By Elna Seabrooks
HOULTON — At a time when many non-profits are struggling to survive, Empowering Life, a Houlton faith-based counseling and training center, turned a corner in the opposite direction and made a donation to Houlton. Dale Flewelling presented a check to Walter Goodrich, chairman pro tem, on behalf of the organization located on Military Street “in lieu of taxes to contribute to the tax base of the community” and said he hopes it will continue on a regular basis. “We realize we are beneficiaries of essential services, such as all non-profits, so, that’s our way of saying ‘thank you’.” He also presented to Brian Donnelly a photo album documenting the group’s activities.
Helping with food and heat
Flewelling, during pubic comments, spoke of the “invaluable and, in many cases, irreplaceable” contributions of all non-profits to local communities and Empowering Life’s efforts to assist local residents through outreach with the assistance of young and adult volunteers. The group has been harvesting donated produce and delivering it to various food pantries and agencies. He said the goal is to supply all food pantries in Aroostook with fresh produce throughout the summer and continue to connect local resources with local needs.
With the help of volunteers and wood donated by local contractors, Empowering Life has been processing and delivering free firewood to residents who need assistance to heat their homes. At this point, Flewelling requested the town, and any other potential donors, to consider the group’s “Operation Winter Heat” for a donation of wood that might otherwise be disposed of by burning. Flewelling, at this point, mentioned that he learned of a family’s heating hardship when a teacher related the situation of some young children who had to sleep in their snowsuits all winter to keep warm at night.
New police officers
Police Chief Butch Asselin introduced two new patrolmen. Asselin said he was pleased to announce that Fred Parker, a retired police sergeant from Delray Beach, Fla, and Kris Calaman, who will go to the academy in January, have joined the department. Both men expressed their enthusiasm about their new positions.
At this point, a brief Houlton Town Council meeting got under way before councilors went into executive session. The council unanimously approved including Dickison Lane (off Columbia Street) in Chapter 12 Streets and Public Ways, Article IV Addressing Ordinance, Municipal Streets & Roads for 9-1-1 purposes. It will remain a private road and will not be maintained by the town.
The council unanimously approved the following Special Amusement Permits for Dancing and Entertainment renewals: Lounge Downunder, Inc. at 282 North Street, Houlton Lodge of Elks No. 835 at 86 Main St. Brian Donnelly abstained from the vote regarding the Elks due to his employment by the group.
The council also unanimously approved the following: renewal of a liquor license for the Houlton Lodge of Elks No. 835 at 86 Main St.. Donnelly abstained; expenditure of funds for current departmental expenses in the period between the beginning of the fiscal year and the adoption of the budget chargeable to the appropriations for FY 2009; acceptance of the resignation of Michael R. White as a member of the Planning Board; execution of the easement from Mary R. Hatfield to the town for land to be used for the Riverfront Trailhead Stairway Project. Sue Tortello asked if there was a possibility of nullification due to possible delays and non-use for a year. Town Manager Douglas Hazlett said materials have been purchased and stored for construction to begin in the spring; ratification of the union contract with the Fire Department. Hazlett remarked that this is the final union contract and it is similar or identical to the other union contracts.
After brief remarks by Donnelly on the need for caution on the streets and roads due to icy conditions and by John Fitzpatrick that he will be out of town and not at the next meeting, the council voted to go into Executive Session to discuss economic development and the personnel evaluation of the town manager.
The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 22 at 6:30 p.m.
By Elna Seabrooks