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Flawed process taints
Rescue probe findings.
TODAY'S WEATHER: April showers
...from Accuweather
posted 5:45 p.m., Monday, April 1
   SOUTH LEBANON - A woman from South Lebanon was among three injured today in a two-vehicle crash at the corner of Carl Broggi Highway and Lower Barley Road.
   The accident occurred around 12:45 p.m. when a Dodge Avenger driven by a 21-year-old Lebanon woman attempted to turn left onto Lower Barley and struck a westbound Ford Explorer, according to Assistant Rescue Chief Jason Cole.
   A 22-year-old male passenger from Seabrook, N.H., in the Avenger had to be freed using the Jaws of Life.

   Both were transported to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester with nonlife-threatening injuries, Cole said.
   The driver of the Explorer, a 59-year-old female from Chelmsford, Mass., was transported to Goodall Memorial Hospital in Sanford with nonlife-threatening injuries.
   The Rochester Fire Department assisted on the scene.
   Carl Broggi Highway was closed for a short period while the vehicles were removed.
Lebanon Rescue photo
Firefighters use the Jaws of Life to free a passenger in a Dodge Avenger after a crash on Carl Broggi Highway on Monday in South Lebanon.
Three hurt in Route 202 crash
Cole defends

posted 9:40 a.m., Tuesday, April 2

By Harrison Thorp
The Lebanon Voice

   LEBANON - Assistant Rescue Chief and Selectman Jason Cole had no comment on Monday regarding why he “Liked” a Facebook post by a Rescue Department volunteer who said Budget Committee member Chris Gilpatrick Sr. “will be eating his words when the self-funded and self-less volunteers have to come and rescue him sometime...” after Gilpatrick accused Cole of stalling on presenting Rescue’s budget to selectmen and the Budget Committee.
   Cole did, however, defend the volunteer, saying, “(They) did it as a resident (of the town), and as a resident, (they have) the freedom to do that.”
   The posts were recorded on The Lebanon Voice Facebook page last Thursday.
   In the posts Cole also asserts that “I am not being investigated.”
   Lebanon Selectmen Chairman Bob Frizzell confirmed on March 25 that an investigation into grievances filed by several former Lebanon Rescue Department volunteers was nearing its conclusion and that a decision would be rendered soon on any actions that might be taken in the wake of the probe. (See 
story below.)
   Lebanon state Representatives Bill Noon and Joshua Plante have both requested copies of the grievances to see whether, if a case does exist, any decision should be made at the state or local level.
   “The town deserves to have a decision on anything that went wrong,” Plante said on Monday.
   In October of last year, Cole, in reaction to another Facebook confrontation with Gilpatrick, acknowledged that such posts are detrimental to the town and its governance. “Both myself and Chris (Gilpatrick Sr.) are elected officials and we owe it to the town to keep it civil and enhance what the people of Lebanon expect.”
   At that time he added, personally, that “my commitment is to not react quickly to negative posts on Facebook.”
​   Gilpatrick could not be reached for comment.
Frizzell finds
Cole innocent
Says report shows no violations found
posted 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 3
By Harrison Thorp
The Lebanon Voice

   LEBANON -- Lebanon Selectmen Chairman Bob Frizzell said last night the Rescue Department probe into grievances filed by five former department volunteers is over, and Assistant Rescue Chief Jason Cole and the department have been found innocent on all counts.
   “We interviewed the parties that came forward, and there was nothing that would be deemed for there to be disciplinary action.” he said referring to two of the more serious charges leveled: misappropriation of Rescue Department funds and patient safety issues.
   Pressed on whether there were any safety concerns outright, Frizzell added, “Nothing (was) found in this investigation that would warrant concerns for safety.”
   Frizzell said he had the report and it would be finalized today, adding, “I have to put it in my words.”
   Town offices are closed today, so it should be on hand at Town Hall on Thursday, he said.
   The investigation was completed with the help of Town Counsel Alan Shepard of Shepard and Read law firm of Kennebunk.
   Among several other grievances, former Rescue volunteers Stu Morrison and Ryan Therrien alleged improper use of the Lebanon Rescue command vehicle and outside parking of an ambulance at the Cole residence which can render some medications ineffective in cold weather.
  They said Rescue volunteers were allowed to use the department’s ATV without being properly trained leading to an additional safety hazard and illustrating a culture of inconsistency with regard to compliance of safety rules and standard operating procedures among most Rescue departments.
   Asked why he didn’t include an emergency medical services expert in the investigatory aspect of the probe, Frizzell said, “If the charges would’ve deemed that I would have. I was given that responsibility by the board.”
   Selectwoman Karen Gerrish did not participate in the probe, because it was felt that it would be inappropriate in light of the bitter campaign she had fought with Cole prior to defeating him for a selectman’s seat two years ago.

