Thank you, Lee-Ann!

Jul 23, 2020

We suppose congratulations are in order for Lee-Ann Upham of Thomaston, who is retiring from her position as a select board member after 27 years.

However, we know too that the other board members and the townspeople will miss her leadership.

Lee-Ann has been something of an institution in the town. She has certainly been known to pick up the phone for curious reporters of The Courier-Gazette on more than one occasion and no matter how controversial the issue, we cannot remember her ever uttering an unpleasant word in all of that time.

When she was named July 4 Parade Grand Marshal in 2014, we ran an article that provided some of her background, which we will include here:

In 1972, Lee-Ann came "home" to Thomaston to take care of her great-grandmother, and quickly fell in love with both the town and her future husband, John Upham. She worked at Wee Barn Antiques.

Lee-Ann’s first volunteer experience for the town was as co-chairman of the Christmas Tree Lighting committee with Joe Mayo.

She has also been involved in the Thomaston Area Chamber of Commerce, Thomaston Historical Society, Thomaston Business Council and other committees.

Growing up in Needham, Mass., Lee-Ann paid close attention to the example set by her grandfather as he served on town committees. When she was asked to join the newly formed Budget Committee in 1982, she jumped on board and has been serving on various committees in Thomaston ever since. Most notably, she has been an elected member of the Board of Selectmen continuously since 1993, and served as chairman several times.

The pollution control facility and cleaning up of the former prison site are a couple of projects with which Lee-Ann is most pleased. Updating sections of sidewalk every year and updating the network of sewer lines are not glamorous items, but they help keep Thomaston a lovely place to live.

In the early 1990s, Lee-Ann, John and a small group of like-minded people provided a free Thanksgiving dinner to people who might otherwise be alone on the holiday. That lasted a few years before fading out, and was a precursor to the Thomaston Random Acts of Kindness Committee.

We wish her the best in the future and join the town of Thomaston in thanking her for her service.

Waterfront revaluation hits residents hard

There are certainly valid reasons and arguments behind the revaluation project going on in the City of Rockland, but we are still saddened by the news that some homeowners are seeing staggering increases in property valuation and therefore taxes.

Rockland is a vibrant year-round community rather than a mere tourist trap on the strength of its working class roots and values, but increasingly it is becoming impossible for long-time residents who raised their families here to survive side-by-side by the wealthy influx.

Being hit hard is the city's South End, where proximity to the water means bigger values. What were once neighborhoods bustling with young families could in time become a quiet gathering of summer homes.

We urge residents to look into how their homes are being valued and how they are described in city records. You may want to make an appointment to talk to the city assessor or staff to see if your valuation should really be lower.

With the number of properties they have to look at, it is impossible to get every detail down accurately.

Perhaps the council and school board members can also consider this situation as they deal with spending in their budgets. It may be time for cuts in the coming years to offset this change and provide some relief for taxpayers. Consider too how many locals have been hit financially by problems caused by the pandemic.

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