Lincoln County Commissioners

McLaughlin resigns as county planner

Emergency AM radio takes step forward
Tue, 05/07/2019 - 12:30pm

Megan McLaughlin, hired this year to replace County Planner Bob Faunce, has resigned effective May 17.

According to County Administrator Carrie Kipfer, McLaughlin, whose background is primarily in municipal planning, found the county job highly administrative. “She preferred a hands-on approach, working with planning boards and commissions,” Kipfer said.

McLaughlin is going to work for the City of Auburn. Commissioners accepted herresignation with regret Tuesday.

The county also has to decide what to do about the Hibbert’s Gore road Palermo tended for several years. Since Lincoln County has not paid for the service, Palermo informed the county it would no longer plow, grade, or gravel the road. Kipfer said she would post the road through May 31, since it is not driveable for large vehicles, but a gravel pit on the road will be transporting gravel soon. The county will have to do some repairs including grading and graveling, she said.

The county agreed to file a letter of intent so Lincoln County Dental can apply for a $50,000 grant through the Community Development Block Grant fund, and accepted $1,012.70 in court surcharge funds, which will be used for county programs.

The office of emergency management received approval for a grant to help pay for an emergency AM radio station. To get the grant, an environmental and historic preservation study is needed. The radio station will broadcast from Hunt Hill Road in Newcastle, near the center of the county. The spot is high enough to provide coverage to the entire county. The property's owner is willing to allow the equipment there if Newcastle does not increase his property taxes. Director Casey Stevens said his agency is negotiating with the town to ensure that.

EMA held an amateur radio exercise to make certain that HAM radio operators could reach the Emergency Operations Center from every town in the county. All towns except Boothbay Harbor had at least one site where the broadcast could be heard at the Courthouse. However, Boothbay Harbor has a tower at the fire station that could be used as a HAM radio repeater, he said. Other sites that couldn’t be heard from were one of the satellite fire stations in Somerville and two of the satellite fire stations in Whitefield.

The Haz-Mat team trained members of the fire departments May 2, using Specialty Response Solutions as a training partner. Stevens was pleased with the level of training. They discovered during the training that mice had damaged the decontamination tent. Maine EMA said it is possible one of the northern agencies no longer needing one of theirs.

Stevens is seeking a grant for more transmitters for the Project Lifesaver program from The First’s Wealth Management program to benefit seniors.

Sheriff Todd Brackett announced the resignation of Alonzo Connor, leaving to work for Gardiner Police Department. Brackett is now down two deputies, and with the possible retirement of another longtime employee this summer, he would be down three as the busiest season begins. He got permission to apply for a Homeland Security grant for mileage and overtime as part of a border security initiative. All Maine counties lie in either Tier One (have a border with another nation) or Tier Two (front the ocean), so there is a need for information based on traffic stops and other routine police work, to help interdict drug flow and human trafficking. The county might receive 10,000-$15,000. The Sheriff’s Office also will receive its regular underage drinking enforcement grant of $5,500.

One of the patrol vehicles hit a deer and repairs will cost $1,700. Brackett also said inmates in Two Bridges Regional Jail's work program will need a new lawn mower this year at a cost of $7,000.