  That left it to Frizzell and Shepard who together began the probe in mid-October when the five volunteers traveled to Kennebunk for individual interviews with Frizzell and Shepard..
  The probe was finally announced as complete exactly a week after The Lebanon Voice first broke the story last Tuesday.
  Today, Morrison said he was disappointed with the outcome, adding there was a lot more than safety issues wrong with the department.
  “I guess he (Frizzell) didn’t address the professionalism of the department, the enforcement of rules,” he said.
  Neither Cole nor his wife, Rescue Chief Samantha Cole returned a phone call requesting their comments on the outcome of the probe.
The probe was conducted by Lebanon Town Counsel Alan Shepard, above, and Selectmen Chair Bob Frizzell. 
Harrison Thorp photo
From left, Selectmen Jason Cole, Karen Gerrish and Bob Frizzell listen mutely as one resident lambastes town officials for their constant bickering, saying it's not good for the town.
'Constant bickering
is getting old'
​posted 6:30 a.m., Friday, April 5
By Harrison Thorp
The Lebanon Voice 
   LEBANON - Selectmen’s meeting gadfly Chris Gilpatrick – for one day at least - stayed out of the historic Facebook fray this week that pitted Rescue Department backers, their detractors and others just putting their two cents in as well.
   The belligerent back-and-forth posted on The Lebanon Voice’s Facebook page beginning Tuesday was spurred after the online newspaper revealed that Assistant Rescue Chief Jason Cole had “Liked” a Facebook comment made a week ago by a Rescue volunteer that noted Gilpatrick “will be eating his words when "…(Rescue) volunteers have to come and rescue him sometime...”
   The original comment string began after Gilpatrick accused Cole of stalling on presenting Rescue’s budget to selectmen and the Budget Committee. 
   On Tuesday night during a selectmen’s meeting Gilpatrick agreed that the Facebook sniping 
between town officials was bad for the town and that was why he stayed out of the day’s negative postings.
   Tuesday’s comment string starts at 10:02 a.m. with Cole saying, “The fact that this is news shows that it’s a slow news day,” and ends 108 comments later at 9:55 p.m. last night appropriately with a comment,” Well it appears that there are quite a few people that just want the “BS” to end. Let’s hope we all live long enough to see it happen.”
   At the end of the selectmen’s meeting a resident fumed openly at selectmen about the constant and public feuding between town officials.
   “The constant bickering is getting old,” said the resident who asked not to be identified. “You are our leaders, so I just don’t get this stuff. Can’t somebody just say, ‘I’m going to be a bigger person?’ It’s not good for the town.”
Gerrish left out 
of probe decision
​posted 11 a.m., Saturday, April 6
By Harrison Thorp   
The Lebanon Voice

    LEBANON - Selectwoman Karen Gerrish, contrary to what she expected, had no voice in the outcome and judgment portion of the Lebanon Rescue Department probe conducted by Selectmen Chairman Bob Frizzell and town attorney Alan Shepard, she said in a recent email to The Lebanon Voice.
   Gerrish withdrew herself from the investigation into allegations of mismanagement, misallocation of Rescue funds and patient safety issues brought forward in grievances by five former Rescue volunteers, but said she expected to be part of the judgment portion and executive session with the Rescue chief and assistant Rescue chief, Samantha and Jason Cole, respectively.
   On March 27, the day after the probe first came to light in a story by The Lebanon Voice, Gerrish was asked by the online newspaper if, even though she had recused herself from the investigatory portion of the probe, she expected to be part of the rendering of a judgment.
   A short time later, she responded by email, “I can't imagine that I wouldn't have a voice in the outcome/judgment. If not, what would be the point?”

