PALERMO: Meet the Author series

The Palermo Community Library presents Sister Elizabeth Wagner, the award-winning author of Seasons in My Garden: Meditations from a Hermitage, on Sunday, April 30, at 2 p.m. She will disclose what led her to become a hermit and the founding of Transfiguration Hermitage, in Windsor.

In the prologue, Sr. Wagner writes: “I didn’t come to Maine gladly. In fact, I came kicking and screaming: ‘This is Siberia, Lord!’…I came to Maine because it was a place that I could earn a living in solitude… And yet for me, it felt as if I’d been exiled to Siberia.”

In her inspirational book, she reveals how her contemplative life of prayer, tending a garden and meditations, led her to a deeper understanding of the presence of God.

The Library is located at 2789 Route 3. For more information: call 993-6088 or email palermo@palermo.lib.me.us.

The Palermo Community Library offers Kindles, books, large print books, audio books, Inter-library loan, DVDs, VHS tapes, Wi-Fi, patron computers, printing, faxing, and ancestrylibrary.com! There is also a community room with a large screen TV available for meetings and presentations.

The Palermo Community Library is an all-volunteer library. If you would like to volunteer, please call 993-6088.

 

Barbershop chorus elects officers

Maine-ly Harmony officers, from left to right, Cathy Anderson, of Jefferson, president; BJ Pellett, of Winthrop, vice president; Janet Dunham, of Belgrade, treasurer; Candace Pepin, of Augusta, secretary; Betty Avery, of Augusta, and LouAnn Mossler, of South China, members-at-large. Contributed photo

Mainely-Harmony women’s barbershop chorus held its election of officers for the 2017-18 season. The new board includes President Cathy Anderson, of Jefferson, Vice President BJ Pellett, of Winthrop, Treasurer Janet Dunham, of Belgrade, Secretary Candace Pepin, of Augusta, and members at large Betty Avery, of Augusta, and LouAnn Mossler, of South China. Officiating the ceremony was Dotti Meyer, of Jefferson, and representing the membership was Kathy Joyce, of Bowdoinham. The chorus, directed by Kathy Greason, of Brunswick, meets every Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Salvation Army Church, 36 Eastern Ave., Augusta.

All women are invited to attend. For more information, contact Nancie at 293-4779 or email hugabook4@yahoo.com.

David Mejia appointed Director of Education

David Mejia

David Mejia became an Emergency Medical Technician in 1998 in Brooksville, Florida. He attended Pasco Hernando Community College graduating in 1999 with an associate’s degree in EMS. During his education, he worked for Med­Fleet Ambulance, as a technician at Bayonet Point’s Emergency Department and for Polk County EMS, a busy 911-provider.

In 2003 David joined Nature Coast EMS where he could combine his dual passions of Emergency Medical Services and educating others. His desire to share his knowledge and experience with others led him to become one of the busiest instructors at Nature Coast.

David was involved in the creation of the Nature Coast EMS Explorer Post 605 where he was the lead advisor and mentored 14-20 year old coeds.

David was as an adjunct instructor for Nature Coast EMS in their EMT and Paramedic Program and also taught at Keiser Career College

In his 19-year career, he has been the recipient of various awards, including the National American Ambulance Association Star of Life, Explorer Advisor of the year and VFW Citrus County, and Florida EMT/Paramedic of the Year. While working for Keiser Career College, David received the Instructor of Distinction award.

David moved to Maine in 2012 and found a home at Delta Ambulance. He is excited to fulfill his new role as Director of Education and continue his passion of EMS and education.

PALERMO: Order Vidalia Onions Now

The deadline for ordering Vidalia onions, fresh from the farm in Georgia, is fast approaching. April 27 is the last day to call Connie at 993-2294 or e-mail pwhitehawk@fairpoint.net. These fresh, sweet beauties will be ready for pick up at the Palermo Community Center on Turner Ridge Road as of 8:30 a.m., on Saturday, May 6, as well as Sunday, May 7.

The onions are carefully packed into 25# boxes to prevent bruising on their express trip to Maine. The price is $27.00 per box. These onions keep up to 6 months, if they are kept in a cool place and not allowed to touch one another. Half boxes can be ordered for $16.00 a box (We have to buy boxes.). However, if you get together with friends and order four or more boxes, you get a discount of $2 per box. Recipes are available!

Racing Extinction in Palermo on April 28

PALERMO — As Earth Day approaches, now is the time to consider all of the lifeforms that share our planet with us. Native Americans consider these beings as relatives, and that is really a good way to value them. However, humanity has not been treating these relatives very well.

Academy Award-winning filmmakers expose the forces that are leading our planet to what could be the next mass extinction, potentially resulting in the loss of half of all species. Two forces, the shadowy international wildlife trade, and the gas and oil industry, are uncloaked for what they ultimately do to life on our Earth. This may sound depressing, but the film is actually an inspiring affirmation to preserve life as we know it, and know that we can get off what Native Americans term The Death Path.

