2013-01-04 / Front Page

Year in Review

A look back at 2012 in Scarborough
By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

The girls’ lacrosse team was one of the seven Red Storm athletic teams that won state championships in 2012 when it beat Brunswick High School 11-9 on June 16. It was the team’s third straight state title. (File photo) The girls’ lacrosse team was one of the seven Red Storm athletic teams that won state championships in 2012 when it beat Brunswick High School 11-9 on June 16. It was the team’s third straight state title. (File photo) A lot has happened in Scarborough over the course of the last 12 months. In no particular order, the Leader has compiled a list of the top stories of 2012.

STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

This year was a banner year for Scarborough High School athletic teams. Red Storm teams won seven state championships, including Class A titles in boys’ and girls’ indoor track, girls’ outdoor track, boys’ and girls’ lacrosse and, most recently, boys’ and girls’ soccer.

The winning ways began in February when seniors Nicole Kirk and Emily Tolman lead the girls’ indoor track team to its eighth straight state championship and the boy’s indoor track team squeaked past Deering High School for a state title of its own, thanks to wins in both the 4x200 relay and 4x800 relay.

Kirk and Tolman were able to continue the success, leading the girls’ outdoor track team to its fifth state title in seven years. The meet was originally cut short on June 2 due to weather, but the Red Storm emerged victorious days later after seniors Catherine Bailey and Andrea Tolman placed second and fifth respectively in the pole vault.

Scarborough High School students didn’t have to wait long for another state title. Less than two weeks later, on June 16, both the boys’ lacrosse team and girls’ lacrosse team captured state titles at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. The girls’ team beat Brunswick High School 11-9, thanks to the offensive attack of seniors Laura Przbylowicz, Mary Scott and Kelsey Howard, who scored the game winner with 13:29 left in the game. It was the team’s third straight state title.

“It feels great, Przybylowicz said after the game. “We stepped up to the challenge. We knew it was going to be a tough game. We had to go out and play our best.”

A three-peat was also in the cards for the boys’ team, which beat Cheverus High School 9-4. The win was made possible due to five straight goals in the second half. The offense was lead by Ryan Pallotta who had five goals and an assist in the game.

“For him to step up and have a great game in the biggest game we have played this season was huge,” said coach Joe Hezlep after the win.

The championships didn’t end with the lacrosse teams. On Nov. 3, both the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams earned state titles at Hampden Academy, with the boys’ team shutting out Mt. Ararat High School 4-0 and the girls’ team battling Bangor High School to a 2-1 win.

While the winning goal in the boys’ game was scored with a mere 1:30 played in the game, the girls’ game came down to double overtime. The game was decided early in the second overtime period when Sarah Martens fired a shot passed Bangor goaltender Cordelia Stewart. It was Martens’ 20th goal of the season, which broke a school record.

“I just saw where the goalie was and I saw the hole,” Martens said minutes after being mobbed by her teammates in celebration. “I wanted that goal so bad.”

WEGMAN COMPANIES

After months of outcry from residents in the area, on Monday, Sept. 17, the Scarborough Planning Board approved a proposal from Wegman Companies to create an 81-unit assisted living facility on the corner of Black Point Road and Route 1.

The project, which will include a mixture of one-bedroom and studio apartments and include 20 dementia units, was a topic of concern for Friends of Oak Hill, a neighborhood group that formed this spring to fight the development moving into the area. Among the group’s greatest concerns were the amount of traffic the facility would generate and how the stormwater run-off would be managed.

Wegman Companies, which retained Andrew Johnston, a senior civil engineer from SMRT to help them through the permitting process, appeared before the board a number of times over the last year amending their plan to meet Planning Board approval. In an effort to help ease traffic congestion in the Oak Hill intersection – which is located 300 feet away – Wegman Companies agreed to add a sidewalk in front of their property to keep pedestrians from walking in the road, widen Black Point Road and construct a left-turn only lane to enter the development.

Any work that gets done on site this fall, Johnston said, would be preparatory in nature. The bulk of the work, beginning with the road improvements, would begin in the spring.

Planning Board member Ron Mazer said with the traffic improvements and the stormwater management plan neighbors may seen a benefit to the facility moving in.

“I think this will be a welcomed addition to that section of town and have a positive impact on the neighborhood and not a negative one,” he said.

