Wells has rung in the New Year and is welcoming 2023 with open arms. We hope that you and your families stayed safe throughout the complications caused by the coastal storm and celebrated the holidays in your hearts, if you were not able to in your homes this year. We are reflecting on the successes of 2022, while simultaneously looking ahead to 2023 with a hopeful perspective, ideas for change and an ever forward-looking vision for Wells.
Did you know...the Town of Wells social media pages are great resources for quick and timely
updates and reminders.
Follow the Town of Wells on Facebook, on Instagram, and check out our
Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation, Library, and Harbor pages as well.
Grinch Storm tears through Wells, Town assesses damage
This past weekend, a massive winter storm rolled across the U.S., moving into central Maine on Friday, December 23 with heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 65 mph that knocked out power to thousands of people statewide. Rain began falling in York County in the evening on December 22. The storm blew through the state all day Friday, December 23. By Friday afternoon, more than 165,000 households statewide had lost power due to high winds, and coastal houses and roads throughout Wells took the brunt of the impact from the flooding, relentless waves and dangerous King Tide.
With the state’s second nor’easter in as many weeks finally gone, Wells Public Safety and Public Works employees worked around the clock to clean up damage caused by the winds, rains and heavy surf that lashed the coast of Wells.

Well ahead of the storm, the Town Manager and representatives from the Town’s police, fire, public works, and communications departments convened to discuss storm preparedness strategies. Departments increased staffing in anticipation of the storm, preparing for the possible need to evacuate and rescue people at the height of the storm. Town officials further prepared for wide-spread power outages, ensuring equipment needed to remove downed trees and clearing of roadways was at the ready. Emergency responders and public works personnel worked throughout the duration of the storm to ensure the well-being of those in our community. Roads deemed impassible were closed, trees blocking roadways were removed when safe to do so, and locations without power for multiple days were checked to ensure inhabitants had moved to other accommodations or were otherwise safe.
The Town of Wells, which has 10,773 locations served by Central Maine Power, experienced approximately 2,600 power outages due to the wrath of this storm. By noon on December 27th, power had been restored to all but 2 sites.
On Tuesday, December 27th, Town officials, assisted by a structural engineer, began an assessment of the Town’s infrastructure believed damaged by the storm. This assessment process will continue for multiple days with a Report of Findings, along with recommendations for repairs and related costs provided soon. This information will be beneficial as the Town prepares to seek funding assistance for repairs from federal and state resources. 
Who is liable for plow-damaged mailboxes? Property lines explained
Carol Murray, Public Works Director/ Mike Livingston, Town Engineer
The Planning Office and Public Works Department have received many questions over the years about property lines along roads. This article is to shed some light on the subject.
It is a common misconception that lot owners believe their property ownership extends to the edge of the pavement or gravel of a road. This is seldom the case. Roads are located within a street right of way. These right of ways are typically 50 feet in width but will vary depending on how the street was created. Old streets were created by Towns and Counties in the 1700 and 1800’s and were usually 3 rods in width. A rod is equal to 16.5 feet, so many streets are 49.5 feet in width. More travelled county roads/streets were 4 rods or 66 feet in width. Even in colonial times, it was known the roads need to be cleared of trees wider than the travel way/road surface and ditches and swales are required to handle drainage. Newer streets that are part of residential subdivisions are mostly 50 feet in width although some are only 40 feet.
If a property owner reads their deed or knows where their lot corners are marked, the markers will usually be approximately 10 feet from the edge of pavement or gravel. Property corner markers can be stone or concrete bounds, iron pipes, iron pins or can be an old stone wall or barbed wire fence. The distance from the pavement will vary based on the right of way width and whether the paved surface is located in the center of the right of way.
Many fences, lawns, stone walls and other landscaping items extend into the Town or private street right of ways. These types of items can be subject to damage or removal during construction of utilities or road upgrades or reconstruction. These items are at risk because they are not on the lot owner’s property.
Coming into winter, this is important to realize due to almost all mailboxes being located within the street right of way. If a Town plow destroys a mailbox, the Town is not liable for that damage. The mailbox is an encroachment into a Town street. There is also a State statute that clearly absolves the Town from such damage claims.
Cheers to a New Year and new programs at Wells Library
Cindy Appleby, Library Director
Happy New Year from the Wells Public Library!