   Gerrish agreed to let Frizzell conduct the probe by himself after Shepard suggested she not participate because of acrimony that developed between her and Cole during their campaign for selectman two years ago in which Cole ultimately lost his seat, which he won back last year. 
  Gerrish, however, fully expected to be part of the adjudication process that followed the investigation. 
   In her email late this week, in response to aThe Lebanon Voice query as to her final role in the probe, she wrote, ”Apparently since there isn’t a town manager here in Lebanon, one selectman is designated to conduct the investigation and that was Chairman Frizzell. He concluded that there were no grounds for discipline. I was informed of the conclusion, but did not participate in the investigation whatsoever.” 
  Neither Frizzell nor Shepard could be reached for comment on this story.
  Frizzell announced his decision during a regular selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday. The official transcript of the finding was released on Thursday. 
  An image of the document can be viewed in full below.
Harrison Thorp photo
Maine State Troopers David Coflesky, left, and Kyle Wells said they are looking forward to providing a consistent law enforcment presence to the town.
State troopers relish
Lebanon challenge
posted 9:30 a.m., Sunday, April 7
By Harrison Thorp
The Lebanon Voice

    LEBANON - Think there’s no law in Lebanon?
    Think again.
    On Saturday around 3 p.m. State Police Trooper David Coflesky had a motorist pulled over on Depot Road near the intersection of Route 202 for a seat belt violation.
    Less than a quarter mile away, Trooper Kyle Wells had another motorist pulled over for a moving violation as well.
   The two are part of a trio of State Police officers whose duty it is to patrol Lebanon, and Lebanon only.
   Beginning in March, State Police Troop A of Alfred began full-time law enforcement in the town ending a longtime practice of cumbersome month-to-month rotations with the York County Sheriff’s Office.
   The troopers assigned to Lebanon are enjoying having a single town to be assigned to, and the residents of Lebanon are enjoying a consistency of law enforcement they haven’t seen in a long time.
   “Oh I see them all the time, you better not speed by here,” said a waitress at Stokewoods Diner on Saturday.
   But it’s not just Route 202. Coflesky and Wells said they are excited about patrolling all areas 
of the town, and reaching out to residents in any way possible. “The consistency is going to help us,” said Coflesky. “We’re getting to know the selectmen, the business owners. We’ll be here all the time, so we’ll get to know people.”
   Wells said getting to know the residents makes all the difference in law enforcement.
   “Once residents get to know us they can actually approach us, they’ll see us at a store or gassing up and say something’s shady going on at this residence or someone’s selling dope,” he said. “You get a lot more intel than you do when you’re rotating.”
   Lt. Louis Nyitray, commander of Troop A, said the three troopers are "enjoying the fact they’re in a set town and taking pride in ownership of the area to ensure they provide the best public service to the community.” 
   Trooper Jamie Fenderson, the third trooper dedicated to the town, is moving on to a different division in mid-May, but another officer, Trooper Adam Schmidt, is already preparing to replace him, Nyitray said.
   If any Lebanon resident has concerns or business regarding State Police coverage of Lebanon they should contact Sgt. Jonathan Shapiro at the Alfred barracks at 459-1333, or the 24-hour business line at 657-3030.
   As always, in the event of an emergency, dial 911.
Town Hall
face scrutiny
posted 5:40 a.m., Wednesday, April 10
By Harrison Thorp
The Lebanon Voice

   LEBANON - Budget Committee members will be going over the town’s General Government budget tonight with an eye toward trimming whatever fat might be there in anticipation of shrinking state aid during the next two years.
   Nancy Neubert, Budget Committee chairman, said the board would be looking closely at all the line items, especially those that carry a significant percentage increase. 
   The $293,262 budget forwarded to the committee by selectmen represents a roughly 2 percent increase over last year’s $287,298.
   Regular wages is one of the largest single increases, reflecting a 9 percent hike in salaries paid to municipal workers, including selectmen.
   Incidental expenses like utilities and supplies all remained fairly even, with website expenses being one of the few line items facing a large increase, going from $1,800 to $2,800.
   The Animal Control portion of the budget went up about 17 percent, mostly due to increases in wages paid, travel expenses and contract shelter fees.
   The Budget Committee meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Offices on Upper Guinea Road. 

From the editor: Good morning Lebanon and Milton: 
   Sometime this afternoon The Lebanon Voice may well be at its new venue, a state of the art online newspaper platform that will be easier for readers, and advertisers, to take advantage of. 
  While the switch is imminent, the time frame could be a few days as well. It's up to the Internet gods.
   The url, however, will remain the same. The reporting of news, community events, features and opinion will remain the same. The Lebanon Voice's commitment to aggressively reporting on crime, government and our towns will continue as well. 
   We at The Lebanon Voice are very excited about the change. If you notice any issues whatsoever incidental to the change please contact The Lebanon Voice through the contact options listed on the site. Thank you everyone.