BLACK POINT BEACH EXPANSION

As it turned out opposition to the proposed Black Point Beach Park was much ado about nothing. On Feb. 1, the Sprague Corporation pulled its plan of developing a 65- acre piece of farmland property at 388 Black Point Road into a beach park complete with a 370-vehicle parking lot and multi-use concession stand bath house building.

Seth Sprague, president of the Sprague Corporation, indicated at the time the plan was pulled not because of the negative reaction to it by neighbors, but because it was starting to become financially burdensome to pursue it any further.

“Regrettably, the economics of our proposed project could not survive the rigors of the public process,” he said in a prepared statement. “Over the last 14 months, each and every step of the process has resulted in added costs and reduced viability. We believe,

had we persisted, we would have received the final permits required, overcome any legal challenges, and created a facility for Scarborough and greater Portland area of which we would have been proud. Unfortunately that is not enough to overcome the financial realities.”

Sprague has said the intention was to improve access to Scarborough Beach, which is located right next to the proposed beach park property.

A major concern regarding the project for those who live on or around Black Point Road was the amount of traffic that would be created by a 370-vehicle lot and the pollution and noise the parking lot would create for the residences next to the development.

“The traffic problem has always been bad. The road wasn’t constructed for this type of traffic,” said Tom Skolfield, a resident of Winnocks Neck Road

Several people who live in the Black Point area of town, including Lucy Lacasse, said the project had the power to change the neighborhood forever. Others were concerned about the effect the project would have on the environment, especially the piping plover population

“This huge project will change the character of the Black Point area, which my family, as well as many others, call home,” she said at a Planning Board meeting in January.

HIGH SCHOOL PARKING

Despite organized student opposition, the Scarborough Board of Education voted 6-1 to charge high school students $50 a year, or $25 a semester to use the parking lot. Jackie Perry was the only board member to vote against implementing the fees and even went so far as making a motion to eliminate them after hearing student comments at the Aug. 16 meeting. However, she was the only one to vote in favor of the fee elimination.

There had been some talk at the meeting that students were planning to boycott the lot if the board adopted the fee, but that idea was dropped before the beginning of the school year in September.

The money collected will go toward the general school district budget. The fees are to help raise an additional $50,000 that has been built into the budget. It was the only new fee that was proposed for the 2012-2013 school year.

At a July Board of Education meeting, Superintendent George Entwistle said the board decided during budget deliberations this spring to collect approximately $50,000 in additional revenue through student fees, in part to offset losses in other sources of revenue.

“The policy came out of the board really taking a look and thinking about where we would get additional sources of revenue. They recognized we provide public transportation for our students, so driving to school is sort of a privilege. It is another way for the students and the parents of the student to support the local budget,” Entwistle said.

High School principal Dean Auriemma said last week that he does not anticipate any changes to the way the parking system works for the second half of the year, which started Wednesday, Jan. 2, when students returned from winter break.

Making sure students adhere to the system, which requires them to buy a parking pass if they will be parking in the high school lot, has also not been a problem, Auriemma said.

FIREWORKS

When the Scarborough Town Council passed an ordinance to allow the use of consumer fireworks back in March, councilors feared enforcement would be an issue.

Now, with consumer fireworks being easier to get than ever due to the opening of Phantom Fireworks in the Gallery Shoppes and Atlas Fireworks at 374 Route 1, Scarborough Police are trying to spread the word about when and where consumers can use fireworks.

While consumer fireworks can be purchased at anytime of year, they can be used only during a five day period around the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day. This year the dates when consumer fireworks can be used are Tuesday, July 3, Thursday, July 5, and Jan. 1 from 9 a.m. to 10p.m., and Wednesday, July 4 from and Monday, Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Scarborough was one of several communities that passed ordinances to regulate firework use.

The July 4 holiday, a popular time for consumer fireworks, came and passed without any major issues in town.

“In terms of injuries or fires, we haven’t had any, but dispatch has fielded 54 complaints since (July 1),” said Scarborough Police Chief B. Michael Thurlow on the afternoon of July 6. “The activity was certainly up and most of the complaints came because people were not following the ordinance properly.”

Thurlow said many of the complaints fielded in July came because people were shooting fireworks off on public property, outside the permitted dates and times, or due to children using fireworks.

