With the start of November, all thoughts turn from Halloween haunts and frights to Election season. From absentee voting, to frequently asked ballot questions explained, we have the answers you need to ensure you exercise your right to vote with ease. In addition to election day help, read on for stories that cover the who's who and what's what in Wells this month.
Did you know...There is a new State of Maine law that recently went into effect known as The Property Tax Stabilization Program. This is a State program that allows certain senior-citizen residents to stabilize, or freeze, the property taxes on their homestead.
Read about eligibility and application requirements by following the link here.
Election Day Basics: Are you ready to cast your vote?
Absentee Ballot deadline is fast approaching
Absentee ballots, for the November 8th State and Town Elections ARE NOW AVAILABLE.

To request an absentee ballot, please call our office at (207) 646-2882 or come into the Town Hall. If you would like to vote by absentee ballot but are unable to come to the Town Clerk’s Office during normal business hours to vote in person, contact the staff in the Clerk’s Office at 207-646-2882 to request a ballot by mail. The voter must call the office, as family members cannot request a ballot for another family member by telephone. Immediate family members can request an absentee ballot for another family member by completing an application form and filing it with the staff in the Town Clerk’s Office.

To return your ballot, you can conveniently do so through three easy options.
  • Return your ballot in-person at the Town Clerk's Office in the Town Hall
  • Return your ballot by depositing it in the drop box that is located at the rear entrance to the Town Hall building
  • Return your ballot through the mail

To ensure your ballot is accepted, please be sure to sign the return envelope. A common reason absentee ballots may be rejected is because the back of the return envelope has not been signed.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot without a special circumstance is November 3rd at 4pm.
Voter FAQ's

Where do I vote?

All residents vote at the Wells Junior High School Gymnasium located off of 1470 Post Road, Wells, ME.

When are the polls open?

For the November 8, 2022 Election, the polls in Wells are open 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Where can I view a sample ballot?

You can view a sample ballot by following the link here.

Can I vote early?
You can request an absentee ballot, up until the November 3rd deadline. This ballot can then be returned in person to the Town Hall, at the drop box at the Town Hall, or by mail.

You can learn additional information about election day here.
Ballot question explained: Mobile Home Parks
Mike Livingston, Town Planner & Engineer
The Planning Office, Clerks Office and Code Office have been receiving many phone calls on the Town ballot question for the November 8th Special Town Meeting vote, Article 2.

The form of the ballot question is limited by state requirements, but the complete ordinance language and an explanation of the proposed ordinance addition is available on the Town website and posted at the Town Hall and other municipal buildings. To access online, go to the Town of Wells Maine website, place your cursor over “Government” and select “Ordinance Changes.” There is a header for November 2022 Proposed Changes which has the ordinance changes and other background information on the proposed ordinance addition.

