13th Annual Football Camp

13th Annual Football Camp (photo by Central Maine Photography)

Senior Logan Fortin, PAL Director John Stewart, and senior Kyle Carpenter working on blocking techniques during the Central Maine Football Camp. (Photo by Central Maine Photography staff)

Four new CNAs ready for area nursing home staffing

Recent CNA course graduates received their pins after successfully completing the state board exams. From left to right, Kayla McKenney, Amanda Sproul, clinical instructor Isabelle Markley RN, Tristin Bean, and Mary Barker. (Contributed photo)

Augusta Adult & Community Education announced July 30, that all members of the Spring 2018 Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course passed the State of Maine CNA certificate exam. The four area students graduated July 17, after completing the State of Maine prescribed CNA curriculum. The 200 hours of study included nursing theory, personal care skills and 90 hours of clinical experience.

Students completing the 12-week course included: Mary Barker, Belfast; Tristin Bean, Augusta; Kayla McKenney, Vassalboro, and Amanda Sproul, Pittston.

The Tuesday evening graduation ceremony held in Augusta’s Capital Area Tech Center was attended by family members and friends. Zane Clement, Director of Augusta Adult & Community Education, welcomed guests and moderated the celebration. Isabelle Markley, RN, and clinical instructor, with the assistance of Helen Emery, presented CNA pins and flowers to each student. CNA graduate Mary Barker received the highest grade award and also gave the student address to the audience.

Applications are now being accepted for the fall CNA course. Contact Augusta Adult & Community Education at 33 Union Street, Suite 2, Augusta, ME 04330 or by telephone at (207) 626-2470.

Erskine Academy bus route schedule for 2018-19 school year

Students should be at their pick-up points 5-10 minutes before the stated pick-up times for the first few days of school. Bus fare is $10 per week. Parents of freshmen are advised to check the bus schedule at New Student Orientation.

Pat Vigue – Bus 13
(Palermo Area)

6:25 – Palermo School
6:30 – Turner Ridge Road
6:35 – Banton Road
6:40 – Level Hill Road
6:45 – North Palermo Road
7:00 – Weston Ridge
7:15 – Tobey’s
7:20 – Frontier Village
7:25 – Leave Frontier Village
7:30 – Arrive at Erskine Academy

Sheila Wescott – Bus 11
(Chelsea/Windsor Area)

6:12 – Leave Erskine to Tyler Road
6:17 – Weeks Mills Road
6:20 – Legion Park Road/Lamson Road (turn-a-round)
6:23 – Barton Road
6:25 – 105 to Spring Road
6:50 – Chelsea School
6:53 – Wellman Road
6:55 – Route 17 to Windsor
7:00 – Hunts Meadow Road
7:10 – Route 126
7:15 – Vigue Road
7:20 – Route 17 to Route 32 Windsor
7:25 – Route 32 (Rideout’s Store)
7:35 – Arrive at Erskine Academy

Wayne Lacey – Bus 1
(Whitefield-Jefferson Area)

6:25 – Leave Country Corners Store
6:30 – Travel down Route 215
6:35 – Route 126 to Jefferson
6:40 – Jefferson Post Office
7:00 – Intersection of Route 32 & 17
7:10 – Intersection of Route 17 & 206
7:20 – Intersection of Route 105 & 32
7:23 – Choate Road
7:25 – Windsor Neck Road/South Road
7:30 – Kidder Road
7:30 – Arrive at Erskine Academy

Janice Cook – Bus 16
(Windsor/Whitefield/Coopers Mills Area)

6:18 – Leave Erskine- Rte 32 South
6:26 – Maxcy’s Mills Rd
6:28 – Griffin Road
6:33 – Vigue Road
6:37 – Townhouse Road
6:44 – 218N/194N
6:46 – Heath Road
6:50 – Hilton Road
6:52 – 218N //Mills Road
6:59 – Coopers Mills Main Street
7:00 – Windsor Road/Coopers Mills
7:02 – Erskine Road
7:04 – Wingood Road
7:08 – Erskine Road
7:09 – Windsor Road/Coopers Mills
7:15 – Route 105 to Rte 32
7:18 – Route 32 to Erskine Academy
7:30 – Arrive at Erskine Academy

Routes, drivers and bus numbers subject to change.