We have had a number of nuisance complaints, but there has been significant injuries and fires elsewhere, so there has certainly been some repercussions,” Thurlow said.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENVISIONING

Susan DeWitt-Wilder, a member of Citizens for a Green Scarborough, said Scarborough might be a different place if Rachel Carson, a scientist and founder of the modern environmental movement, had never existed. Carson’s book, “Silent Spring,” which was released 50 years ago last month, helped to force people to rethink how they treated the natural world around them.

To honor the release of the book and to plan for the town’s own environmental future, 30 individuals convened at the Scarborough Public Library on Monday, Oct. 1.

“If there hadn’t been a Rachel Carson, we might have taken a different course,” said DeWitt-Wilder.

The goal of the meeting, DeWitt-Wilder said, was to create a “working paper” that could be distributed around Scarborough, including to the Town Council, Planning Board and Long Range Planning Committee.

The meeting, which was sponsored by Citizens for a Green Scarborough, comes 10 years after another group of residents first met to discuss the future of the environment in town.

After meeting in small groups to come up with environmental goals, the group as a whole decided that hiring a conservation officer was the top priority, followed by increasing biking and pedestrian safety and increased environmental education kindergarten and beyond. Continuing the effort to encourage homeowner to use organic pesticides rather than synthetic pesticides was the final environmental policy the group determined.

DeWitt-Wilder said in an effort to continue the education into organic pesticides, a public forum has been scheduled for Monday, Jan. 14 at Town Hall. The forum is sponsored by the conservation commission and Citizens for a Green Scarborough. It will feature 

a series of speakers, including: Peter Slovinsky, chairman of the conservation commission; Chip Osborne, chairman of Osborne Organics; Marla Zando, former executive director of the Scarborough Land Conservation Trust and Dave Melevsky, president of Go Green Landscaping, the organic turf management firm that the town hired to oversee its pest management efforts.

BUDGETS

The vote on the $37.4 million Scarborough School Department budget came down to less than 100 votes. On Tuesday, May 15, 54 percent of the 1,268 voters who went to the polls approved the budget.

Superintendent of Schools George Entwistle said his original $39.16 million budget was in response to the community’s expectations from the Oct. 24 community dialogue. It was an increase of $3.5 million over the $35.65 million budget voters approved at the school validation vote in May 2011. After additional review by the school leadership team, school board and town council finance committee the increase was pared down to $1.8 million.

The budget process for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1, will soon get underway. A public presentation and the Board of Education’s first reading of Entwistle’s budget is scheduled for Thursday, March 7 in the council chambers.

Town Manager Tom Hall will present his budget to the Town Council two weeks later, on Wednesday, March 20. A public hearing on both budgets will be held Wednesday,April 10 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. The council’s finance committee is expected to make its final budget recommendations Tuesday, April 16 at 8 a.m. in Town Hall.

The school board is expected to make its final decision on the budget at a special meeting Monday, April 22, with the council’s final decision on its budget coming Wednesday, May 1. The validation on the school budget is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 14.

EDUCATION GRANTS

The Scarborough Education Foundation, set up in late 2011 to fund innovative programs and initiatives not funded in the traditional school budget, awarded two rounds of grants in 2012.

In its first year of grant making, the Foundation wanted to promote programs that help fulfill the vision of the best educators, stimulate creative thinking and instruction and provide unique learning opportunities in Scarborough.

The educational funding would not have been possible without assistance from the Louis and Tina Fineberg Trust, a trust longtime Scarborough resident Louis Fineberg created in memory of his wife, Tina.

Fineberg has committed $100,000 over the next 10 years to help the foundation fund grant requests and make sure the district’s nutritional program remains funded.

This spring, the foundation awarded $11,000 to nine grant recipients, including funding for a poetry slam and school store at Scarborough High School, GPS technology for third and fourth grade students at Wentworth Intermediate School, iPads and stability balls at Scarborough Middle School, books for Pleasant Hill Primary School and digital cameras for students at the middle school and Blue Point Primary School. The foundation also provided funding for a unit on Wampanoags and Pilgrims for first grade students at Eight Corners Primary School.

In December, the education foundation handed out $10,387 in grants, including funding for alternative seating in one classroom at Wentworth Intermediate School; a multi-language theater project for students at Wentworth and Blue Point School; the alternative education program at Scarborough High School; technology for three foreign language classrooms at Scarborough Middle School; a physical education manual for Blue Point; partial funding for a student documentary project at Scarborough High School and document cameras at Wentworth. 