The library finished out 2022 with some feasting and generosity.

The Fiber Arts group used their phenomenal talents to create and donate more than 40 blankets to the local Project Linus in November and December. Project Linus provides new handmade blankets to local children in need. Fiber Arts meets every Friday at 10:30 a.m. to knit, crochet, embroider, and chat. All are welcome.

The library trustees thanked the library staff for all their hard work with a delicious luncheon on December 20th. It was an enjoyable meal spent relaxing and chatting with our coworkers.

Now on to 2023! We’ve got some awesome programs coming up. Check it out:

  • Our Fiction book group is getting relaunched, still on Tuesdays but later in the day.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 3rd, 6:00 pm, Fiction Book Group: Discussing Arsenic and Adobo by Pia Manansala.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 4th, 4:30 pm, Nonfiction Book Group: Discussing The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú.
  • Thursday, Jan. 5th, 1:30-3:30 pm, Efficiency Maine: Join Efficiency Maine as they discuss the efficiency of heat pumps and heat pump water heaters and the rebates and financing programs available.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 10th, 2:00 pm, From the Archives: Bryce Waldrop from the Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit will be sharing items from the archive not normally shared with the public.
  • Thursday, Jan. 19th, 2:00 pm, Adult Crafternoon: Come plan an awesome 2023 by creating a Vision Board. All materials are provided.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 24th, 2:00 pm Lunar New Year Brush Painting: Kick off the Lunar New Year by learning to write some simple Chinese phrases and the meaning of the Year of the Rabbit. Registration is required.
  • A new story walk is up at the harbor pier: All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle.
We're also happy to announce that we have added WIFI hotspots to our collection. Wells cardholders ages 18 and older can check out a hotspot for one week at a time, with no renewals. The hotspot uses T-Mobile 5G signal, and up to 10 devices can connect to the signal.
Please ask at the circulation desk or call 207-646-8181 to check availability.

Children’s programs resume Monday, January 9th at 10:30 am. Come join us!
Special Fuel Fund provides relief for residents
General Assistance Program
The Town of Wells has a charitable fuel program. We call it the “Special Fuel Fund” and individuals and businesses have generously donated to it for many years now. Its purpose is to assist eligible residents who have applied for LIHEAP and are waiting for acceptance or who have expended all their LIHEAP award and have no other options to obtain fuel. It should not be considered as an emergency program. We do try to respond quickly but cannot guarantee same day delivery.
It is administered by the General Assistance Office at the Wells Town Hall. We use the Federal Hypothermia guidelines for eligibility: A Resident Household containing a household member over the age of 62 or under the age of 2 and/or a member that is disabled.
Please call when your tank reads at or below a ¼ full (#2 fuel oil or K-1) (Propane at 20lbs of pressure or less). Your tank must be able to accommodate the full 100 gallon delivery (propane for the gauge to read at 100 psi) as our provider will not make multiple deliveries to reach a total of 100 gal.
The Special Fuel Fund provides 100 gallons of fuel (oil, K-1 or Propane) one time per calendar year. Each household is encouraged to apply for the federally Funded LIHEAP Program through York County Community Action Center. This fund is available to Wells Residents ONLY.
Should you wish to donate, you can mail or drop off a check payable to: Town of Wells Special Fuel Fund (Tax Deductible).

As always, if your household is experiencing financial distress please contact General Assistance at (207) 361-8866 to determine eligibility for assistance and/or referrals to appropriate resources.
The cold doesn't dampen the activity down at Wells Harbor
Michael Yorke, Harbormaster
Winter may have arrived in Wells Harbor but the activity hasn’t stopped!

