Lions name speech contest winners

Pictured are Lion Mike Kay, Speak-Out chairman, first place winner, Taylor Kruse, a junior at Skowhegan Area High School, second place winner, Victoria Broadley, also a Junior at SAHS, and King Lion Diane Chamberland, of Skowhegan Lions Club.

The Skowhegan Lions Club recently completed its annual Speak-Out Contest at the Margaret Chase Smith Library Center, in Skowhegan. Lions Speak-Out gives high school students a forum to present a prepared speech on a topic or issue of their choosing and to defend their ideas when questioned.
Contributed photo

Lawrence Jr. High student visits State Senate

Contributed photo

Adrian O’Connell, of Benton, served as an honorary page in the Maine Senate on Thursday, March 15. During his visit he met with his state senator, Scott Cyrway (R-Kennebec). The honorary page program gives students from third grade through high school an opportunity to participate in the legislative process for one day’s session in either the House or Senate. For more information about the program, please contact Senator Cyrway’s office at 207-287-1505.

It’s Spring; time for Vidalia Onions!

By ryan griffis – originally posted to Flickr as Vidalia Onions, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Versatile Vidalia onions are coming into season and will arrive in Palermo on May 17. They’re big, sweet, and juicy, and you can order a 25-pound box of them for only $27. In a cool, dark place, Vidalia onions can keep for up to six months, especially if they do not touch one another. That gives you lots of time to bake them caveman-style in the embers, grill them wrapped in bacon and topped with cheesy crumbs, or caramelized and baked into rich quiches.

As long as your imagination is ignited, why not order some? Call Connie Bellet at 993-2294, or e-mail Be sure to include your phone number in your message, as we will call you as soon as we unload the onions off the truck. Payment needs to be received by April 27, and may be sent to: Living Communities Fdn., P.O. Box 151, Palermo, ME 04354.

If you go in with your neighbors (or plan to do some serious canning), you can get four boxes for $100. Proceeds from this sale go to the Palermo Community Center and the Palermo Food Pantry. Your community support is highly appreciated!

Free community Easter egg hunt planned

The Winslow Baptist Church will be hosting a community Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 31, at 10 a.m., at the park on Daillaire and Halifax streets, in Winslow. Rain location will be a the Winslow Elementary School. There will be thousands of eggs to gather.

This is a free event open to all children ages pre-K through grade five.

There will be free coffee, juice and doughnuts for all.

Maine Maple Sunday on tap March 25

Raider Sugarhouse

The 35th Maine Maple Sunday will take place on Sunday, March 25. Sugarhouses throughout Maine will provide tours, free samples and demonstrations on the process of transforming maple sap into maple syrup. Locally, Raider’s Sugarhouse, located at 148 Bog Road, in China, will have an open house from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. A family operation, they are in their fourth year of producing quality maple syrup. Dress warm and wear boots as the sugarhouse is located about 500 feet from the main road via a tote road and is accessible only on foot. Restrooms are available. FMI: 968-2005.

Homeschoolers perform Shakespeare this weekend

The Southern Maine Shakespearean Homeschoolers will be performing its annual show, Much Ado About Nothing, at the Cumston Hall, in Monmouth, on Thursday and Friday, March 22-23, at 6:30 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

The group is comprised of home schooled students as they learn the aspects of putting a play on the stage. Their director is Pastor Samuel Richards, of Winthrop.

Through their work they discover Shakespeare, but they also find interests and talents, and hone abilities and skills they never knew they had.

More information is available at

UPDATE: Maine News Center 6 did a recent report on the kids for their upcoming performance that can be found here.


WINSLOW: Robotics team invited to national final round

Winslow Public Library

The Winslow Public Library has announced that its Wonder League Robotics Competition team, the Winslow Coders, has made it to the national final invitational round. Out of 5,300 teams participating around the country, approximately 280 were invited to this round.

The Winslow Coders are a group of four Winslow children between the ages of 8 and 12. They have been working weekly since October at the library on this project. They had three story-based missions to do, each with three parts, between October and February.

“Although we struggled a bit at the beginning, the team really rallied and made it through the last two missions in record time.” said co-coach Samantha Cote, Youth Services and Technology Librarian. Added her co-coach, Maine State Library’s STEM Liaison Christina Dorman, “Their dedication has been very impressive. We’re so excited for them to have this opportunity.”

Dash & Dot, the small programmable robots used in the Wonder League Robotics Competition, are popular among educators looking to introduce coding and robotics through project-based learning. The library’s robots were purchased with its Ambrose Endowment funds, which are designated for use in children’s and young adult programs. Participants in the Wonder League, ages 6 to 12, develop problem-solving, growth mindset, and creativity skills while learning to code.

