Monday, June 17, during its board meeting at Rockport Opera House.

Richard C. Bates of Camden was offered and accepted the position, effective the following day, Tuesday, June 18. Bates replaced Roger Moody who had been interim town manager since February when previous Town Manager Robert Peabody resigned. The three-year contract will pay Bates $80,000 per year.

Select Board member Tracy Lee Murphy acknowledged the very hard work put in by the search committee and Select Board for producing a great list of candidates and said she feels, “Rick really is the best candidate for us and I feel that all the hard work shows.”

Graduation marked with advice

Camden Hills Regional High School Senior Class President Alex Crans offered words of advice to his classmates during their June 7 graduation: “Once you have reached as far as you can go, stretch and get one more inch.”

The Class of 2013 also heard from Salutatorian Sarah Mayberry and Valedictorian Sarah Scott, each with a message of hope for the future.

Technology changes at high school

The iPad is the technology device of choice at Camden Hills Regional High School for the next four years.

On May 29, the Five Town CSD School Board voted in favor of the Apple tablet rather than any of the other options approved by the state.

This year the state opened up the Maine Learning Technology Initiative — or MLTI program — to five different options. According to the state MLTI website, the preferred option is a Hewlett Packard ProBook 4400 laptop. The other three options are an HP ElitePad 700 tablet, an Apple MacBook Air and a CTL Classmate, as listed on the state website.

In years past, an Apple MacBook laptop running Mac OS X has been the state-preferred device.

Run for Your Life challenge

The “Run for your life” Emergency Service Challenge took place May 25 at Camden Snow Bowl despite Mother Nature’s best efforts to wash out the event.

More than 80 participants braved the elements for the event that raises money for Atlantic Engine Company 2 of Camden Fire Department, Camden First Aid Association and Hope Fire Department.

Competitors navigated a - kilometer course up one side of Ragged Mountain, across the top and down the other side. The course was loaded with obstacles and challenges that tested the participants to the extreme. Lifting cinder blocks, crawling under barbed wire, swimming and jumping over fire were some of the challenges put in the way of the finish line.

Little Andy fundraiser brings community together

“This is what Lincolnville does best” was the mantra for the night at an April 13 fundraiser for 3-year-old Andy O’Brien, who is battling brain cancer.

More than 600 people crowded Lincolnville Central School to show support for the O’Brien family.

In mid-February "little Andy," as he's become known in town, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

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