Mobile home replacement initiative now ongoing

The Maine State Housing Authority has implemented a Mobile Home Replacement Initiative, effective June 15, 2018. The program provides the combination of an amortizing, interest bearing Maine Housing Mortgage Loan and a $30,000 Maine Housing grant. The initiative is designed to assist income eligible Maine residents seeking to replace their pre-1976 mobile home with a new Energy Star certified manufactured home on the same site.

The borrowers must execute a deferred, forgivable note and mortgage to ensure compliance with the 15-year occupancy requirement.

Those eligible for this new limited-time opportunity are applicants who own and occupy a pre-1976 mobile home, defined as being built before June 15, 1976, and must qualify for a MaineHousing First Home or Salute ME mortgage in a first-lien position. The first-time home buyers requirement is waived.

The optional $30,000 grant requires a 15-year occupancy compliance period. All the funds can be applied to dismantle and remove the existing mobile home unit and install, on the original site, a new Energy Star certified manufactured home. Funds can be used to pay off an existing mortage loan, to pay for borrower closing costs, to pay for outstanding assessments, and site development costs.

The new units must be Energy Star certified manufactured homes which are permanently connected to water, sewer, electric and other utilities. The home must be anchored to a permanent foundation in accordance with provisions set forth by the Maine Manufactured Housing Board with the wheels, axles, towing hitch and tongue removed. The land on which the home is located can be owned by the applicants, private leased land or in an approved park.

Under the new initiative, borrowers must be credit qualified for a Home Mortgage Program payable loan.

Income qualifications are: in Kennebec, Somerset, Knox and Lincoln counties, $54,480 for 1-2 persons, and $62,640 for three persons or more.

A sample transaction would be $65,000 for a new Energy Star home, $35,000 project costs, to include site preparation, slab, utility hook-ups, removal of the existing home, paying off an existing mortgage and closing costs, for a total of $100,000. Subtracting the credit for the grant brings the mortgage total to $70,000, which, with 4.5 percent interest (APR of 5.11 percent), would equal a monthly payment of $354.68. Costs will vary by case, with interest rates subject to change. The payments are based on a 30-year term.

For more information, visit www.mainehousing.org or www.MaineHousing.org/HomeLoan; or telephone 207-626-4663 or 800-452-4668.

South China Library project breaks new ground

Volunteers at the South China Public Library include, from left to right, Katie Bailey, Marcia Hall, Darlene Zimmerman, Marcia Tobey, Angel Hall-Stuart, Bob Bennett, Carol Thibodeau, Aurie Maxwell, James Maxwell, Ian Maxwell, Andrew Maxwell, Sarah Breton, Melissa Campbellton, Xavier Colfer, Cheryl Baker, Gabrielle Colfer, Danielle Pettengill, Aiden Pettengill and Jean Dempster, library board of directors president. (Photo by Eric Austin)

by Eric W. Austin

There’s a new driveway off Jones Road in South China, hidden by the surrounding trees. If you drive too fast, you might miss it. The driveway leads to the soon-to-be new location of the South China Library, and there’s a lot of work going on there.

More than 30 people gathered at the site on Monday, August 6, to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the new location. Purchased in June of 2016, the property also includes the historic 1815 Rufus M. Jones house next door, which will eventually be restored as an historic site and open to the public.

At the groundbreaking, Jean Dempster, president of the library board of directors, thanked volunteers and community members for their support. Dempster also thanked volunteer Jeff Zimmerman and China Codes Enforcement Officer Paul Mitnik for all of their help with planning and permits.

In the coming months, a modular classroom, donated by the Town of China, will be moved to the site, followed by new construction. The final phase will be moving the original library building from its current location on Village Street to the new site at 33 Jones Road.

“The driveway, earthworks, and bringing in the modular classroom are first,” Dempster announced. “Then some new construction for the bathrooms!” This last brought cheers from the crowd, as the library’s current location lacks facilities.

The South China Library, established in 1830, is the oldest continuously-operating library in the state of Maine. The current building was completed in 1900, with an addition in 1980. The South China Library Association was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1912.

There’s still a long road ahead for the initiative, and fundraising goals will need to be met for the project to remain on schedule, but the groundbreaking marked a major milestone in the years-long effort.

“You’ll see more progress soon,” Dempster concluded, “and it’s been everybody’s great work making this happen. Thank you!”