December 1st saw the Blue Fin Tuna quota open again with the large fish being in abundance offshore as they migrate south to warmer waters. Duck hunting season has arrived with many hunters scouring the marsh as well as launching their camouflaged boats that do double duty as hunting blinds. The Clamming season started December 3rd with some nasty weather, but the flats have been busy and productive since.
If you do not participate in any of the activities listed above, there are still many reasons to visit the harbor in the Winter. The new sidewalk leading down to the harbor is one of the nicest areas to walk in Wells and will be kept clear of snow for the winter. Harbor Beach sure seems like the best place to exercise your dog in the Winter, particularly at low tide with the sandbar exposed in the middle of the harbor. A word of warning though, if your dog is like most, they will be sandy and wet when they return to the car, so prepare your backseat accordingly.
Photographic opportunities are numerous including the Buoy Tree at Dusk or Dawn, seals sunning themselves on the docks, Bald eagles, and the occasional Snowy Owl.

Yes it’s cold and windy down here, but pick your days, it’s worth it!
3-Question Interview: The freedom of a small, off-grid home
Wells Energy Advisory Committee
Here’s another short interview with Wells area residents who have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. If you know someone who has taken similar steps, we’d love to talk to them.
Small, off-grid Home with Wells resident, Craig Merrow.
1. Tell us about your home and what inspired you to go off-grid?

The house is small; 684 square feet. It’s one bedroom/one bath with a loft. Originally, the house was going to be 1500 square feet, but after I sold my previous four-bedroom two-bath cape, I moved into a one-bedroom apartment. Then I read an article about a family of four living in a 540 square foot house – which was smaller than the apartment I was living in! That's when I realized that I didn't need all that extra space, so I redesigned the house based on the house in that article. An interesting sidenote about this house is that it also made efficient use of building materials. My contractor said he usually fills up a dumpster or two in most of the homes he builds, but this one just had a small pile of off cut lumber and OSB left when they were done.
I was originally off-grid due to the fact that it was too expensive to run the CMP line to my house. I had a battery system to give me power when the sun wasn’t shining. When the batteries started to fail, and the CMP lines were closer, I decided to hook into the grid. The best thing about living in a small, net-zero home? No heating or utility bills! One of the motivators behind this was looking at the long-term costs and the short-term fluctuations of oil. I didn't want my lifestyle to be subject to the whims of the markets and global forces; taking that out of the equation has been a very satisfying experience. I run the house mostly on solar power with a little back-up from wood heat (less than a cord per year) I've been in the house for five years (time really flies!), and enjoyed every minute of it. Very little maintenance has been required. The performance has met (and sometimes exceeded) my expectations.
2. What about costs and savings?

Costs of building a net-zero home are hard to pin down. In my case, I would estimate another 15% above the cost of building it to code. I have never had a heating or utility bill for this house for any back-to-back comparison; an educated guess would be around $1000 annually for electricity, and closer to $1500 for heating. The cost of the house (in 2017) ran me about $285,000, including the land, site work, construction, and the solar. I did get a 30% tax credit for the cost of the solar PV array. I consider all the green features to be cost-effective. I front-loaded my expenses when I paid more for the extra thick walls and insulation, high-performance windows, tinted concrete floor, and the insulated foundation, but it will always pay for itself in greatly reduced/eliminated energy costs and year-round comfort.
3. Can you talk about specific energy saving features of your house?

I have a 6.5 kW rooftop solar array. It produces a lot more electricity than I use, making the house net-positive to date. My parents had a solar hot air system. Growing up around it and seeing how well it works convinced me that this is the way to go.
The house has a 4” thick concrete slab that is insulated from the ground and the foundation with 2” of XPS. It acts as my finished floor and my heating/cooling system. The thermal mass of the floor absorbs and releases heat to keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I have a 24” eave that shades the south-facing windows during the summer to minimize solar heat gain, but allows maximum solar penetration into the house during the winter to maximize it. I also have a brick surround behind the woodstove for extra thermal mass for the woodstove; that will radiate heat for several hours after the woodstove has gone out. Being passively heated and cooled, there are no moving parts, making the house self-regulating.
Insulation: The walls are dense-packed cellulose to get R-42, while the ceiling is spray foam insulation for R-70. The house is almost completely airtight. This allows me to control entry/exit points for air changes, as well as volume and the ability to precondition it.
As far as appliances go, I’ve used mostly highly energy-efficient types (well pump, water heater, LED bulbs). I did deviate a bit when selecting kitchen appliances, though. For example, I just HAD to have a Big Chill refrigerator, buying their smaller version when they first came out...it's both stylish (going with the vintage décor of the house) and fairly efficient.
Fire Department welcomes new Tower Truck to Wells
Mark Dupuis, Fire Chief
The new Tower Truck is here!

