2012-11-09 / Community

Library rejected; incumbent loses re-election bid

By Jack Flagler
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND, CAPE ELIZABETH – The South Portland City Council will have a very different look this January, while the make up of the Cape Elizabeth School Board will stay exactly the same.

Voters in South Portland elected local real estate agent Melissa Linscott to replace incumbent Rosemarie De Angelis in the District 3 City Council seat. Linscott received 56 percent of votes casted, or 7,144 votes to De Angelis’ 5,514, which represented 43 percent of the vote.

De Angelis was mayor of South Portland in 2011. She was elected in 2009 for her second three-year term, having previously served on the council from 2004 to 2006. Neither De Angelis nor Linscott could be reached for comment before the Sentry’s deadline.

Linscott’s election in District 3 means she will be one of three new faces on the council in January. District 1 Councilor Tom Coward was unopposed in his bid to serve as a Cumberland County Commissioner in District 4. Linda Cohen was unopposed in District 4 to replace Maxine Beecher, who has served the maximum of three terms allowed under the city charter.

In Cape Elizabeth, voters decided not to approve a $6 million bond to rebuild the Thomas Memorial Library; 57 percent voted ‘no’ on the question.

RuthAnne Haley, chairman of the Thomas Memorial Library Board of Trustees, said the next steps for the facility are in the hands of the town council, which must decide whether it will pursue renovations to the aging building on Scott Dyer Road.

The Cape Elizabeth Town Council will have only one change next year. Local attorney Jamie Wagner will replace Sara Lennon, who decided not to run for reelection. James White and Jessica Sullivan were also re-elected; the three candidates ran unopposed for three seats.

On the Cape school board, voters decided to send all three incumbents back for another term. Kate Williams-Hewitt, John C. Christie III and David Hillman defeated challengers William Gross and Michael Goulding to win re-election.

Williams-Hewitt received the most votes in the five-person race with 3,236, or 28.5 percent of votes cast. Christie earned 2,629 votes and Hillman had 2,245. Gross received 1,753 votes. Goulding received 1,477.

Williams-Hewitt said she hopes the vote shows that Cape residents have confidence in the current group of school board members going forward.

“I’m hoping they liked what we did. I think we’ve added onto the work the people before us have done, and with the new superintendent I think we’ve done a nice job,” Williams-Hewitt said.

The school board appointed Meredith Nadeau as Cape Elizabeth’s superintendent of schools in 2011.

Williams-Hewitt said the school board has done an excellent job making decisions to protect Cape schools, but there is always more work to be done.

“We’re doing pretty well, but we want Cape not only comparative to Maine, but comparative to the United States and the world so our kids can get jobs and be welleducated,” Williams-Hewitt said.

Voter turnout in both South Portland and Cape Elizabeth was strong. According to unofficial results from South Portland City Clerk Sue Mooney, 81 percent of South Portland’s 17,966 registered voters either cast an absentee ballot or came to the polls on Tuesday.

Cape Elizabeth Town Clerk Debra Lane said she did not have an estimate on voter turnout in Cape Elizabeth because of a high number of same-day registrations. She said about 2,500 town voters sent in absentee ballots, down slightly from the 2008 presidential election.

But that doesn’t necessarily indicate a downturn in overall turnout from the last election. Lane said the lines in the Cape Elizabeth High School gymnasium were out the door and into the parking lot at the peak of the morning rush. Haley, who also is chairman of the Cape Elizabeth Republican Committee, said 1,700 votes were cast in town before noon.

Lane said the steady increase in absentee voting has changed the experience of Election Day over the years, but she was happy to see so many people take 15 or 20 minutes out of their day to vote. She called Election Day “The most difficult, yet rewarding” part of her position as town clerk.

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