Some of the questions received have the following answers:
  • The ordinance change only applies to an,existing nonconforming Mobile Home Park which was established prior to June 14,1976 and was not approved by the Planning Board”
  • The ordinance change will address a conflict which exists between Town Ordinance and a 1989-1993 State Statute which regulates mobile home park density and requirements
  • The ordinance change does not expand or change the existing Mobile Home Park Overlay District
  • Mobile Home Parks are a type of affordable housing, but the ordinance change does not address the recently passed LD 2003 State Statute
  • A Mobile Home Park is not a Seasonal RV Park
  • The ordinance change was workshopped at Board of Selectmen meetings on August 2nd and 16th and with the Planning Board on August 15th. A joint public hearing was held on September 12th with both Boards.
Wells Local Spotlight: Patsy Bragdon
Rebekah Kelley, Wells Volunteer and Communications Coordinator
Patsy Bragdon shines as the longstanding friendly face of the Wells Transportation Center, and is not only well-loved by all those who have the pleasure of knowing her but is an incredible asset to the Town of Wells. Her dedication to her volunteer work is outstanding, and at 88 years old, she is more passionate than ever to making sure the station is running smoothly, that riders are greeted on a first name basis, and that every person is helped with a smile.
Patsy's attention to detail sets her apart from others and she goes out of her way to make each rider feel cared for. She walks out to meet the incoming trains and is sure to remember the names of the riders, so that she can greet them personally by name. When asked why she puts in this extra effort to make people feel special, she simply says, "I love to help people." Patsy works tirelessly during her shift to help guests make their connecting trains, answer inquiries about schedules, provide ticket information, and promptly address any questions that riders may have when visiting the station. She is courageously coping with the losses of her beloved husband and only daughter, and her time at the station allows her to help make positive impacts on others and spread her kindness to the public.
Patsy's remarkable service has been recognized in the past, and she was the recipient of the 2017 George J. Mitchell Award. This award is given to those who have achieved excellence in service, commitment, and community, all of which Patsy clearly excels in. Anyone who has used the Transportation Center to catch the Amtrak Downeaster in the last 16 years can vouch for this recognition. Patsy humbly credits her success to her predecessor in the role. She has received endless letters and compliments over the years from riders who note her outstanding service to the public. When asked about her exemplary work, Patsy always remains modest and says that her work ethic comes from growing up on a farm, which taught her the value of hard work. Patsy has no plans to leave her work at the Transportation Center and looks forward to seeing the upcoming expansion of the building, with the addition of a second floor. "I plan on staying here until the day I don't wake up," says Patsy with a laugh.

A Call for Volunteers:
One challenging aspect of the role that Patsy noted was a shift in the pool of available volunteers. She noted it has been difficult to find volunteers to take over shifts, and that the station is dependent on volunteers to help answer questions and make sure everything runs smoothly. Patsy's time at the station helping all those who have the honor of knowing her has been incredibly rewarding, and she hopes that other volunteers may also feel rewarded knowing they are helping others. "I do this because I want to and love to help people," finishes Patsy with a smile, and all of Wells can certainly vouch for that!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Transportation Station, please reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator by email, or fill out a volunteer application.
Teen Advisory Board kicks off
Kayla Sawyer, Youth Services Assistant
Wells Public Library is proud to announce the inception of its first Teen Advisory Board! Open to all in grades 5 through 12, a teen advisory board (or TAB) allows teens in our library community voice and choice over events, space, and materials that impact them directly to build a sense of ownership, responsibility, and pride. As our most frequent patrons, teens migrate from the doors of their school to the doors of our library daily. It is important to acquire their input and ideas, both to allow for a vocalization of potential complications, issues, or lack of interest before they arise, and to ensure we are meeting the wants and needs of these young patrons. Teens who arrive at the library with a purpose, whether homework, book perusal, or socialization, and who have a place with programming where they can practice respectful dialogue and interaction are more likely to create a safe, positive space in the library community. 
At our first meeting, four teens convened in the Young Adult area, where we discussed how to organize the space in a way that felt comfortable, practical, and inviting. Wells Public Library has already been able to take the input of teens and put it to use.