The top five teams in the 6-8 and 9-12 age categories all receive official certificates, competition T-shirts, and Dash robots. Wonder Workshop will award a $5,000 STEM grant grand prize to the winning team in the age 6-8 category and the winning team in the age 9-12 category.

Wonder Workshop was founded in 2012 by inventors, designers, programmers, and parents on a mission to transform coding into a creative tool for children, starting at age five. Within its first month, Wonder Workshop delivered robots to 37 countries. Today, Wonder Workshop’s award winning, hands-on learning tools are used by K-5 students in more than 12,000 classrooms worldwide. Wonder Workshop’s standards-aligned, teacher developed curriculum is designed to cultivate interests in STEM fields at formative ages for all students. For more information, visit

The Winslow Public Library can be contacted by phone at 872-1978, on the web at, on our Facebook page, or you can email Samantha Cote, Youth Services/Technology Librarian at

CHINA: Central Church to open in May in old Fairpoint building

Central Church (previously known as Kennebec Community Church) will be opening its doors on May 6, in the old Fairpoint Building, on Rte. 3, in South China.

The church is all about three things. Loving Jesus, loving others, and helping others love Jesus. The services are fun to go to. Most people, when they think of a church service, think of a lot of old songs played on an organ and a lecture from someone exceptionally boring.

Hannah Gow, creative director at the church, says, “Our services are alive. You come in and listen and sing along with our band worshiping our Lord and Savior.”

And then the congregation get to hear from their dynamic speaker and lead pastor Dan Coleman. “I promise, he’s funny and not boring to listen to,” said Gow. “He’s very clear and says what needs to be said. We don’t shy away from the truth here but we make sure how we communicate is easy to understand.”

They are not a church only reserved for a Sunday morning experience. “We love our community,” explained Gow, “and are constantly putting on events to show the community we are there for them. Some of these events include a free soccer camp, an Easter Egg Hunt event, a halloween Trunk or Treat event, and more!”

The Easter Egg Hunt event in China will take place on Saturday, March 24.

“I have never felt so connected to my community until I came and got plugged into this church,” said Gow. “It’s as if the church becomes a hub for the community. A safe place for people to connect but more importantly grow in their faith.”

And that’s what they want to bring to China. Something that is alive and a place that the community can come together.

The Town Line: 30 years of serving area towns

by Roland D. Hallee

The first issue of The Town Line was published on March 15, 1989.

The founders of The Town Line, Gary and Trish Newcomb. (File photo)

The brain child of China residents Gary and Trish Newcomb, the newspaper’s goal was to bring neighbors and their respective towns closer together through better communications.

Area towns and their residents had gone through some turbulent times during the mid-’80s when much animosity had grown to epidemic proportions. Gary and Trish figured that if people really knew what their neighbors were doing, they would better understand each other.

Although the original mission statement for The Town Line has been lost, its general meaning is how the newspaper got its name. Gary and Trish believed that if everyone was more open in their communications, they could all become better neighbors, and asked people to take their discussions, differences and ideas, and meet at “the town line.”

Preparing that first issue was a monumental task. First there was equipment to purchase, acquaint themselves with computers and their programs, find a printing company, and then arrange a distribution system.

Once the first issue hit the streets, Gary said, “How will we ever put out another issue?” He thought he had used up all possible material in that first issue. Well, miracles happen, and now, 30 years later, The Town Line newspaper celebrates the publication of 1,450 issues to date.

Gary and Trish nurtured the newspaper for the first nine years, until, thinking they had taken the paper as far as they could, put it up for sale in 1997. The final issue under the guidance of the Newcombs came on December 20, 1997.

The original staff consisted of three people. The first issue denotes the Newcombs as both publishers and editors. Trish was advertising director and Gary took care of the graphic designs. Julie Dermott was administrative assistant.

In the early days, the staff of The Town Line included, seated, from left to right, Trish Newcomb, Gary Newcomb, Lea Davis and Susan Walter. Back, Susan Boody, Fred Davis and Susan Cottle. (File photo)

As time passed, and the newspaper grew, additional staff members were needed to accomplish the work. On May 16, 1990, Susan Cottle became the first editor other than the Newcombs. She would continue in that capacity until the end of 1991. Joe Lupsha and Fred Davis each served as assistant editor during this period.

On January 6, 1992, Lea Davis was named the second editor in the paper’s brief history. Lea would continue as editor and eventually as managing editor until May 14, 2004, the longest tenured editor in the history of the paper at the time.

During her time, the paper went through a series of setbacks due to changes in ownership. After the Newcombs closed the paper at the end of 1997 for a lack of a buyer, Dennis Keller came on the scene and purchased the assets. The paper reopened its doors on January 31, 1998.

