Fishing fundraiser ferments into frustration

SABATTUS — Fishermen cried foul this week after a number of vehicles owned by Fish For a Cure derby participants on Sabattus Pond were towed during the event Saturday.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Numerous signs are posted along Marr's Point Road in Wales.

Although Marr's Point Road is clearly marked with "no parking" signs, John Chabot of Auburn and other fishermen parked there to have close access to some of the best fishing spots on the lake. A resident on the private road, which is maintained by paying members of the Marr's Point Road Association, called Anytime Towing in Lewiston to have the vehicles removed, association secretary Donna Childs said.

The towing company, which holds a contract with the association to remove illegally parked cars, pulled seven vehicles owned by Fish For a Cure participants from the road, said Anytime Towing Manager Dan, who declined to give his last name. More than 15 cars were parked on the road, he said, but some drivers returned and moved their vehicles before the tow trucks got to them.

Anytime charged the drivers a minimum of $200 to release the impounded vehicles: a $120 towing fee, a $40 gate fee and a $40 storage fee, Dan said. Trucks with snowmobile trailers were charged for two vehicles, a total of $400, he said.

The fees were higher than the company's normal $50 fee because the contract requires the company to be on call around the clock, Dan said when contacted  Tuesday.

Derby participants were shocked by the towing fees.

“I'm very, very disappointed," Chabot said. "It's not right, that's all. It's a one-day-a-year thing, and none of the cars were parked in the middle of the road so you couldn't get by. I thought this was a fundraiser for breast cancer, not for the towing people."

The Fish For a Cure derby raises money to fight breast cancer. Now in its second year, the event had issues with local residents and road associations around Sabattus Pond last year, as well, derby organizer Jay Davis of Bowdoinham said.

Road associations around Sabattus Pond “feel like they own the lake and they don't want to allow anyone access to it,” Davis said. The fishermen “are out there supporting a derby raising money for breast cancer. Why would you have them towed and make people pay hundreds of dollars?”

Even the towing company agreed that the situation was an unfavorable one. They didn't find out that the drivers had been part of a charity event until the fourth person got to the register, Dan said.

"If we had known it was a benefit, we never would have done that," he said, adding that the fishermen were so irate it was difficult to talk to them.

Marr's Point Road residents pointed out that there are good reasons for not allowing nonresidents to park on the road. Truck and snowmobile traffic between the road and the pond aggravate erosion, Childs said. The narrow street is private property and clearly marked, and the cars parked on the road presented a safety hazard.

Even without banks of snow lining the street, it is difficult for two vehicles to pass along most of the road. With all of the fishermen's vehicles stopped there, "a fire truck could never have gotten in there," Dan said, contradicting the statement by Chabot that the vehicles didn't block the road.

"I've lost a niece to breast cancer, but I wouldn't want to lose someone else because of lack of access," said Joan Hamann, who lives in Greene and has owned a camp on Marr's Point Road for decades. "It's all about safety."

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Comments

 's picture

How disappointing to read this.

I am saddened to hear that the residents of this road didn't extend a little kindness to the people participating in an event to raise money for cancer. I might suggest that better communication between the event coordinators and the residents happen ahead of time in the future; however, I am guessing that since this is the second time this event occurred, they had a good idea that something unique was happening on this particular day.

I would think that the towing company would do the right thing and at least give back the extra money that they charged - or better yet, make a donation to Fish for a Cure. They shouldn't be blamed though for doing their contracted jobs and should keep the money that they normally would charge for towing.

The Marr's Point Road Association would do well to make a donation as well...hint, hint.

 's picture

LePage has nothing to do with

LePage has nothing to do with this nor does people that don't work..this is about a SATURDAY EVENT when many have worked all week. I agree that the event organizers should have gone around and made arrangements with people,found out which "private" road people would allow parking for this event or otherwise.Most people,if they had known this was for raising money for cancer ,would have been nice I am sure.There are many elderly people who live around the lake and don't keep up with those things,they just like the beauty of having water in front of their place. MOST of the sportsman themselves should have been at least respectful if they saw the signs and gone and asked themselves~ thats just the ethics of the whole thing.I know last year,we drove around and around looking for a spot we could park without driving onto the lake but there were signs all over the place and having respect for signs say "no parking,no trespassing",we left and found a spot on the lake to park,getting onto the ice via the boat launch on Sawyer Road. As far as Anytime Towing,they were called to do a job they do but yes,charging full price for it...I say,they give most of that to the Charity that was involved.

GEORGE MCLEAN's picture

Fishing for Cancer

I wonder how many of these camp owners are native and how many are from away.

 's picture

parking

The participants should have gotten their gear where they wanted then moved their vehicles somewhere else to park. it doesn't take that much effort to move your car after you unload your equipment. Still anytime towing should have called the sabattus PD and I bet they would have known it's a fund raiser. Especially since there were so many cars to tow from on spot? I would have thought something was funny with all the cars that were being towed.

Jeff Kelley's picture

marr resident's

your a real piece of work why don't you just kick some homeless person or better yet just smack around some old folks and while your at it why don't you start your own little country you can name it heartless, or selfish, your really nice people remind me to send you a thank you card for raping these peoples wallets you self centered morons

Jeff Kelley's picture

any time towing

hey if you would have done it differently,you should have not charged them any fee's so i don't believe you even care cause you still collected your blood money your an awful company

Jeff Kelley's picture

Any time towing

I have to say that ant time towing sucks, these people were there for a good cause and your going to make a profit off them, and what to hell is a 40.00 gate fee mean anyway, your no better then a parasite you should be ashamed of your self, and you up tight buttheads that called your lackie to do your dirty work hope you can sleep well at night

Randall Pond's picture

Towing at Fishing Derby

Shame on the Person that called to towing company, and Shame on you that belong to the Marr's Point Residents for saying what they said in this Article. If you don't like people parking for an event that raises money for Cancer, THEN MOVE THE HELL OUT OF THERE!

The Marr's Point Residents and of the association should repay the 7 persons who's vehicles were Towed!

You know this isn't Communist China. This is Maine! Where we care about people and causes and it is completely wrong what was done to these innocent people. Associations shouldn't be allowed to call towing companies on person's at a fundraiser.

 's picture

huh?

"You know this isn't Communist China." Except when it comes to using somebody else's private property (the road)?

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