Two weeks in review: catch up on local news

Mayor Isgro vetoes City Council move to purchase ambulances

By Sonia Lachter

Local News and Features Editor

On Oct. 22, Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro vetoed a unanimous city council vote which approved up to $131,000 in spending on two ambulances for the city.

In his Veto of Resolution, Isgro explained that this was due to his concerns about cost. “It is clear that a veto is needed to give the conversation surrounding this issue a much needed pause for more information to be gathered and assessed by both the City Council as well as the public we serve,” Isgro said.

He seemed to be concerned about the costs of the ambulance program. He wrote that the committee established by city council should spend more time considering the financial side of the endeavor. 

“Considering the millions of dollars that will ultimately be spent over the life of a transport service and the considerable risk of taking on such a service, it would have been reasonable to believe that such a committee would take at a minimum several months to research.”

On Oct. 15, all six members of the Waterville City Council passed the vote. The measure would move the city away from its current contract with Delta Ambulance. Delta is licensed by the state for hospital transports, which the city is currently not.

The proposed ambulances are both used vehicles from Autotronic, which, with discounts, will cost  $111,000 combined. They are a 2011 Chevy diesel Osage Ambulance and a 2012 Chevy diesel P.S. Custom Ambulance.

The council could override the veto with five votes at the Nov. 6 council meeting.

 

Waterville siblings make fourth purchase on Main Street

By Eliza Pohle

Layout Editor

Siblings Tracy and Tom Nale Jr. have recently purchased their fourth property on Main Street in downtown Waterville. Their investment downtown comes at a time when other individuals and corporations, including the College, have looked to make their mark and revitalize the community. The pair told the Morning Sentinel that these investments served as inspiration for their continued investment into their hometown.

The Nales have lived in Waterville for the duration of their lives: both were born here, graduated from the school system, and graduated from Colby. Now, as adults, they are excited to invest in the community that raised them and create a thriving downtown to fuel the upward growth of the city. 

The College’s investments downtown have been a major source of this growth. The construction of the Alfond Commons, which houses nearly 200 Colby students, was completed and opened at the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year. The College has also invested in the renovation of buildings that house popular locations such as Portland Pie Company. The highly anticipated Lockwood Hotel is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed in late 2020, followed closely by the Paul J. Schupf Art Center.

Both The Lockwood Hotel and the Paul J. Schupf Art Center will be located on Main Street, the same location of the Nales’ most recent purchase. The pair are in the process of completing a renovation on a building at 103-109 Main Street and are looking for tenants to rent out the space. Their most recent purchase on 99 Main Street currently houses the Play Factory and Studio X, and has two empty floors on the top floors.

The Nales are optimistic about the investments they have made and are excited to see how these investments, paired with those of the College and outside investors, will revitalize the city they have called home.

 

Waterville woman killed as result of domestic abuse

By Sonia Lachter

Local News and Features Reporter

According to police reports, on Oct. 22 Melissa Sousa, 29, of Waterville, was killed by boyfriend Nicholas Lovejoy. He shot her twice in the stomach by his .38-caliber handgun and then put the weapon in their basement, where it was found the next afternoon.

Lovejoy, is in police custody and appeared in an Augusta court that Friday under charge for murder. His hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6. Until then, he is being held without bail and has not taken up a plea deal. Lovejoy confessed to the murder.

Sousa’s friends noticed her lack of communication and social media activity. She was last seen dropping her and Lovejoy’s twin daughters at the school bus.

A vigil was held on the 27th for Sousa outside her former apartment building. Her funeral will be Thursday, Oct 31, at 2pm at Veilleux Funeral Home.

 

Mayor Isgro, waterville resident clash over Columbus Day at City Council meeting

By Matt Rocha

Local News Reporter

In April, Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law that replaced Columbus Day with Indigeous Peoples Day. Maine joined a list of 12 states that recognize the relatively new holiday. Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro disagreed with Gov. Mill’s decision, though, and at the Oct. 1 City Council meeting, he delivered his dissenting opinion in an official mayoral proclamation. Quoting President Benjamin Harrison, Isgro praised Christopher Columbus as a “pioneer of progress and enlightenment.” He declared that Waterville will recognize Oct. 14 as Columbus Day and urged citizens to “commemorate and honor all of those who have contributed to our diverse shared history.” 

Isgro’s proclamation received support, but also ignited serious backlash. His challengers defined the proclamation as a “malevolent erasure of a long and violent history of genocide and abuse of indigenous people.” At the 15 October Waterville City Council meeting, the council unanimously voted to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, not Columbus Day. During the public comment section which followed the vote, Waterville resident Bob Vear berated Isgro. Vear stated that Isgro was “not respectful of the people of Waterville” and that the mayor drew negative attention to the city. Isgro retaliated, declaring that Vear was “out of line.” Frustrated by Vear’s refusal to give up the microphone, Isgro shouted, “This meeting is adjourned,” and stormed out. Despite Isgro’s absence, the meeting continued, and the council allowed Vear to finish his statement. Vear called for Isgro to resign and for the council chair, Sydney Mayhew, to assume the office.

In the following days, Isgro crafted a lengthy Facebook post in which he accused council members of conspiring with Vear. Isgro said, “Friends, this was a preconceived plot hatched by the very members of our council that claim they want to ‘end the divide’ and ‘bring people together’.” He continued, “Rather than work to do that, and blinded by hatred, they have chosen to attack me because I continue to fight for each and every one of you.” Isgro targeted Councilor Jay Coelho in particular, claiming that Coelho read Vear’s speech before its presentation. Coelho denied the accusation and stated that Isgro must “start taking responsibility for the fuses he lights and walks away from.”

Mayhew, who initially supported Columbus Day but ultimately voted in favor of Indiegeous Peoples Day, introduced an amendment that would allow the city to celebrate both holidays, but it failed.