Teen Advisory Board meetings will be held the second Thursday of each month from 3PM to 4PM. New members are welcome!
Dredging project on the horizon for Wells Harbor
Michael Yorke, Harbormaster
With the change of the season, the pace of the Harbor is slowly winding down to that of a casual stroll. The overwhelming majority of boats have been removed for the season and only the hardiest of commercial fisherman and a handful of charter boats remain. Seasonal infrastructure is being removed from the water and winterized for storage.
The rest of the Winter will be spent preparing for the upcoming dredge scheduled for the Fall of 2023. The preliminary plan is to pump the sand from the Harbor for placement on Wells and Drake’s Island Beach. The Town is looking for routes to run the pipe to accommodate those Beach front property owners who wish to receive sand in front of their residence. The primary function of Beach nourishment is to widen the beach to protect ocean front infrastructure, although beach goers are sure to enjoy the side effect of extra space to stretch out. If you are a Beachfront property owner, the Town will be contacting you in the upcoming months for your input and comment.
Thousands of tulip bulbs planted for mental health awareness
Rebekah Kelley, Wells Volunteer and Communications Coordinator
The Town of Wells is now the location of four Hope Gardens, under The Yellow Tulip Project. On Saturday, October 15, volunteers came together to plant over 1,000 yellow tulip bulbs. These bulbs are planted at the Town Hall, at the Welcome to Wells sign by the interstate, at the end of Mile Road, and outside the Public Safety buildings. Another 1,000 bulbs were also provided to the school district and have been planted by Junior and Senior high school students.
Volunteers who helped plant the bulbs included Selectmen Scott DeFelice and Robert Foley, Volunteer and Communications Coordinator, Rebekah Kelley, and members of EXIT REALTY, including Rick Coyne, Kim Bohn and Jennifer Moore. October is mental health awareness month and was a fitting time for the bulb planting to occur. This month provides the opportunity to refocus on self-care and acknowledge the importance of mental health.
See more photos of the Hope Garden planting event here.
The Yellow Tulip Project itself is an initiative that seeks to smash the stigma surrounding mental health and bring awareness to mental illness issues, especially in youth populations. This is a movement that is tired of the silence surrounding mental illness -- and ready to bring change and remind people that there is help and hope out there. Their message is simple and clear: come together - plant hope gardens - build community - talk about mental health and smash the stigma.
When the tulips bloom in May, they will be a reminder of the importance of mental health. Look around town for the signs marking the gardens, and get ready to reflect in May, when the flowers bloom and we all take the time to remember that hope is out there for everyone!
Fire Department swears in new firefighter; installs fire pole
Mark Dupuis, Fire Chief
Firefighter Garrett Earley was sworn in on September 2nd after completing his 1 year probation. Surrounded by his family and friends, he has officially received his Wells Fire Department badge. Congratulations Garrett!
We also have thrilling news for the department. We were finally able to put in our fire pole! This is a very exciting time for the department and they are grateful to the community to be able to purchase this. Prior to our pole, the firefighters had to run down 3 flights of stairs to get to the trucks for an incident. Not only does this pole make it safer for them, it also makes their ability to get to the incident much quicker.
On September 10th Wells Fire Department was involved in a major fire incident in Ogunquit. Wells Firefighters were dispatched mutual aid to a reported structure fire. The on-duty shift, along with the Chief, responded directly to the scene. Once on scene, crews had heavy fire within and both Ogunquit and Wells worked the first few minutes together aggressively to get it under control as quickly as possible. The fire went to three alarms with crews from The Berwicks, York, Sanford, Kittery, and Biddeford just to name a few. The fire was brought under control by noon time with extensive overhaul required for several more hours. Luckily, no one was injured and everyone stayed safe. 
Public Meeting on Climate Change scheduled
The Wells Board of Selectmen has scheduled a public meeting on climate change for Thursday, December 8, at 6:00 PM in the community room of the Wells Public Library. This meeting offers an unusual opportunity for an exchange of ideas and information about
  1. The urgency of climate change action
  2. How the Town can protect its infrastructure from future climate impacts,
  3. What additional steps the Town can take to lower its carbon footprint, and
  4. What role Town leaders and officials can play in helping Wells citizens make lifestyle changes to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions: changes such as the purchase of an electric vehicle, the switch to heat pumps for home heating, and the use of renewable energy for home electricity. 
Police Department celebrates staff achievements
Jo-Ann Putnam, Chief of Police
Captain Kevin Chabot has been an assistant coach for the Mighty Mites football team. The team is made up of grades 3 and 4 through the Wells-Ogunquit Football and Cheering Association.
School Resource Officer Timothy Wright also had the opportunity to volunteer as an assistant coach for the Wells-Ogunquit Boys Soccer Team. The team was grades 7th and 8th and played this fall. As a former student of WOCSD, SRO Wright played soccer, and was happy to assist with coaching the team. This was a great opportunity for him to make connections with the students outside the normal duties of a School Resource Officer.
Corridor study on Route 1 kicks off
Carol Murray, Public Works Director
What is the background information on the study?
The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) has a funding program called Planning Partnership Initiative (PPI) that is intended to address time-sensitive, locally-initiated planning and feasibility studies. It is intended to be for planning studies and engineering studies to solve transportation problems of local concern in partnership with MDOT. Wells approached MDOT about the potential of using PPI funding to look at the Route 1 corridor in Wells to explore solutions to improve the safety, congestion and mobility needs along this corridor. 