After what seemed like a very long wait, we have finally received our new truck. You may have seen it around town as our fire personnel continue their 12 hours of training before we can put it in service. This new Tower has many new features that will help our community greatly.
We encourage anyone to visit and ask any questions you may have. We always enjoy having the community take interest in what we do!

We would like to thank all of you for supporting us with this piece of equipment. Thank you!!
Wells Firefighters were also given an amazing opportunity to train with LifeFlight in Sanford. The firefighters were given a tour of the LifeFlight helicopter, and their ground support vehicle.
All members were trained in establishing a landing zone, and proper communication when they are needed at an incident. This organization is a non-profit and is here to help at no cost to the taxpayers.
We want to thank the members of LifeFlight of Maine for their time and enthusiasm to train us.
Planning Board extends warm thank you to retiring members
Mike Livingston, Town Planner & Engineer
The Planning Office would like to take this opportunity to thank two retiring Planning Board members for their long service and dedication to the Town of Wells, fellow Board members, and the Planning Office.
Dennis Hardy has served on the Planning Board since 2009 and held other Board and Committee positions in the Town prior to that.
Charles Anderson has served on the Planning Board since 2011 and also held other Committee positions prior as well.
Both members have decided to retire from their roles on the Planning Board to be truly retired.
Their dedication to attending meetings, site walks, diligently reviewing applications and determining compliance with the Town’s Ordinances has been a great benefit to the Town. It is rare to have individuals volunteer to make such a commitment to local government for such a long period and to perform their duties so well.
The Planning Office (Mike Livingston and Shannon Belanger) will miss their presence and comprehensive comments and decisions on applications.

The remaining Planning Board members also have expressed their deep appreciation for Dennis and Charles’s service and dedication.
Police Department celebrates Officer graduation
Jo-Ann Putnam, Chief of Police
On Friday, December 16th, Patrol Officer Jebediah Johnson graduated from the 42nd Basic Law Enforcement Training Program. Johnson has been a member of the Wells Police Department since the summer of 2020. He worked two full summers before going through a full-time application process.
He was hired as a full-time patrol officer in September of 2021. Jebediah was pinned by his brother Maine Deputy Sheriff Levi Johnson, who also started his law enforcement career as a Wells Reserve Police Officer.
Clam Licenses now available at the Town Hall
Town Clerks Office
Clam licenses are now available at the Wells Town Hall. These day licenses are first come, first serve and must be purchased in person. They can be purchased in advance, for the price of $20 per day. All licenses are non-refundable.
There are five available Resident Licenses and five available Non-Resident Licenses. Please contact the Town Clerk's office, at (207) 646-2882 with any questions.
Please note that no commercial digging is permitted.
Efficiency Maine to hold heat pump discussion at Wells Library
On Thursday, January 5, Efficiency Maine will be coming to Wells Library at 1:30 p.m. to host a talk on heat pumps.
Efficiency Maine is a public benefits fund that provides rebates on weatherization, efficiency heating, and the purchase of electric vehicles. This talk will cover the rebates and financing programs offered, with a focus on how heat pumps and heat pump water heaters can set the stage for a more fuel-efficient household. Audience questions are encouraged!
Visit the Efficiency Maine webpage to learn more about heat pumps and read through a comprehensive FAQ section.

For more information, please contact Stefanie Claydon at sclaydon@wellstown.org or call the library at (207) 646-8181.
If you have submission ideas or requests for The Wells Connector, please contact rkelley@wellstown.org.
208 Sanford Road
Wells, ME 04090