To contribute to the project or volunteer, please contact the library at 445-3094 or visit southchinalibrary.org.


UNH dean’s list for the Spring Semester 2018

The following students have been named to the dean’s list at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham, New Hampshire, for the spring 2018 semester.

Taylor Ferguson, of Sidney, with high honors; Matthew Murray, of Augusta, with high honors; Michaela Hinckley-Gordon, of Benton, with high honors; Luke Violette, of Waterville, with Highest Honors; Sarah Wildes, of Winslow, with highest honors; Kyle McLain, of Fairfield, with highest honors; Samantha Mestieri, of Fairfield, with honors; Carly LaRochelle, of Fairfield, with highest honors; Jessica Hosea, of Oakland, with highest honors; Hannah Duperry, of Oakland, with highest honors; Adam Turcotte, of Cornville, with high honors; and Adam Bovie, of Vassalboro, with honors.

Selectmen approve new schedule at transfer station

by Mary Grow

Starting this fall, the China transfer station will be open five days a week, from Tuesday through Saturday, instead of the current four days.

At their Aug. 6 meeting, selectmen approved a new schedule under which the facility will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays, “the long day”; and from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Station Manager Tim Grotton said the half-hour earlier Saturday opening is because on Saturdays people are often waiting at the gate well before the current 7 a.m. opening. Selectmen agreed to begin the new hours Tuesday, Sept. 4, unless something unexpected requires a delay.

Board Chairman Robert MacFarland said the station should never be closed three days in a row, for example over Thanksgiving or when Christmas or Independence Day falls on a Tuesday or Saturday. Grotton objected, saying other town employees get either three days off when appropriate or compensation.

Selectmen charged the Transfer Station Committee, whose members endorsed the new hours, with working out a holiday schedule that would avoid three-day closings.

Two controversial issues were discussed at the Aug. 6 meeting, one new and one on-going since late in 2017.

Residents John and Mary Benziger used the public comment period included on selectmen’s agendas to ask about new Town Manager Dennis Heath, in light of a weekend Central Maine newspapers article about his personal views on same-sex marriage, Islam, the role of women and other hot-button topics.

John Benziger was concerned that outsiders would see opinions that Heath expressed or endorsed on social media in the past as representative of the town. He asked MacFarland if the selectmen would have hired Heath if they had read the posts that staff writer Emily Higginbotham quoted. “Yes,” MacFarland replied. “A man’s personal beliefs are his own.”

Selectman Neil Farrington heatedly defended Heath’s right to have and express personal views. Audience member Jean Conway agreed, and said the new manager seems to have the town’s interests at heart.

Heath said Higginbotham had not reported everything he said in their conversation. He said he would never treat people differently because their beliefs and his differ. Asked by Benziger if he had ever encouraged town clerks in Oklahoma, where he previously worked, to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he said he had not, adding, “The law [allowing same-sex marriage] is the law.”

The Neck Road fire pond was re-discussed at length. It was built in November 2017 after voters approved funds for it and, selectmen agree in hindsight, built wrong, too close to the road and with too steep sides. Selectmen had agreed that Heath would obtain an easement from landowner Tom Michaud and a release from abutter Leo Pando and would then seek bids to rebuild the pond farther from the road and with safer sides (see The Town Line, June 25, p. 6).

Heath reported he had oral approval from Michaud, but Pando refused to sign without additional stipulations that were unacceptable.

After considerable discussion of possible results of various courses and of comparative costs, board members voted 3-1 to have Heath proceed as planned without Pando’s signature. Neil Farrington voted against the motion, preferring to fill in the pond; Jeffrey LaVerdiere was absent.

On another ongoing issue, the causeway project at the head of China Lake’s east basin, Heath said a representative of the state’s boat landing division told him parking on the east side of Routes 202 and 9 would not be acceptable, for safety reasons. The Tax Increment Finance Committee that is spearheading the project to provide a new causeway bridge, an expanded boat landing and more lake access had already learned that the state would not invest in the boat landing without more parking.

The committee has been investigating buying property on the east side of the highway.

The goal, Heath said, is 10 to 15 parking spaces, each 12 feet wide by 50 feet long. In other business, Heath reported he already has two requests for local ballot questions for Nov. 6. One, presented by MacFarland, would ask voters to approve a consolidated public safety building to serve fire, rescue and police services. The other, requested by town office staff, would repeal China’s quorum ordinance, which requires about 120 voters be present for a town meeting to be held.

