SOLON & BEYOND: Solon budget committee begins process

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

The Solon Budget Committee meeting was held at the Municipal building on Saturday, January 20, with the following in attendance: Ann Padham, Bruce Hills, Frank Ridley, Barbara Johnstone, Eleanor Pooler, Carol White, Donald Kenerson, George Williams, Albert Starbird, Allen Foss, Joseph Albuit, Jeff Pomelow, Lois Miller and Gaye Erskin . Selectmen, Elaine Aloes, Mary Lou Ridley and Sarah Davis; Treasurer, Sharon Begin; Town Clerk/Tax Collector, Leslie Giroux, Road Commissioner, Mike Foster, Fire Chief, Duayne Rollins. Others there were Keith Galleger, who is running for the selectman position in March and Lief and I.

A meeting of the Coolidge Library Trustees meeting was held at the library on January 18 with the following in attendance: Librarian, Megan Myers, Richard Roberts, Mary Farrar, Jane Ouderkirk, Allen Foss, Lief Bull, and Diane Trussell.

Megan passed out copies of her report and answered questions. The School Bookmark Contest continues to be popular. The winning submission is chosen from each class (Pre K-5) at Solon Elementary School. Megan was this year’s judge, along with the district art teacher.

The annual Summer Reading Program ran June 29 – August 10. This year’s activities were assisted by a local teen volunteer. During the program, Build a Better World, she focused on books and activities that promoted science, engineering, arts and community awareness. There was a small but consistent attendance. Meals were again available to all children and teens from the school’s Summer Meals Program.

Was pleased to receive an e-mail from Ferra Kelley about the following information: Once again, volunteer members of AARP will be preparing & filing Federal/State tax returns, free of charge, to senior and low income families in the area. The Crossroads Bible Church, 705 White School House Rd. Madison have again generously allowed us to work out of their premises, and we are taking appointments for Friday & Saturday mornings, beginning in February. Please do not make calls to the church directly, as they are not otherwise involved in the program. Call Ferra @ 643-2559 to schedule an appointment.

I’m glad that several of you liked the article on manners in this column last week, and as promised I will send more of them when space allows….but, we must leave space for Percy’s memoirs:

“It’s the little things we do and say
That means so much as we go our way.
A kindly deed can lift a load
From weary shoulders on the road.
Or a gentle word, like summer rain.
May soothe some heart and banish pain.
What joy or sadness often springs
From just the simple little things.”

This is from one of those little Salesian Inspirational Books, that I have collected for many years.

Quarter auction planned in Madison

A Quarter Auction will be held on Saturday, September 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Madison American Legion Hall, 20 S. Maple Street. Check out this exciting fundraiser that has never been done in this area before! Quarter Auction is a combination of an Auction, Vendor Fair and Luck of the Draw all rolled into a fun time.

Doors open at 9 a.m. Auction starts at 10 a.m. Admission is $2 per Auction Paddle. The kitchen will be open. 50/50 Raffle and various other raffles.

Bring your quarters! Quarters will be available to purchase. All proceeds to benefit veterans programs and local community charities. For more information, call Harriet 635-2051, Fran 696-3726 or Bonnie 772-418-4534, also as an event on Facebook entitled Quarter Auction. Event sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit #39-Madison.

Zumba-thon for veterans a success

The Zumba-Thon for Veterans was held on April 21 at Madison Junior High School to benefit the programs for veterans at Togus. More than $1,100 was raised which will be donated to the programs such as the VA/VS which includes keeping the supply closet of comfort items for every veteran who is admitted, coffee and newspapers in the waiting room, gifts at Christmas and other activities. Below, the nine instructors who conducted the zumba-thon, from left to right, Christine Marie, Hillary White, Lisa Berry, Allison Marcoux, Tiara Nile, organizer, Lisa Doyon, Denise Delorie and Suzanne Lamb.

Contributed photos

Two local students on URI dean’s list

The University of Rhode Island, in Kingston, Rhode Island, has announced the Fall 2016 dean’s list. The following students were named to the dean’s list with their area of study: Alexandria M. Jarvais, of Madison, majoring in Pharm D, and Rachel Cambridge Pratt, of Cornville, majoring in Kinesiology.

Fun in the sun, with chocolate help

Mathis Washburn

Left photo, Mathis Washburn, of Canaan, makes his way down the Chocolate Slip ‘n Slide, at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, at Yonderhill Campground, in Madison, on July 30.
Photo by Mark Huard, Central Maine Photography

 

Riley Landry, of Vassalboro, Tate Jewell, Adam Fitzgerald and Landon Nunn, all of Skowhegan

Right, from left to right, Riley Landry, of Vassalboro, Tate Jewell, Adam Fitzgerald and Landon Nunn, all of Skowhegan, get set to join in the slide.
Photo by Mark Huard, Central Maine Photography

Foley graduates from WPI

On Saturday, May 14, on the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) campus quadrangle, in Worcester, Massachusetts, 907 bachelor’s degrees were awarded during the university’s 148th commencement ceremony.

Kyle Foley, of Madison, was awarded a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering.

IF WALLS COULD TALK: Week of July 21, 2016

Katie Ouilette
by Katie Ouilette

WALLS, just ‘where’ will you begin and end with this column?  There sure is a lot on our plate this week!  Eat up, faithful readers, and in case you are one that says there’s nothing to do here, read on!