WINSLOW HOMER STUDIO

After a six-year renovation process, the public had an opportunity this fall to experience Winslow Homer’s art studio the way he did for the last 27 years of his life.

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, the Portland Museum of Art began offering tours of the artist’s studio at 5 Winslow Homer Drive in Prouts Neck that Homer used for the last three decades of his life. The studio was named a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

The Portland Museum of Art purchased the 2,200- square-foot studio in 2006


Members of the public had a chance to see Prouts Neck as Winslow Homer saw it during the 27 years the famed Maine painter lived in Scarborough when the Portland Museum of Art completed a years-long restoration of Homer’s artist studio in September. (File photo) Members of the public had a chance to see Prouts Neck as Winslow Homer saw it during the 27 years the famed Maine painter lived in Scarborough when the Portland Museum of Art completed a years-long restoration of Homer’s artist studio in September. (File photo)

 from Charles Homer Willauer, the great-grandnephew of Winslow Homer. Since then, the property has undergone extensive renovations and museum staff raised more than $10 million to acquire the property, preserve it and operate it as a museum.

“For the first time ever people can head out to the studio and experience it like Winslow Homer did when he lived and worked in Maine,” said Mark Bessire, director of the Portland Museum of Art.

Winslow Homer lived and worked in the studiofrom 1883 until his death in 1910.

“The people of the state of Maine value art and culture so much so that in the most difficult economic time since the Great Depression, they delved deep into their pockets and supported this project. That says so much,” said Julie Richard, the new director of the Maine Arts Commission.

Kristin Levesque, Portland Museum of Art’s director of public relations, said 1,800 people were able to tour the studio from Sept. 25 to Dec. 2, when tours ended for the year.

The reopening of the studio co

incided with “Weatherbeaten: Winslow Homer in Maine,” an exhibition that brought to Portland 35 pieces Homer did at the end of his career while he lived in Scarborough. The pieces were drawn from private and public collections all across the country.

The exhibit, Levesque said, broke an attendance record for the month of November. According to a release from the museum, the exhibit attracted more than 22,000 visitors and quadrupled the number of new members for the month.

WENTWORTH SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

At long last, the dream of a new Wentworth Intermediate School became a reality this year. On Oct. 18, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to kick off the twoyear project to construct a new school for students in third, fourth and fifth grade. The new 163,000 square foot school is being constructed adjacent to the existing school, which has been plagued with heath concerns and space constraints for years.

Project Manager Ken Clarke, of Arthur C.Dudley Contractor and Builder – the firm constructing the school – said because the construction site is so close to an operating school, the construction schedule must be planned very carefully.

Last week Phil LeClaire, the owner’s representative on the project, said construction has gone as planned.

“It’s gone very well. They have the foundation for one whole wing of the building and the structural steel is in the air for some of the classrooms,” LeClaire said, adding more than 35 geothermal wells to heat the school have already been dug.


Construction of the new Wentworth Intermediate School began in October after Harriman Associates architect Dan Cecil; building principal Anne Mayre Dexter; former Board of Education chairman Bob Mitchell; project manager Ken Clarke, of Arthur C.Dudley Contractor and Builder; and Wentworth building committee chairman Paul Koziell broke ground on the construction site. (File photo) Construction of the new Wentworth Intermediate School began in October after Harriman Associates architect Dan Cecil; building principal Anne Mayre Dexter; former Board of Education chairman Bob Mitchell; project manager Ken Clarke, of Arthur C.Dudley Contractor and Builder; and Wentworth building committee chairman Paul Koziell broke ground on the construction site. (File photo)

This winter, he said, the public can expect additional steel work and the exterior walls of the schools to begin taking shape.

“The weather has been fantastic. The team work down there has been excellent,” said Paul Koziell, chairman of the school building committee. “Everyone is working together and it shows.”

Once the school is completed in fall 2014, it will be a welcomed sight for building principal Anne-Mayre Dexter and the other educators who work in the building.

“Back in 1992, I began to hear, as a principal, that Wentworth needed to be renovated,” Dexter said during comments at the groundbreaking ceremony. “Over the next 20 years, I worked with three different architects and four different building committees. Each of them were dedicated to seeing the needs of Wentworth students met.”

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