Pilots returning to Dexter to benefit Make-A-Wish

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DEXTER — For the second year in a row, aircraft will be landing at Lake Wassookeag during the first Saturday of August to benefit Make-A-Wish Maine. The Dexter Town Council learned about the 2019 “Wings on the Waterfront” event planned for Aug. 3 from organizer Jim Crane of Exeter during a May 9 council meeting.

Crane said a little more than a year prior he spoke to the council on his participation in the 2017 “Wings 4 Wishes” event as more than a dozen small aircraft landed at Old Orchard Beach to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s unexpected landing at the spot in the Spirit of St. Louis and in the process raised thousands of dollars for Make-A-Wish Maine.

“When it was all over with we made over $15,500 for Make-A-Wish Maine,” Crane said as the organization works to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. He said the fly-in in Old Orchard Beach inspired a similar event in Dexter with aircraft coming to the area and pilots and passengers staying for part of the day and letting the public see their planes.

“It was Aug. 4 last year,” Crane said, mentioning heavy rains that day did limit the number of “Wings on the Waterfront” participants and spectators but the event was still a success. “I was really pleased with the support we got, there was probably a couple of hundred but that is just my guess we didn’t keep track,” he said.

“Last year when we got all said and done we donated $5,200 to Make-A-Wish,” Crane said. He said the average wish cost is around $2,000.

He said the 2019 “Wings on the Waterfront” would be from around 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3. Once again Make-A-Wish Maine would be invited to the event on the shore of Lake Wassookeag. Pilots could land in a nearby field and taxi the short distance to the waterfront.

The council members said they supported Crane’s plans for the second annual “Wings on the Waterfront,” and more information on the event will be released in the months to come.

In other business, councilors accepted a pair of monetary donations. The first is $2,000 from the Plummer Foundation for the town’s youth summer camp.

The council also accepted $4,000 from the Alfond Foundation to be put toward the restoration of the bathhouse at the Lake Wassookeag beach.

In response to question from Council Chair Peter Haskell on who would be carrying out the project construction Town Manager Trampas King said, “We’re going to do some volunteering and stuff like that.”

King also talked about the proposed merger between Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, which is governed by the HAD 4 board of directors coming from 14 district member communities including Dexter, and Northern Light Health. King said last month the council gave its approval to the proposed merger plan and since then residents of 12 of the other 13 communities voted in favor — Cambridge being the exception — via various advisory articles on town meeting warrants.

“If it was a closer vote and a couple of other towns voted no I could see something happening,” King said. Presently a bill to amend the HAD 4 charter to allow for the merger is being considered in Augusta.

He said there was talk of a petition to challenge the council’s decision with no question on the hospital merger being put out to a town vote, but King said since Dexter operates under a town council form of government and not a selectmen’s/town meeting system councilors are authorized to make such decisions and recommendations for the community.

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