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LOOKING BACK: Issue of May 8, 2008

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Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 4:42 pm

Issue of May 8, 2008

More than 150 residents crowded into City Hall Monday night to make impassioned pleas to the South Portland City Council to keep allowing dogs on Willard Beach.

From senior citizens to parents with children, pet owners spoke for more than two hours about how much they enjoy visiting Willard Beach with their dogs and asked the City Council not to restrict their ability to walk their pets there.

The council chambers were so crowded that fire officials ordered people standing in doorways and seated on the floor to watch the proceedings on a TV set in a separate room downstairs, until it was their turn to speak.

“I appear here tonight on behalf of myself and my two dogs and the very small amount of freedom I am able to give them off leash at Willard Beach,” said Anthony Young, who lives at 23 Chase St.

“This is a piece of paradise hard to find elsewhere, and I am on the beach 365 days a year, sometimes twice a day,” said Young. “In all that time, I have never seen anything to validate the extreme complaints” from some beachfront residents.

A proposed $39 million school budget is in the hands of voters, after the South Portland City Council unanimously supported the 2008-2009 spending plan.

The new budget is up less than $1 million from the current spending plan. It calls for cutting up to nine staff positions, with most jobs eliminated through retirement or attrition. 

The need for cuts largely resulted from a $683,000 reduction in state funding.

With little fanfare and few questions Monday night, councilors approved nearly a dozen different “cost components,” or spending areas.

“We’ve never had this before,” Councilor Maxine Beecher noted of the numerous expenditures the City Council was asked to approve. Typically, the City Council is required to approve the final figure.

But a new state law mandated the separate votes for spending areas, all of which councilors approved unanimously.

Councilor Claude Morgan said school officials were able to meet targets set by the City Council for spending in 2008-09.

“The school department has come in under budget,” Morgan said, noting that he was not going to quibble with the multiple line items.

“I will vote for every resolve,” Morgan said, referring to the “cost components.”

Catherine Lorello-Snow, R.N., was inducted into the National Nurses Honor Society, Sigma Theta Tau, as a Community Nurse Leader, last Sunday at the University of New England.

Lorello-Snow, the 2005 Recipient of the Professional of the Year Award from NAMI-Maine (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is also a past nominee of the YWCA’s Woman of the Year Award and has received recognition within the leadership of the community for outstanding service to people with serious mental illness.

Lorello-Snow, of South Portland, has been a nurse in Greater Portland for 30 years.

Corry Pelsor, who grew up in South Portland, is the winner of the Comedy Connection’s Portland’s Funniest Professional contest.

In the 15th edition of the contest, Pelsor, 25, bested five other competitors May 1 for the title and $1,000 cash prize. A panel of judges rated performers on originality of material, stage presence and audience response.

Before volunteering to plan the Scarborough’s 350th Celebration, Lisa Downing already had an appreciation for the town, its landscape and its residents. But even after two decades of calling Scarborough her home, the Westchester, N.Y., native was surprised to discover the vibrant community of nonprofit groups and people working behind the scenes.

Though Downing, 46, has been involved in the schools, her church and youth sports, until last year, she didn’t know what went on at the fish and game club or where the historical society was located. Now, she’s been to the board meetings, she’s met the key players and she’s discovered a rich history that she never knew existed.

“I’m getting to know all kinds of people in Scarborough,” she said.

Although she doesn’t call herself a professional athlete, Jenn Goldblatt is by no means an amateur. 

“I’m a runner,” she said, which by many people’s standards would be considered an understatement.

The 28-year-old Scarborough resident recently completed a 50 kilometer (30 mile) road race in Connecticut, and has participated in full-length (26.2 mile) marathons on both coasts for the past eight years. Her next challenge will be the 350th Anniversary Triathlon in Scarborough.

The event, which is being organized by Portland-based company Tri-Maine, is expected to draw more than 300 athletes.

 of all skill levels on Saturday, July 13, during the 350th festivities. The course consists of a 1/3-mile swim off Scarborough Beach, a 15-mile ride on Black Point Road, and a 3-mile run on the Eastern Trail.  

A race of this length is known as a “sprint” triathlon, which is half the length of an Olympic triathlon, said Tri-Maine Executive Director Will Thomas. It’s a good starter race for those who have been hesitant about participating, said Thomas, because a beginner athlete can train adequately to compete in as little as six weeks. 

“I’ve never met anyone who has done one (triathlon) and not become addicted,” said Thomas, who has completed more than 50 triathlons. “It’s an incredible experience, the whole time you’re thinking about what comes next. You can’t really describe it.”

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