The paper would continue on its normal path until July 3, 1998, when it became a bi-weekly (once every two weeks) due to economic hardships. Keller would eventually close the doors on October 10, 1998.

That’s when the paper’s future took an unexpected turn for the better. A small group of former staff and some interested community members worked through the winter of 1999, formed a new plan and incorporated the publication as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit private foundation.

Spearheaded by Joann Austin, Faith Ames, the late John Robie, staff members Lea Davis, Sandy Keller and Roland Hallee, all of whom donated their time, the groundwork was ready to continue towards re-opening the paper. At this point, a great amount of gratitude is bestowed upon the late Faith Ames, who personally financed the initial few issues upon the return of the publication, until sufficient revenues enabled The Town Line to sustain itself.

On March 6, 1999, The Town Line re-emerged as the voice of these small central Maine towns. Through great community support, both from businesses and small grants from the towns, The Town Line firmly planted itself back on the path to recovery.

The Town Line is now a nonprofit organization with a board of directors as overseers. Forever striving to improve the quality of its offerings, The Town Line is constantly seeking new, tax deductible, memberships to the organization. Similar to public radio and television, The Town Line accepts memberships and monetary contributions and donations.

The current members of the board of directors are Joann Austin, Eric Austin, Neil Farrington, Gladys Hewett and Emily Cates. Others to have served on the board in the past have included Joe Pinette, Walter Wilson, Mike Mara, Faith Ames, Dick Kelley, Joe Suga, and Marge Roy, among others.

The staff under the regime of Dennis Keller included, seated, from left to right, Sandy Keller, Roland Hallee, Lea Davis and Martha Holzwarth. Back, Natalie Lyon, Nancy Heath, Ed Heath, Paulie Heath, Mike Heath, Dennis Keller, Miriam Keller and Dustin Heath. (File photo)

On June 1, 2004, Susan Varney became the third editor in the newspaper’s history. She would continue in that position until February 2005, when upon her departure, Roland Hallee became the fourth editor of The Town Line. He continues today as the managing editor and is now the longest tenured staff member (25 years of service), and the longest serving editor (13 years) in the history of the paper, having begun his career at The Town Line in May 1993. With nearly 55 years of newspaper work, and editor of two other weekly newspapers in Pittsfield and Skowhegan, he has used his experience to guide The Town Line through some dark days.

Over the past 30 years, The Town Line has occupied six different locations. The original site was at the old fire station, next to the old post office off Rte. 3, now occupied by Whitt’s Garments.

From that location, they moved in January 1994 to a building on Rte. 3, across from the South China Post Office (now occupied by Legacy Home Improvement). They would remain there only a short period of time before relocating in June 1995, to the 202 Plaza on Rte. 202, in South China.

Upon its reopening as a nonprofit in 1999, they were located in the lower level at 16 Jonesbrook Crossing, in South China. They would remain at that site until November 2008, when they moved upstairs in the same building in the space formerly occupied by Fernald Family Chiropractic. All of the locations were in South China. The newspaper is now located in the lower level of the old China Town Hall, next to the China Town Office, at 575 Lakevidw Drive.

Through the years, others were instrumental in the success of the paper. Susan Boody, Adam Hansen, Troy Henderson, Carl Mercier, Paul Basham, Diane Bickford, Michelle Shores and Kathy Duhnoski (the present ad director) have all served as advertising directors. Advertising salesmen over the years have included Ken Nawfel, Betsy Murphy, Martha Holzwarth, Aileen Wescott, Marlene Myers, Bill Zinck, George Chappell, among others. Office managers have included Heide Hotham, Sandy Keller, Sylvia Martin, Marilyn Boyle, Angela Brunette, and Joan Hallee. Claire Breton has been business manager since 2000. Prior to that, business managers have included Ed Heath, Natalie Lyon and Adam Hansen. Others to contribute as graphic artists have been Fran Vitolo, Susan Walter, Dirk Rose, Roland Hallee and Kareno Stansbury. Lyn Rowden was the senior staff writer and assistant editor from 2009 until 2013, when layoffs were needed in order to cut expenses as revenues began to diminish.

Included with all these people is an endless list of regular contributors and volunteers.

March 15, 2018 marked the beginning of the 30th year of publishing The Town Line, a feat that, in 1989, seemed way out of reach to its founders.

The staff and board of directors at The Town Line newspaper thank all the advertisers, businesses and supporters of the past 30 years that has made it a success, and will push forward into the future to continue its mission set forth by Gary and Trish Newcomb in 1989. The Newcombs now reside in Ohio.

Thank you for found dog


Lori Benson, of China, thanks all the kind and wonderful people in the town of China who helped look for her missing dog, Tucker. Your kindness is appreciated! He has been found and is doing well.