How is this study funded?
MDOT agreed to partner with Wells and each agreed to share 50% of the study cost. The Wells voters approved the Town’s match as part of the 2023-2024 budget.
 
What has been done so far?
MDOT started gathering data this past summer by conducting traffic count and turning motion information. You may have seen black, thin, tall poles along Route 1 and at the intersections with side roads. They also assembled the crash data along Route 1 and at the intersections. While this data collection was ongoing, the town issued a request for proposals (RFP) from MDOT prequalified engineering consultants. Two excellent technical proposals were submitted and a consultant selection committee ranked them. The committee recommended the firm of VHB to the Board of Selectmen, and they agreed to engage VHB for this project.

Now that VHB is partnered with the Town, what stage of the process are we in now? 
VHB held a kickoff meeting with MDOT and Town staff to craft a purpose and need statement for the project. That meeting was held on October 19th which is the date that the study officially began. VHB, since that time, has been reviewing and assembling any available data about the corridor, starting with the data that MDOT complied during the summer. 

What is next for the study?
The next step to explore current conditions is a Road Safety Audit to identify specific problematic locations. This will be lead by VHB with involvement of MDOT subject experts and the local stakeholder team. That day and a half review of the corridor is scheduled for November 8th and 9th. VHB will then collect any additional data that might be needed, meet again with the stakeholders and take that information to a public informational meeting to hear from the public about what their thoughts are about Route 1. This is an important part of gathering existing information about the corridor. The VHB team will take all the existing data and start looking at possible scenarios for improvements, both immediate and long range. This will include technical items like looking at adaptive signal technology/smart city initiatives, bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, land use, mobility improvement options and estimated costs for the various options. 

Does the public have any involvement in the study?
Yes, this assessment of potential future scenarios will be brought to the stakeholders, then to a public meeting. All of the information from this collaborative process will be the foundation for the VHB team to develop preliminary recommendations, alternatives and cost estimates. This will include discussions with appropriate state and federal agencies. VHB will then produce a draft final plan, present that to the stakeholders and hold a public meeting to explain their recommendations and gather public input.  A final narrative report will document the project, including a complete summary of the study process, conceptual graphics for the recommendations and potential costs with consideration of project phasing. Appendices to the final report will show the traffic data, crash summary reports and public/stakeholder agendas and minutes.

How can I stay involved throughout the duration of the study? 
There will be at least three public meetings over the year and a half life of this project. Attendance in person or remotely will be available. These meetings are vital for this project to be successful, so your attendance is encouraged!  

We will continue to update you on the progress of this study, as well as announce all future dates of upcoming public meetings. Stay tuned for more information.
Get ready to run for a cause!
Come out and enjoy the crisp Fall air as you race for a great cause! The Wells Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their 9th annual Veterans Day 5k Run/ Walk on Saturday, November 12, at 10:00am. The race will start at the Wells Elks Lodge and all proceeds will benefit Honor Flight Maine. Click the link below for more information, or reach out to the Wells Chamber of Commerce at (207) 646-2451.
If you have submission ideas or requests for The Wells Connector, please contact rkelley@wellstown.org.
208 Sanford Road
Wells, ME 04090
207-646-5113