Longtime Topsham public servant Don Russell to retire from Board of Selectman

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TOPSHAM — Don Russell’s nearly 50 years of public service are coming to an end, at least for now.

Russell, 79, who has lived in the same Winter Street house since the age of 6 months, and served on the Board of Selectmen from 2002 to 2005, and again since 2009, has decided not to seek re-election.

“I’ve done this for a number of years, and the town’s in a good position now, and I think it’s time to step down and let somebody else come in,” he said Monday.

Russell has also served on the Planning Board (2006-2009), School Administrative District 75 Board of Directors (2006-2008), Local Redevelopment Authority for the Topsham Navy Annex (2005-2008), Sagadahoc Budget Advisory Committee (2002-2008), and for 33 years on the Board of Appeals, including 28 years as chairman. He has also served on the Board of Assessment Review.

Russell, however, isn’t ruling out a return to public service. “I’m sure if I’m still healthy and able to move around, I will go on another board,” he said.

In addition to Russell’s seat on the Board of Selectmen, Dorothy Gardner’s longtime seat on the School Board will also be on November’s ballot. Gardner – who served from 1977-1992, and then from 2000 to the present – said Monday that she plans to run again.

“I’ve been privileged to serve on the board, and to represent my town,” she said.

Russell noted her dislike for Common Core standards for students.

“So if somebody that likes it wants to run against me, have at it,” she said.

Nominations papers must be returned to the office of Town Clerk Linda Dumont by 4:30 p.m. Sept. 21.

Bath seats

In Bath, three City Council positions are up for grabs in November.

Both Ward 2 Councilor Sean Paulhus and Ward 4 Councilor Bernie Wyman said they plan to run again. Wyman is serving his 21st year on the panel; Paulhus was first elected in 2008.

The Ward 3 council seat, also on November’s ballot, has been vacant since June, when Kyle Rogers resigned.

Nomination papers are due back Sept. 21 for two new “unrestricted-residence” seats on the Regional School Unit 1 Board of Directors. One belonged to West Bath resident Kyle Yacoben, whose position became vacant in June after his town voted to secede from the district.

The other open seat belongs to Stephen August, who has reached the end of a three-year term and said Aug. 7 that he plans to seek re-election.

The board’s three “unrestricted-residence” positions can be filled by anyone with a voting residence in the RSU, while the representatives of the other four “municipal-residence” positions are required to have a voting residence in a specific community.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Don Russell

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.