The Limington Free Press
The People of Limington's On-Line Newspaper for News and Opinion
April 4, 2002     Volume 2 Number 2     Index

Fire & EMS Chief Submits Resignation
Also in this issue:
Town Meetings Broadcast Live
Recycling comes to the Municipal Center
Proposed Tucker Road Development

Fire & EMS Chief Submits Resignation
Selectmen's Behavior Forces Fire & EMS Chief To Resign.

Guest Editorial by Peter Stebbins

    At a recent Fire and EMS Business Meeting held on April 1st, Robert Brown, Chief of Limington Fire and EMS, announced that he had submitted his resignation to the Selectmen the previous week.  It was with great sadness that the department members learned that the Selectmen are not ready to work with a full time Fire and EMS Chief.  Over the past year Chief Brown's department funding, previously approved by the townspeople during Town Meeting, had been intentionally withheld by Selectmen, therefore, disabling his ability to fulfill Federally mandated and general budgeted requirements for the department.  One recent example is failure by the Selectmen to approve a Purchase Order for film, a mere $5.00, that was submitted to the Selectmen earlier this year.  The film is carried on Rescue, and it is used for documentation at medical calls that turn out to also be crime scenes.  To this day we still do not have the film.  This constant pettiness over expenditures created unnecessary tension between the Select Office and the Fire Department.

Fire Dept Seal
Fire Department seal from the T-shirt of a volunteer
    The straw that broke the camel's back for Chief Brown came, during his recent vacation, when the Selectmen went behind his back and appointed a full slate of Officers without his knowledge or approval.  Questions posed by department members regarding the qualifications of these individuals, the process and the criteria by which they were chosen, and a basis for the Selectmen's decisions concerning their appointment have been repeatedly ignored!

    What does this ultimately mean for the Town of Limington?  Chief Brown's Paramedic licensing level allows the Town to maintain a drug box on the Rescue unit.  The drug box is used primarily for heart issues and / or severe trauma injuries.  Without a Paramedic, the drug box will be removed from the Rescue Unit by Southern Maine EMS.  Those calls will, therefore, have to be referred to mutual aid; i.e. Standish Rescue, Limerick, etc.  Time is usually of the essence! And calling for mutual aid will not aid in life threatening issues.

    The Selectmen promised members of the Fire & EMS dept when they hired Chief Brown that "new and good times" were ahead for the department.  As I see it, the future holds demoralized members, longer response times for Rescue, and fragmented department policies and procedures only to be redefined and implemented by someone who does not hold Firefighter I training or EMS knowledge.


    What is it going to take for the Selectmen to leave the Fire and EMS Department alone?  Our budget is approved at Town Meeting.  At least allow the Chief to do what he was hired to do.  The Chief is leaving because the Selectmen in their infinite wisdom refused to let him do his job.  Consequently, as a result of the Selectmen's inappropriate decisions the townspeople's lives and safety will be put on the line yet again.

Editor's note: The resignation is effective at the end of the chief's contract.

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Live from Limington Center

Town meetings are now broadcast live on local cable.

All stories by Dick Jarrett

    Thanks to the efforts of cable representative Forrest Tripp, volunteers, Saco River Cable TV, and Aldephia Cable, Limington meetings can now be broadcast live from the Limington Municipal Center.  Normally, government cable channel 5 shows recorded announcements and meetings to all of the surrounding towns served by SRC-TV.  With the new setup, as soon as a video camera is plugged into the transponder at the municipal center, the live feed overrides the recorded programming and the signal is broadcast live.  However, the live Limington signal is only transmitted to Limington households.  The surrounding towns have a similar setup where their town halls can transmit live signals to their respective towns.

    The first meeting to be broadcast live from Limington was the March 2nd, 2002 Annual Town meeting.  Currently Planning Board and committee meetings are being broadcast live.  The recorded Limington meetings are still broadcast on Wednesdays.  The biggest problem today is the lack of good microphones, a problem that has resulted in poor sound quality for some meetings.  There is cable franchise fee money available to improve the system and could be spent after the Selectmen finish evaluating proposals for these improvements.

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Silver Bullet comes to the Municipal Center

RSW Silver Bullet
RWS "Silver Bullet" recycling dumpster
    In an effort up increase recycling in Limington, a recycling container (silver bullet) has been located in the parking lot of the Limington Municipal Complex.  Limington's recycling rate has been low due partially to the fact that previously a recycling container was only available when the transfer station was open.  (That container is still available.) Now Limington residents can drop off their recyclables at anytime at the municipal center. 
Regional Waste Systems has also modified what can be recycled: Now colored plastics labeled number 1 (PETE) or number 2 (HDPE) can be recycled along with the milk containers.  However, automotive containers will contaminate the plastics and should be disposed of with the traditional trash.  See the RWS website for specific guidelines on recycling.  Recycling saves money: every pound of recyclables that is removed from the waste stream saves the Limington taxpayers money.  Currently trash disposal is one of the largest single expenditures of your local tax dollars.

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Proposed Tucker Road Development Worries Horne Pond Residents

Two streams that flow into the pond pass through the proposed subdivision.

    One of the things that Limington residents cherish is their clean water resources.  So what does a proposed development on Tucker Road have to do with the water quality of Horne Pond?  One of the greatest threats to any great pond such as Horne Pond is the additional phosphorus caused by development which can flow into the lake.  Both phosphorus and nitrogen act as a fertilizer which helps algae and other water plants grow.  In extreme cases, an algae "bloom" can occur in which the plants grow uncontrollably.  Once there are more plants than the lake can support, the plants can die off and use up all of the oxygen in the water, effectively killing the lake for both plants and fish (eutrification).

Location Map
USGS Map showing streams, Horne Pond, and approximate development location
    So how does the phosphorus get into the water?  Many people think of streams as just a channel for water.  However, those gravel stream banks are far more porous than people realize.  Water is continually flowing in and out of streams from the surrounding (underground) groundwater as well as being filled by the storm water run-off.  This is one reason why streams still flow long after the last rainstorm.  Remember the push to remove phosphates from laundry detergent a few years back?  Those phosphates (a form of phosphorus) have to go somewhere and even after being "disposed of" in an underground septic system, they oftentimes end up in our streams and ponds.  Likewise the fertilizers spread on lawns soak into the ground and can end up in the streams.  Two important components of these lawn fertilizers are.... phosphorus and nitrogen! And every time the gravel on a gravel driveway is disturbed, phosphorus can be released and washed into the stream by the next storm.

    There are two streams that flow through the proposed Tucker Road subdivision and the streams flow directly into Horne Pond.  Subdivision driveways may have to cross the streams.  Fortunately, local and state laws require close scrutiny of the phosphorus problem and steps can be taken to minimize the phosphorus loading of Horne Pond.  It will be up to the Planning Board to ensure that the developer has taken precautions to keep the phosphorus and nitrogen levels at the same concentration as the undeveloped land.  A public hearing has been scheduled for this subdivision on April 11th.  Selectman Michael York was representing the developer, his step-father Dennis Sweatt, in the proceedings before the Planning Board.  As of press time, the plans for the four lot subdivision were not available from the Town Clerk.

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