2013-05-24 / Community

Curious about compost

Councilor ‘disrespected’


Dyer School teacher Sara Foster shows students a decomposed pear from the school’s compost as firstgrader Parker Supos (left) looks on at the school’s Greening Day, held Wednesday, May 15. Students from the elementary school mulched, picked up trash and learned more about keeping their school grounds green at the second annual event. The following day, students at the Kaler School participated in their own Greening Day. (Jack Flagler photo) Dyer School teacher Sara Foster shows students a decomposed pear from the school’s compost as firstgrader Parker Supos (left) looks on at the school’s Greening Day, held Wednesday, May 15. Students from the elementary school mulched, picked up trash and learned more about keeping their school grounds green at the second annual event. The following day, students at the Kaler School participated in their own Greening Day. (Jack Flagler photo) The South Portland City Council unanimously voted to send the $43 million school budget to voters next month, but Councilor Alan Livingston had some stern words for school department officials before he entered his vote of approval.

Livingston was removed from the South Portland High School Building Committee two years ago after a dispute concerning a new washer and dryer in the athletic facilities. When the council brought forth his name again this year for the committee, the board of education blocked the appointment. Livingston said he feels slighted and disrespected by the department’s actions.

“Can I trust a school board that doesn’t want to show respect to me?” Livingston asked at the council meeting Monday, May 20. “Tonight I may vote for this (budget) because I think it’s correct. Yet it’s a two-way street, and I don’t feel I’ve been given the respect I deserve. I could be a great ally, yet all I get told is, ‘You’re not worthy. You’re not capable of being on a committee.’”

Livingston, a former school board member, specifically criticized Superintendent Suzanne Godin in his comments.

“The superintendent will disagree with this, but when I was first was on the board, when I had my first conversation, she told me they’re the experts, they do all the research, and therefore I’m to believe what they tell me. That’s what I was told. She’ll deny that, but that’s what I was told in my first meeting.”

Godin and School Board Chairman Rick Carter, whom Livingston also mentioned, were present at the meeting, but did not respond to the comments. Godin shook her head when Livingston described their first meeting.

Mayor Tom Blake briefly interrupted Livingston to ask the councilor to stick to the motion on the floor.

“I think that would be more productive,” Blake said.

Livingston voted along with the other six councilors to approve to the budget despite his harsh words. Budget negotiations between the two sides began in February. The polls will be open for the school budget validation vote on Tuesday, June 11 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Portland Community Center.

Meanwhile, the council continues to wait for a vote on the municipal budget until state legislators move forward in their own biennial budget process. Blake said at previous meetings the council wants to avoid a potential scenario in which a budget is approved before the state decides to cut municipal revenue sharing, a part of Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal that could cut as much as $2.8 million in funds to the city.

Show encourages thought

For the last month, seniors at South Portland High School have considered what they want to accomplish before they die. Monday, May 22, those thoughts were displayed to the public at South Portland’s district art show, a presentation of work for all students in the city.

Photography teacher Nela Alvarez-Sotomayor brought the project created by New Orleans artist Candy Chang to South Portland. Chang first created the project in her home city of New Orleans, allowing the public to fill in the “Before I die ...” phrase in chalk on the side of abandoned buildings or other vacant spaces. She described the project in a TED Talk.

The chalkboard panels in the South Portland Community Center featured a range of thoughts for the future from the South Portland seniors. Many focused on travel, others on education or career goals. Some were profound (“Before I die I want to make my parents proud,”) while others were humorous (“Before I die I want to give a kangaroo a noogie”). Alvarez-Sotomayor said she was “very proud” of the seniors’ work on the project.

Brown recalls past

Brown School library clerk Betsey Cummings has pieced together Brown School’s history in celebration of the school’s 75th anniversary, collecting stories, photos and memorabilia from the community to celebrate the school.

At the school’s annual fair on Saturday, May 18, those materials were displayed to the public in the gymnasium. Linda Webb, formerly Simonds, was a student at Brown School in the early 1960s. She stopped by on Saturday to remember her elementary school years, although she said the school is almost unrecognizable now.

Webb, who now lives in Gorham, wrote a letter to Cummings remembering her fifth-grade year in 1962. Cummings said she had a crush on her teacher, Mr. Tasker, who was the first instructor she ever had who was younger than 50. Webb said she would come home to her mother and repeat everything Tasker said at school that day.

The students at Brown School also took part in the celebration process. Ruthann Baker’s fifth-grade class wrote predictions for their school and their own future 25 years from now, in 2038. Fifth-grader Morgan Anderson, who stopped by to read the predictions with classmate Eva Tedford, predicted she would be a dancer, Brown School would have five floors and cars would be solarpowered.

Author of zombie series is award nominee

South Portland author Joe Souza’s first novel in his “Living Dead” zombie series, “The Reawakening,” is a finalist for a Maine Literary Award in the category of speculative fiction. Souza’s novels center on the character of Dar, a 19-year-old girl from Maine who leads a community of survivors from Maine to Boston to the west coast. The second book in the series, “Darpocalypse” is available now, while the third, “Darmaggedon,” is due out next year. Winners of the 2013 Maine Literary Awardswillbeannouncedata6p.m. ceremony Thursday, May 30 at Portland’s Space Gallery.

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