The West Paris Baptist Church, in all its New England charm, has been standing in the village since the 1820s. It was built by William C. Witham, one of the town’s early settlers and its first pastor, according to resident Bertha De Haas, who is his great-great- great-granddaughter. Although it has been a Baptist Church since it was built, Methodists and Congregationalists have also used its simple, charming sanctuary for their services.


Office hours change

Full- and part-time residents may have an easier time taking care of business now that the town office hours have been changed. At least that’s the hope of office staff.

Starting this week, the office is closed on Fridays, but open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The same Wednesday hours remain as previously, from 1 to 6 p.m.

Selectman Joan Carney believes the new hours will work out better for townspeople, particularly those who come from away to spend an extended weekend.

The town common, like so many other public spaces in the state, is now decorated with six large yellow bows in support of U.S. troops fighting in Iraq. Carney said bows are expected to be hung at the town office sometime next week.

The town is also looking for American flag donations. Carney said the town is down to just one flag ready to be flown from the poles at the common and the cemetery. Townspeople have always come through with their donations to keep the colors flying. Sometimes, said Carney, people have given the town the flag that had draped the coffin of a former serviceman.

Those who wish to provide the town with a flag, which should be at least 3-feet-by-5-feet, may call the town office at 392-3302.

Young children are invited to take part in an Easter egg hunt at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 19. The annual event begins at Mills Market. Children then search the downtown area, including the common, for the eggs.


Selectman discuss merger with Byron

Roxbury Selectman Tim Gallant said his board gave the go-ahead earlier this week to begin looking into a possible merger of some kind with neighboring Byron.

He said he will contact the Maine Municipal Association and talk with Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-Dixfield, about aspects the two towns should consider. He plans to bring his findings back to his board on May 12, then to the Byron Board of Selectmen on May 27.

“Byron and Roxbury have worked together for a long time,” said Gallant.

He’s checking into two ways for a possible merger. One would be a complete merger of the two towns. The other would be a consolidation of common services.

Meanwhile, Byron Selectman Steve Duguay said a petition calling for a vote on de-organization of his town should start circulating soon.

He said about 15 registered voters must sign the document. If the required number of signatures is gathered, he said he doesn’t expect a vote before November, 2004.

He also is interested in learning more about some kind of a merger with neighboring Roxbury.

“We’ll definitely look at it. There are some pluses and negatives,” he said.

Duguay said at last month’s annual town meeting that he would agree to continue serving as a selectman for a while, provided he was granted permission to look into de-organizing the town. He has served for 22 years, a period of time, he said, that has required more and more of his time.

The Byron selectmen will meet next at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22.


Officials seek survey responses

Nearly a dozen people have responded to the surveys sent out by the town asking for opinions on things people think should be addressed in the next 10 years and features of the town they like.

But officials want to see more. In fact, they are hoping to get a lot more of the 108 surveys mailed out nearly two weeks ago so selectmen can start reviewing them at their meeting on Monday.

The surveys are a preliminary part of the town’s plan to update its nearly quarter-century-old Comprehensive Plan.

Town Clerk Clem Worcester said more surveys will soon be mailed to seasonal residents to get their opinions.

The Board of Selectmen may discuss officially setting up a Comprehensive Plan Committee at their Monday meeting. Androscoggin Valley Council of Government’s John Maloney outlined the services his agency can provide as the plan is rewritten at last month’s board meeting. A half-dozen or so residents have already stepped forward to work on the committee.

Following the selectmen’s meeting, the first spring meeting of the Neighborhood Crime Watch Committee will be held. Maine State Trooper James Nolan will be the guest. Worcester said officers will be elected, and ideas will be solicited for topics to be discussed at future meetings.

Selectmen meet at 5 p.m. The Neighborhood Crime Watch Committee meets at 6 p.m. Both meetings will be held at the town office.

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