BREWER – George McHale, a 50-year radio and TV announcer known as Maine media icon George Hale, raised his eyebrows and smiled while Mayor Joseph Ferris bestowed the Orrington resident with the city’s 2005 Public Service Award.
“Thank you, Mr. Mayor,” Hale said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, then added jokingly: “It’s hard for me to say Mr. Mayor to someone I made famous,” which drew a round of laughter from the crowd in attendance.
Hale was referring to when Ferris was a pitcher for the University of Maine’s baseball team, which played in the College World Series in 1964. Hale announced the games over the airwaves.
“We surely had a wonderful ride together,” Ferris said.
While ushering in the early years of TV in the Bangor market, Hale’s children “grew up in Brewer, for the most part” because they attended Brewer schools, he said.
“It’s a great honor to serve the community,” said Hale, who made his radio debut in 1953 while working at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas. “My mother and father taught me to give back.”
In addition to being a broadcaster, McHale also serves as chairman of the Maine Harness Racing Commission and chairs the Maine Gambling Control Board.
The March of Dimes will honor Hale as its 2005 honoree for community involvement and lifetime achievement, during a dinner auction Oct. 18.
All five city councilors and City Manager Steve Bost had kind words for Hale.
“I didn’t know anything about sports, unless I heard it from you,” Gail Kelly said.
City councilors also recognized photographer Mario “Lee” Sirabella, who has operated a local photography studio for 60 years, as an outstanding Brewer businessman.
During the meeting, the council also:
. Decided to hire Olver Associates of Winterport to conduct a study of the sewer and water lines on Jefferson Street. Heavy rains over the weekend, and earlier in the summer, caused several basements in the area to flood.
. Accepted $2,750 in donations from Downeast Toyota and Trans Tech Industries for the city, and $6,534 in forfeited assets and approximately $25,000 in technology transfer grants from the Office of National Drug Control Policy for numerous items of surveillance equipment for the police department.
. Authorized hiring a property appraiser for approximately $39,100 and purchased a $20,392 pickup truck for the engineering department.
. Issued a resolution of respect for the late Gerald Bowie, former Public Works director, for his years of service to the city.
. Accepted the resignation of Craig Bailey from the planning board and Penobscot Landing advisory committee, because he has moved to Otis.
. Set 6 p.m. Nov. 15 as the time and date for the annual meeting of the City Council and school committee, which will be held at Jeff’s Catering.