VASSALBORO: Road complaints bring action by selectmen

by Mary Grow

VASSALBORO – With roads unusually rough this spring, Vassalboro residents have complained, frequently and loudly.

Vassalboro selectmen have listened, sympathized and come up with a solution: a municipal helicopter service, tentatively named the Vass Fly.

The public works crew is surveying the town for a dozen or more helipad sites, probably including the town office lawn and the recreation fields. Selectmen are negotiating long-term leases on two dozen choppers and arranging to train public works employees as pilots and helicopter mechanics.

A Selectboard member reported that five residents with the necessary licenses have volunteered as pilots pending longer-term arrangements. Selectmen have asked the National Guard for help, once Guard members are done staffing vaccination clinics.

Among road complaints selectmen and town office staff reported receiving:

A man spent a night in the emergency room after a bump threw him through the roof of his car. He has a concussion and sprained wrists, and can’t drive his car in the rain until the head-sized hole is patched.
An eleven-year-old girl’s laptop is still lost in the puckerbrush after a violent jolt ripped it from her hands and threw it out the window of her father’s truck.
Three residents are looking for new vehicles after the bottoms of two pick-ups and a Hummer were torn out when the wheels settled into deep grooves in the pavement. “That was my 2021 Ram – still had the temporary plates,” one man mourned.
A series of heaves and dips threw a car off the road and over a stone wall into an orchard, where it damaged two Cortland trees. The driver admitted he should have known better than to go as fast as 25 miles an hour on that particular stretch.
A couple complained that they could not access their driveway, which is near the top of a steep hill. Every time they slowed to turn in, either a trough in the pavement deflected the wheels and they missed the driveway, or a bump sent them back down the hill.
A woman was carrying her damaged mailbox, which had been struck by a car whose driver was avoiding a pothole, when she stumbled and dropped the mailbox into the pothole. Her garden rake was not long enough to retrieve it.

One day, a selectman related, a town public works truck got hung up on a bump, all four wheels off the ground. Selectmen ordered the road closed, so the town crew put concrete Jersey barriers at each end.

“Made no difference,” the selectman said. “People drove right over the barriers without noticing them, they’re so used to bouncing up and down.”

Selectmen expect a whirlybird update at their April 1 meeting.

GUESS WHAT?

APRIL FOOL if you believed this.

 

 

Michigan group plans high-rise housing in China (2020 April Fools Day story)

An artist’s rendition of the proposed high rise housing complex for China.

by Mary Grow

DeMiHuGi Developers, of Detroit, Michigan, filed permit applications with the Maine environmental protection and transportation departments on April 1, for a 28-story luxury housing complex, to be built on an artificial island at the Narrows on China Lake. The complex will be accessed by a causeway connecting the end of Neck Road to Lakeview Drive, as well as by boat.

Plans call for 24 stories of housing, with apartments arranged around a central core with elevators and utilities. The lower 12 will have four apartments per floor, each with views in two directions; the upper 12 will have two apartments per floor, each with views in three directions. Above will be a rooftop restaurant topped with solar panels.

The base of the building, partly below water level, will be a 150-car parking garage. Above the garage will be three stories housing a supermarket, a clothing store, a pharmacy and clinic, specialty restaurants and boutiques, a gym and sauna, a four-lane bowling alley, offices and probably one or more shops tailored to the area, like a sporting goods store or bait-and-tackle shop.

A double water purification system on the north side of the building will purify China Lake water to make it drinkable and treat wastes so wastewater will be returned to the lake “cleaner than it came out,” according to a DeMiHuGi spokesman.

The swimming beach will be on the south side, the marina on the southeast and motel-style employee housing east and west.

The four-lane causeway connecting the island to the mainland on both sides will be roofed with more solar panels. Additionally, cables running under the road will provide back-up power and will heat the causeway so it will not need winter maintenance.

The DeMi­HuGi spokesman, Maken Haye, said two similar projects on larger water bodies have drawbridges in the causeways to accommodate sailboats.

The company analyzed mast heights on China Lake and concluded no drawbridge is needed.

All windows will have bird-friendly glass. Indoor lighting will be arranged to create “a warm, welcoming glow” after dark.

DeMiHuGi’s spokesman, Haye, said in most projects some amenities are open to local residents, by arrangement with municipal officials.

Additionally, she said, it is company policy to hold a contest among local residents only to name the project. The contest winner receives a 10-year lease on one of the larger apartments.

The project schedule depends on acquiring the needed permits, state and local. The company spokesman said, “Since Maine has never seen a project like this, I expect it will take a while. I doubt we’ll break lake bottom this year.”

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IF YOU BELIEVED THIS STORY, YOU ARE A BELATED APRIL FOOL.