Office staff spend many hours before the March town business meeting twisting arms to get people to come, Heath said. Selectman Irene Belanger reminded everyone that the quorum ordinance was adopted because without it, a handful of people could and often did make decisions for the whole town.

Audience member Wayne Chadwick asked if it would be possible to make the March business meeting a written-ballot affair, so that people could vote as their schedules permitted and go home, instead of spending a Saturday morning doing town business.

The deadline to submit proposed ballot questions is Friday, Sept. 7, Heath said. Sept. 7 is also the deadline for submitting signed nomination papers for local office. To be elected this year are three selectmen; planning board members from districts 2 and 4 plus the at-large member; and budget committee members from districts 2 and 4 plus the secretary and the at-large member. Nomination papers are now available at the town office.

Conway, as chairman of the Comprehensive Planning Committee, asked for and received approval to contract with Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG) for a maximum of $20,500 for assistance in revising China’s comprehensive plan. Selectman Irene Belanger, a KVCOG board member, abstained on the vote.

Conway and Planning Board Chairman Tom Miragliuolo said an early step in the planning process will be a visioning session, at which all interested residents will be invited to talk about China’s present and future. They hope to schedule the session in September or October.

Farrington and Heath reported progress toward reaching an agreement with Hussey Communications, in Winslow, to provide wireless service in China, starting with lakeshore residents who currently have no service (unless they spend thousands of dollars to run cable down fire roads) and expanding to other unserved and underserved areas.

Heath had asked five town departments – the town clerk, the transfer station, public works, fire and rescue and the police – to bring or send selectmen reports on current activities. He plans to include department reports on each future selectmen’s agenda, he said.

He also gave selectmen a summary financial report for July, promising one each month.

At future meetings, Heath would like board members to talk about a revised permit fee schedule he and Codes Officer Paul Mitnik are considering; China’s Land Use Ordinance; accepting a request to help manage the Heritage Tour Scholarship Fund on behalf of China Middle School; changing internal financial controls, like requiring two signatures on every check the town issues; and the town manager’s bond, which Heath believes should be higher than it is now even though a higher bond is more expensive.

The next China selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, according to the town’s website.

Groundbreaking for new South China Library

From left to right, Aiden Pettengill, Librarian Cheryl Baker, Ian Maxwell and Xavier Colfer perform a ceremonial groundbreaking on August 6 at the new location for the South China Library. (Photo by Eric Austin)

Shine-on Oakland Day benefits food pantry

Colby Charette (and his dog Sadie) sit among the over 150 boxes of cereal collected at Oakfest’s first “ShineOn Oakland Day” in support of local kids.

Avery Charland, of Fairfield, was among hundreds of kids who painted positive messages on rocks to hide in the community to spread kindness as part of the July 28 “ShineOn Oakland Day” at Oakfest.

Oakland’s first “ShineOn Oakland Day” July 28 collected over 150 boxes of cereal, bringing awareness to child food insecurity and feeding local families who receive support through the Oakland Food Pantry. The ShineOnCass Foundation partnered with the Town of Oakland’s summer festival “Oakfest” which featured three days of community events including a street dance, farmer’s market, triathlon and a parade, where parade goers dropped boxes of cereal into shopping carts pushed by area students involved in ShineOnCass initiatives.

Anya Fegal helps collect cereal boxes in one of the ShineOnCass shopping carts.

Monica Charette, who organized the event with Foundation volunteers, said she hopes this will become an annual event to support the Oakland Food Pantry, local families in need and offer opportunity for children to participate in an activity that gives back to the community. The ShineOnCass Foundation also hosted “Oakland Rocks” where kids painted positive messages on over 200 rocks to place in their community to help spread kindness. All who participated received “ShineOnCass Kindness Matters” wristbands.

The ShineOnCass Foundation was created to honor the spirit, continue the work, and encourage others to live the legacy of Cassidy Charette, whose kindness and passion for others Shines On. Cassidy was a 17-year-old Messalonskee scholar and athlete, and a devoted community volunteer who died in a hayride accident in 2014. The organization’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower youth to make their world a better place through volunteer charitable activities.