WALLS, it’s time for you to speak loud and clear, as last Saturday, the Lake Wesserunsett Association had its annual meeting and it was superb.  Yes, first there was breakfast served to almost everyone attending at the East Madison Grange Hall.  Oh, breakfast was prepared by East Madison Grange members.  Then, upstairs we went for the meeting which was brought to order by “Gene” Chiappetta, and we all wished him well as he left his presidency, and that office was assumed by Mark Doty, who lives at the inlet end of Lake Wesserunsett.  We learned a lot about Somerset Woods Association from our peaker, Jack Gibson.  By the way, Somerset Woods was, first, located on U.S. Route 2 and was a gift of Governor Abner Coburn’s sister, Helen.  Now, the association owns many tracts of land and are preserving the lands for us to enjoy.

East Madison Fire Department was host to the Madison selectmen’s meeting on July 11 and a truly great meeting it was!  First, WALLS, let faithful readers know how very lucky we of East Madison are to have such loyal selectmen, who are willing to hold their meeting in East Madison every five months, so that all attending can tell their thoughts and get answers from each selectman to whom the questions are addressed.  Frankly, we must be grateful to Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis, for his always vital interest in East Madison.

Speaking of the great things that are happening for area folks and tourists to attend, the annual kneading conference will be held at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds on July 28, 29 and 30 and we must thank Amber Lambke and her committee, which includes members of Great Grains, Plus, those great bread makers that join in the entire ‘learning and baking weekend.’. Be prepared to have the great bread fair at your fingertips, faithful readers.

WALLS, for sure you would be remiss if you didn’t at least tell our tourists and visitors about the Skowhegan Free Public Library, a gift of Gov. Abner Coburn  His sister, Helen, gave Skowhegan its History House.  Yes, the History House is now called the Research Center, also, and its executive  director, Melvin Burnham, gives lectures at Skowhegan’s historic locations at least once a month and all are invited to attend.  The Skowhegan Free Public Library also has a Genealogy Research Center that has recently been completed by Steve Dionne, owner of Lake George Construction.

So, WALLS, now you can leave the ‘exploring’ for folk’s own interests….but, for sure, there is a lot to experience in this central Maine area.

Major wind power project underway in Somerset County

Dan CassidyINside the OUTside

by Dan Cassidy

Part 1 of 2

If you’ve been on the road anywhere between Skowhegan, Madison, Solon and Bingham, on Route 201 over the past several months, you may have been held up in a rare traffic jam, as state and local police escorts, support vehicles and huge tractor-trailer trucks transported massive towers, motors, blades and other related wind tower equipment to the Bingham, Mayfield and Kingsbury areas of Johnson Mountain off from Route 16.

According to the SunEdison website, manufacturers advanced solar technology is installing solar power systems that are supposed to deliver cost effective electricity to residential, commercial, utility and government customers.

wind power project in Somerset County

Of the 56 towers planned for the area, 11 towers will be installed in Bingham. Photo by Dan Cassidy

Turbine deliveries began in the fall of 2015, and there are several towers already in place.  The operation was suspended for about eight weeks due to spring posted road conditions, however Reed & Reed accelerated delivery of a large percentage of the project’s turbines during the winter months that allowed assembly to continue into the spring.

Reed & Reed and a team of highly skilled subcontractors are erecting turbines in two areas, with 36 turbines located just north of Route 16 and 20 turbines to the south.  They are currently on schedule for an early completion by this fall.

SunEdison hits bump in the road

The project hasn’t been all that easy, as SunEdison, once a poster child of the clean energy boom ran into financial troubles earlier this year, caused by a mountain of debt taken on during better times, according to their website.

“The decision to file for bankruptcy was a difficult, but important step to address our immediate liquidity issues,” Ahmad Chatila, SunEdison CEO said in a published statement.  The statement went on to say that SunEdison was flying high with shares trading above $33.  The collapse happened soon after. Earlier this spring, the shares were trading at about 34 cents.  Trading was halted shortly before the bankruptcy filing.

As far as the filing of bankruptcy protection affecting the Bingham project, the project has been financed and was acquired by Terra Nova Partners last year, according to SunEdison sources.  The bankruptcy should have no impact to the project whatsoever.

Choosing the Bingham region site

There were a lot of factors that went into the decision of erecting towers in the Bingham, Kingsbury and Mayfield area.  “We choose locations to build projects that require good wind speed in the area, access to transmission, limited number of residences or camps nearby, willing landowners, and local support,” said John Lamontagne, Senior Director of Communications at SunEdison, in an e-mail interview.  “All those factors were involved in this project, but especially the wind and the local support,” he said.

SunEdison is the head of the overall project, although they are working very closely with the owners of the project.  “Reed & Reed has been the general contractor on all the wind projects that SunEdison has built in Maine.  “They are a great partner with us.  That is their role at Bingham,” he said.

Tall towers

The towers are approximately 100 meters, (330 feet), and each will have three blades attached that are about 57 meters, approximately (188 feet).  In total, if a blade is standing straight up, the structure is about 157 meters, close to (515 feet).  The unit attached to the tower and what the blades are attached to is called the nacelle.  It is where the electricity is being generated.  The blade speed depends on the wind speed.  Collector lines are going to be installed and will be connected to a substation, which then sends the electricity via transmission lines, according to Lamontagne.

According to Lamontagne, there are three landowners that are involved in forestry where the project is taking place.  “Construction began on the project last year.  Clearing work was started, logging roads were widened, and collector cables were installed.  Towers didn’t start going up until March of this year.”

Lamontagne said that they plan to set up 56 turbines, each with a capacity of 3.3 MW.  “In total, the project is projected to power about 60,000 homes.  We expect the project to be online and operational by the end of the year.”

“The energy is being sold at a highly competitive price to customers, on par with natural gas,” Lamontagne said.  “Customers will have the benefit of clean energy at no additional cost on their electricity bills.”

(Continued next week)