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LOOKING BACK – 2/14

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Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:43 am

From the issue 
of Feb. 13, 2003

The Prouts Neck Country Club is asking for sand from the next dredging of the Scarborough River channel to save the second hole on its private, waterfront golf course, but Saco officials say that same sand could help save roads and nearly half a dozen homes in Camp Ellis.

Regardless of who receives the sand, it does not appear the federal government has plans to move forward with the dredging any time soon. There is no schedule yet set, and planners say the project could easily be delayed another two or three years.

But landowners affected by erosion along the coast are already getting in line for the nearly 100,000 cubic yards the dredge should yield.

“We are very sympathetic with the Camp Ellis people,” said Peter Talbot, a member of the Prouts Neck board of directors. “We are just all hoping there is a fair sharing of the resource.”

Although there was no official confirmation by press time, sources said Wednesday that Windham Superintendent of Schools Sue Gendron – formerly the assistant superintendent in Scarborough – is Gov. John Baldacci’s top candidate for commissioner of the Maine Department of Education.

Both Democratic and Republican local state legislators appear to be in support of the “tough love” direction Gov. John Baldacci’s trim budget proposal is heading in, although some have also expressed concerns about its impact on local property taxes.

Baldacci’s biennial budget would hold most expenditures steady, and reduce some line items, all in an effort to balance the budget without raising taxes.

Democratic state Sen. Peggy Pendleton, who represents part of Scarborough, said the governor and the Legislature have to be very careful about the cuts being proposed. “It’s fine for the governor to say no new taxes, but are we then just pushing the costs down to the towns, who may raise property taxes?” Pendleton asked.

A two-year engineering study of the Portland Water District’s entire distribution system has identified up to $200 million worth of necessary repairs and upgrades within existing service areas, primarily in the suburbs of Greater Portland.

The district’s board of trustees will be presented with recommendations by the Massachusetts engineering firm, Camp, Dresser and McKee, next month, the final step in an $800,000 engineering study the Water District commissioned in 2000. Trustees will then begin deciding what projects can happen, and in what order.

“The total price tag on all of the projects is between $150 and $200 million,” said Christopher Crovo, director of asset management and planning for the district. “We are still looking at each project now and prioritizing them.”

As war drums beat louder, many local servicemen and women already are on the move, getting ready to fight a war with Iraq. They leave behind families who anxiously watch the news and hope for their safe return.

Tyler Dunphy, the Westbrook school department’s network administrator, went on active duty two weeks ago, after being in the Army Reserves for the last two years. Dunphy said he was reluctant to leave behind his wife, who is pregnant with their first child.

“I don’t want to leave my wife with her baby,” said Dunphy. “I don’t want to leave my job. But this is a volunteer army, and I volunteered. So I go willingly.”

“I’m so proud of him,” Nancy Dunphy said of her husband. “I also know he’s proud to serve his country.”

The Westbrook school department threw a going away party for Dunphy the week before he left. Dunphy will return to his position in Westbrook after a year of active duty. He will keep tabs on school computers while he’s gone with his laptop and cell phone.

U.S. Marine Capt. John Ginn is on his way to the Middle East on an amphibious assault ship, the U.S.S. Saipan. Ginn, a helicopter pilot stationed at New River, N.C., flies AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters in support of combat troops on the ground and left Jan. 14.

“He seems to be doing very well,” said his father, Gregg Ginn of Cape Elizabeth. John has been training for this for several years. “He’s where John Ginn should be,” his father said.

John’s wife Jenn is well “under the circumstances,” Gregg said. “This is obviously one of those situations that nothing prepares you for.”

Gregg is also doing well.

“Worrying wouldn’t help me very much,” he said. He remains concerned for his son’s safety. “He’s constantly on our minds and in our prayers,” Gregg said.

Cape Elizabeth Town Councilors were taken by surprise Monday when School Board Chairman Marie Prager requested the council put off a referendum on a $1.5 million addition to Pond Cove School until November.

The School Board was initially hoping to go ahead with construction on the project no later than this fall, if it could get the council to support the costs of the project as a capital expense in the upcoming budget. Although councilors have not said outright they would not support such a move, no councilor appeared ready to do so when quizzed by Prager at a meeting between the two boards held two weeks ago.

Cape Superintendent Tom Forcella told about 70 people crowded into the Town Council chambers Feb. 6 to discuss teens, alcohol abuse and school policies that in terms of teen drinking Cape is “the most accepting” community he has seen and the culture needs to change.

The forum, hosted by the Cape Coalition, was entitled “Contracts and Consequences,” a subject of widespread community discussion in the wake of the suspensions of a basketball star and hockey player from their teams following a huge party at Sugarloaf over New Year’s.

Tom Hall of Scarborough and Dave Hughes of South Portland have been officially named to the United States Sailing Team in preparation for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Comprising the top five teams in the country, the U.S. Sailing Team is organized by the U.S. Sailing Association, the governing body for competitive sailing, and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Rumors abound that Billy Joel has bought a house in Cape Elizabeth, but it appears to be just a lark.

“As far as I know, Billy Joel has not bought a house in Maine,”  his publicist, Claire Mercuri of Columbia Records, told the Current.

The rumor has found its way to the schools, Town Hall, the police station, homes all over town and even the Sugarloaf ski area. But there is no record of any such deal in the property transfer records in the town assessor’ s office (current through Dec. 31), or at the county’ s registry of deeds (including deeds filed as recently as Feb. 7). Police have not received any requests to keep an eye on any property that might be owned by the singer, according to Capt. Brent Sinclair.

Several houses are rumored to be the one Joel has purchased, including one for sale in Delano Park and two on Shore Road.

Frank Strout of Shore Road said the house next door to his was taken off the market several weeks ago, but he doesn’ t know whether the house has been sold, or who the new neighbors might be.

“ As long as he doesn’ t play his piano too loud, I don’ t mind,”  Strout said of the prospect of Billy Joel living next door.

A Chinese teacher, Wu Shumei, better known as “ Mei,” will be visiting Pond Cove School for the rest of the academic year, sharing Chinese culture with the school’ s students, as well as children at the town’ s other schools.

At a welcoming party, Mei spoke with neighbors, kids, parents and friends about her school in China and her family, as well as her time in Maine. She is from Jiangxi province, in southeastern China, and teaches high school English at Linchuan High School Number 2.

Welcome to the discussion.