2017-10-13 / Community

In the Know

Earl Shettlewerth Jr. Earl Shettlewerth Jr. DONE DEAL — According to South Portland Public Works Director Doug Howard, the new $15.7 million highway garage on Highland Avenue, which also will house the public transportation and parks and recreation departments, is “basically done.”

A certificate of substantial completion was issued to Great Falls Construction on Sept. 29, he said, noting that it gives the Gorham-based company 30 days to finish up its work.

An open house and official ribbon cutting on the new complex is planned for Saturday, Nov. 4. “We’re looking to move in the following week,” Howard said.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK — The South Portland Economic Development Committee is sponsoring a special presentation by Michael Dubyak, who will address sustainable economic development in Maine based on his experience as the former president and CEO of WEX Inc. and as current co-chairman of two-year-old nonprofit FocusMaine, which recently won a $4.9 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation to begin implementing its 10-year plan to create high-quality jobs within the so-called “traded sector” — that is, Maine companies which primarily sell products and services outside the state.

“A dollar of business created in a traded sector company tends to be a dollar that doesn’t already exist in the local economy, and in turn will create a more robust economy for all,” Dubyak is quoted as saying in the FocusMaine website.

The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the South Portland Community Center on Nelson Road.

“He is probably the greatest entrepreneur and business leader we have today in the state,” Deake Street resident Rob Sellin said of Dubyak, when promoting the meeting during the Oct. 2 city council session.

“His talk will be a real inspiration for South Portland as we continue our efforts toward job creation and sustainable economic development. There is no qualified person to talk about our economic development.”

The Dubyak talk is important enough, Sellin said, that he encouraged the city council to declare it an official workshop so that they could all sit in attendance.

HISTORY OF MODERN SOPO — What’s new is old again in South Portland, as evidenced by an upcoming “illustrated talk” on modern architecture in the city, to be given by Earle Shettleworth Jr., who retired from his post as head of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission in 2015, after 42 years with the state, marking him the longest-serving preservation officer in the country.

Shettleworth still works as Maine’s State Historian, a post he has held since 2008.

Shettleworth’s lecture, “When Modernism Came to Maine,” will be given at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, at Holy Cross Church. Located at 124 Cottage Road, Holy Cross was built in 1958 and is an example of the mid-century modern architecture Shettleworth will spotlight.

Afterward, attendees will decamp across the road for a 4p.m. reception to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the South Portland Public Library, another highlight of Shettleworth’s presentation.

“Now that 50 years have passed, the architecture of the mid-20th century is being reassessed and appreciated,” said Hilary Bassett, executive director, Greater Portland Landmarks (GPL), which is sponsoring the event.

“Streamlined forms, use of new materials, new arrangements of interior space, and integration of buildings with the landscape mark this architectural style,” Bassett said.

“This is a chance to see the interiors of two major buildings of the period, and to learn about mid-century modern homes in Maine.”

While the reception is free, tickets to the lecture are $15 for the general public and $12 for GPL members.

Advance registration requested by signing up online at portlandlandmarks.org.

HELP WANTED — At the annual meeting

of the Maine Municipal Association (MMA), held Oct. 4-5 at the Augusta Civic Center, South Portland City Councilor Linda Cohen took the oath as incoming president of the organization, which represents the interests of almost all cities and towns in the state.

Current the group’s vice president, Cohen will ascend to the top job Jan. 1. At the Sept. 6 city council meeting, Cohen gave a preview of what one of her top priorities will be as head of the MMA executive board in 2018.

The agenda, set, she said, at MMA’s recent executive board retreat, held Sept. 9-10 in Kennebunkport, will address the worker shortage faced by most towns.

“One of the biggest things to come out of the MMA in a long time is we are going to contract with a Maine marketing and advertising agency and we are going to get out the word in various ways — especially social media, hoping to hit millennials — trying to attract them to municipal government jobs, because we are all, everywhere across the state, having a hard time attracting people to jobs in code enforcement, tax assessing, and planning, plus firefighters, and police. So, we really need to put a concerted effort out there.”

Cohen said that advertising push will be a multi-year process.

Currently, MMA does maintain a job board of municipal openings, available online at www.memun.org/Training-Resources/ Job-Bank-Classifieds

Compiled by Staff Writer Wm. Duke Harrington. To submit news tips and story ideas, email him at news@inthesentry.com

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