Upgrading Telstar’s Heating and Ventilation
Monday night SAD 44 held a public hearing on a District referendum issue up for vote on Nov. 6. Fewer than 20 people attended the hearing where Superintendent Murphy and two Honeywell engineers presented an overview on Telstar’s outdated (45 years old) heating and ventilation conditions.
In January 1967, bids were being sought for the construction of the junior-senior high school of SAD 44. The directors approved a total school budget of $790,000. Of this amount $321,000 was to be raised by member towns.
In February ’67, the directors of SAD 44 accepted a bid of $1,742,063 to construct the new junior-senior high school. Brown Construction Co. of Portland was awarded the contract. The name of “Telstar Regional High School” was chosen as the name of the new facility.
Now for the first time in 45 years, the Board is seeking approval to spend $2.5 million to make the heating system more efficient, but more importantly to rid classrooms of excessive levels of carbon dioxide. The urgency of starting this project, besides healthy common sense, is to take advantage of a no interest loan opportunity which expires at the end of 2012.
Overall the project will be paid for by drawing on the capital improvement account for $1.2 million and borrowing $1.3 million via a Qualified School Construction Bond – pay back on debt would be $65,000 per year for 20 years. Mr. Murphy pointed out that net debt payments by the District would be partly offset by declining water/sewer debt obligations.
In my opinion by far the most important part of this project is reducing classroom levels of carbon dioxide. Improved air quality in the present classrooms would be achieved by a heating/ventilation system that automatically brings in fresh air and warms the classroom by a means of air chemistry sensors and automatic heating. Honeywell estimates an energy savings of 20 percent over current energy costs which includes warming cold fresh air – intended to ward off student drowsiness and should vastly improve retention of the material being taught.
Bethel Fly In 2012
Sunday’s 4th Annual Fall Foliage Scenic Flights and Community Day program took advantage of a break in the weekend weather and volunteering by four pilots with planes to give air tours locally. Civil Air Patrol members and a Civil Air Patrol plane were also at the airport.
Civil Air Patrol
Former Mayville resident, Gary Brearley, a Captain in the Maine CAP – I never knew he was a pilot – was at the airfield when I visited around noontime. Gary told me about the Maine CAP’s flight training and aerospace education program that is available, if qualified, for Maine young people. Captain Brearley is the Squadron Commander of the Bethel Composite Squadron. He is an excellent point of contact for any Bethel area students interested in becoming a Civil Air Patrol Cadet. CAP Cadets are eligible for flight training if they have reached the age of sixteen and achieved prescribed programs; this year 18 attended the National Flight Academy's week- long training program at Bangor and soloed. They flew from the Old Town Airport.
Captain Brearley also pointed out that CAP Cadet Status is very helpful for anyone who might apply for entrance into a U.S. military academy, especially of course the US Air Force Academy. College scholarships are available also for those with CAP backgrounds. Norwich University in Vermont has participated in this type of program.
Contact Captain Gary Brearley for more information – local telephone 836-2534, cell phone 712-1273 and e-mail bluebear+Gmail.com.
To see a one-minute video of the noontime activity at Bethel Regional Airport – see YouTube http://youtube/Kso8FAtdgI
Last Thursday the historical society held an open house for what was termed artifacts that had been concealed and now were revealed. Two items came with a special story – a portrait and a dentist’s drill.
First, the portrait – an excellent painting of Roxanna Twitchell who was one of the many, many Twitchells of Mayville – showed off the dress and hair styles of mid-Nineteenth Century – in Bethel anyway. She was born in 1816 and died in 1892. After her marriage to another Twitchell, Alphin, she lived where Norm and Sylvia Clanton’s big white house is today although in a smaller earlier version of the one you see. One of Alphin and Roxanna’s daughters, Mary Ella, married a well-to-do Portland gentlemen, a dry goods merchant, named Edward C. Chamberlain. In 1888 the Chamberlains moved to Bethel and built a much larger home where his wife had grown up – the one you see today.
