Poland appoints school board member

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POLAND — Selectmen on Tuesday appointed Melanie Harvey as the town’s fifth representative to the Regional School Unit 16 board of directors.

She succeeds Joe Parent who resigned just before the beginning of the school year.

Harvey is president of Poland Community School PTA and has two children in the system. She will serve until the April 2015 town meeting when the next regularly scheduled municipal election will take place.

The Board of Selectmen conducted public interviews with three candidates for Parent’s seat, beginning at its Oct. 7 meeting. Unable to make a choice given the outstanding qualifications of all three, they continued with further questioning at Tuesday’s meeting.

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The other two residents interviewed were Leonard Lamoreau and Nicole Patenaude.

Janice Kimball, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, thanked all three for volunteering and expressed the hope that the two not chosen might continue to offer their services to the town. She said Poland will be electing three representatives to the school board in April.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that three such qualified people came forward,” Kimball said.

A few years ago no one ran for a Poland opening on the RSU 16 board and selectmen had to appoint from the few names that were written in on ballots.

In other business:

* Town Manager Bradley Plante publicly commended the Poland Fire/Rescue Department for its actions at the scene of the recent tragedy at Harvest Hill Farms in Mechanic Falls near the Poland town line. He said fire Chief Mark Bosse was first on the scene and 15 members of Poland’s fire and rescue team responded with the town’s rescue truck and two ambulances.

Through Plante, the board sent condolences to the family of Cassidy Charette, 17, of Oakland, who was killed in the haunted hayride accident.

Plante gave Kimball a letter to read from Mechanic Falls town officials. The letter had been sent to Poland Fire/Rescue. It noted that, despite the chaotic atmosphere resulting from the nighttime accident involving 23 victims, “everyone managed to function in a manner that resulted in a smooth and effective response.”

The letter also said, “We have a pretty amazing network of agencies always on the ready to respond in a moment’s notice in this region, and we here in Mechanic Falls are proud to be part of that team. It was because of that network that we believe the total effort at Harvest Hill was successful.”

* Reporting on efforts spearheaded by members of the town’s Conservation Commission to raise private money for the town to buy the 32-acre Furman property, Plante said that as of Oct. 21 contributions totaled $13,800.

The property is seen as key to developing a hiking trail system that will run from the Ricker Library to the town’s transfer station on Tripp Lake Road, and from there to the Poland Regional High School property.

Plante noted that selectmen had given the group until Oct. 31 to raise the $32,800 purchase price for the property.

Selectman Steve Robinson reported that the amount raised so far comes from 48 individuals. He encouraged others to join the effort to acquire the property.

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