Their youngest daughter was named Alice and she became the girlfriend of Edwin Gehring. The young couple were both Gould Academy students. Edwin was the nephew of Dr. Gehring and lived at the big house at the end of Broad Street. Edwin was living with the Gehrings when the old Dr. N.T. True house burned in 1896 and the numerous Gehrings who had been living there spent the spring and summer as guests in the Bethel House while the new Gehring home, the one you see today, was being built. Edwin Gehring graduated from Bowdoin with an MD in 1904 and he and Alice Chamberlain were married. He became a well-known Maine physician practicing in Portland, Maine and is listed in the Who‘s Who of New England. Edwin died in 1953 and Alice in 1965; they are buried in Riverside Cemetery.
William Bingham 2nd's private dental chair and drill probably has a certain measure of curious attraction, an insight into how completely Mr. Bingham defended his privacy. Although I’m not sure who donated these items to the Society, another similar piece was Mr. Bingham’s barber chair. This item was donated by Laurel Blossom, a grand niece. In 1841 Henry Blossom and William Bingham (our William’s grandfather) joined as partners in buying a Cleveland hardware business. In 1881 Dudley Blossom married William Bingham II’s sister Elizabeth. So the Binghams and Blossoms had a long family and business connection.
Jump ahead to 2007. It would seem that Laurel Blossom kept abreast of Bethel affairs over the years because she was one of the donors to a special fund raised to help pay for restoring a section of the Riverside Cemetery river bank washed away by flooding and which threatened a number of graves. At the time Laurel Blossom was living in Edgefield, S.C.
At the end of the last selectmen’s meeting, a question came up about is there anything to be done about the Casablanca building now that the cinema has closed? The question is what is to be done about the Casablanca? Selectman Bennett remarked that “doing something” hinged on the Bethel population’s market potential. In other words the Casablanca was supposed to be the signature building, the logo, the brand of the Bethel Station development of “transportation, restaurants, retail, residential, hotel and entertainment facilities…set on 70 acres” which never happened.
Without the influx of people which Bethel Station was supposed to attract, Bethel’s market potential is down to the town’s population of 2,500 people plus those living in the 15 miles or so of surrounding area. The Bethel Station newsletter of September 1996 stated that summer vacation travel on Routes 2 and 26 from New Hampshire, Vermont and Canada generates an average daily traffic flow of 24,445 past the Bethel Station project (which would have included the Casablanca building). Plus the Silver Bullet Express Ski Train operating in winter months between Portland and Bethel would be stopping at the new Bethel Station train station.
In a study by the University of Missouri “Potential for Retail Trades in Rural Communities” the list of retail businesses that could be sustained in a Bethel type of market area generally match what we already have: grocery, lumber yard, hardware store, lawn and garden supply, sporting goods or bicycles, drug store and businesses mostly calling for a labor force of one or two people. Book stores for instance called for a market area population of 41,000.
Invest in Main Street
Another factor which makes the Casablanca a market place white elephant is Main Street’s importance to the town’s existing shops and services. If you talk to the businesses on Main Street, many will say that a good percentage of their business comes from visiting tourists – particularly those strolling down Main Street, second home owners and Sunday River.
And a Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, a whoppingly huge private investment, will make Main Street more than just increasingly attractive to those visiting Bethel and potential visitors from far away. Spruced up sidewalks and maybe a few more decorative street lights would help for the early fall months.
Bethel’s current intention to update its Comprehensive Plan should help better define the village’s future business outlook and what needs to be done by the town to strengthen private investments along Main Street.
Bethel’s existing Main Street businesses would probably like to get a few more shoppers from that summer stream of 24,000 that go through town every day.
Steve Hastings is still optimistic though and holds on to his Bethel Station gift certificate for four nights stay in the new hotel – his prize for suggesting the name Bethel for the then new station.