Racing Extinction will be shown on Friday, April 28, following a delicious free potluck meal at 6 p.m. at the Palermo Community Center on Turner Ridge Road in Palermo. Bring a dish to share or a donation to the Food Pantry and prepare for spirited discussion following the movie. Contact Connie Bellet at 993-2294 for further info.

 

UNITY NEWS: Bird Walk planned

The birds are back!  Break out the binoculars and enjoy the outdoors and our feathered friends at the Rines Wetland and Wildlife Preserve.  Tom Aversa, the co-author of several bird guides and an adjunct instructor at Unity College, will be the guide of this short, SRLT-sponsored bird walk, on Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 a.m.  Meet on the south side of Rt. 139 – 2.5 miles west of Unity near the SRLT kiosk.  Bring binoculars and waterproof footwear.  All ages welcome but please leave pets at home.

For more information or to register, please call Doug 948-3766.

Waterville News: LaLiberty named to Waterville Creates! board

Jim LaLiberty

Waterville Creates!, one of Maine’s leading arts and cultural organizations and a key driver in making the city a vibrant destination in central Maine, has elected Jim LaLiberty to the role of vice president of the Waterville Creates! board of directors effective February 28. Jim also serves as chair of the Waterville Opera House board.

Jim is currently an attorney at Jabar, LaLiberty & Dubord LLC and has practiced law in Waterville for 36 years. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Maine School of Law. His practice is concentrated in the areas of business and commercial law. In addition to his role on the Waterville Opera House board, Jim is also a member of the board of directors of MaineGeneral Health.

He lives in Waterville with his wife, Julie, a seventh grade teacher at Waterville Junior High.

“I am proud to serve the arts in Waterville through my dual roles on both the Waterville Creates! and the Waterville Opera House boards,” stated LaLiberty upon being voted in as vice president. “Working in tandem with my fellow board members as well as our communities’ collaborative partners in the arts, including the Harold Alfond Foundation and Colby College.”

CHINA NEWS: Two local questions on China ballot in June

by Mary Grow

China voters will have at least two local ballot questions on June 13.

The exact wording remains to be decided, but at the April 17 selectmen’s meeting board members voted to present two questions, asking voters if they want to:

  • Prohibit growing marijuana for retail sale, selling marijuana for non-medical purposes or running a marijuana social club – the three main items state voters, but not a majority of China voters, approved in November 2016 – within town boundaries;
  • Appropriate money from the Undesignated Fund Balance (surplus) to install a septic system and a well to serve the portable classroom behind the town office, with the well to supply the office also. Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux will suggest an amount, after some research, and will call a meeting of the Budget Committee to get its recommendation on the proposed expenditure.

Selectmen scheduled a short special meeting for 8 a.m. Thursday, April 27, to review and approve final wording of the ballot questions.

The decision to put the first question to voters was made on a 3-2 vote, with Joann Austin and Jeffrey LaVerdiere opposed. Austin sees a local marijuana industry as economic development and a source of new tax revenue. LaVerdiere, while opposing large out-of-state operations, said, “We’re an agricultural town. I don’t see why we should outlaw growing anything.”

Austin also argued that before asking China voters to act, selectmen should see what regulations the state develops. Board member Irene Belanger said other town managers have expressed similar opinions. But, Belanger said before she voted to put the question on the ballot, “We’re a family-oriented community” and should not send a message that drug use is okay.

Ronald Breton proposed both questions and voted in favor of putting both to voters. Board Chairman Neil Farrington considered it appropriate to “give voters an opportunity to decide whether they want marijuana in their neighborhood.”

Board members were unanimous in presenting the proposed appropriation. Adding running water is a step toward readying the building for potential use as an emergency shelter. It is already used for voting and occasional meetings.

The other major topic at the April 17 meeting was a presentation by retired teachers Anita Smith and Elaine Philbrook on the China School Forest. Using about 50 acres of the 75-acre property the town bought in 1984 for the new primary school, ball fields and other education-related purposes, forest supporters are celebrating the 20th year after its 1997 designation as a Maine Outstanding Tree Farm.

The forest belongs to the town, not the school department, and is open to residents of all ages for walking, bird-watching and similar activities. It also serves as a classroom and a source of natural resources, Philbrook and Smith said.

Forest Field Day will be held Friday, May 26, rain or shine, with a variety of activities for China elementary students and the public. On Saturday, Oct. 14, Maine Project Learning Tree, the state division of the international environmental educational organization, will hold its 40th anniversary celebration in China’s forest.

Selectmen commended Philbrook and Smith for their many hours of volunteer work in and for the school forest.

In other business April 17, Four Seasons Club President Frank Soares described the club’s changed plan to use its $50,000 appropriation from China’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) program. Some of the proposed trail work was done at no charge by Coutts Brothers, Inc., so the club plans to improve additional trail mileage and to divert $5,000 to replace the dock at its swimming beach, Soares said.

Selectman Breton questioned the legality of adding dock replacement to a TIF project authorized by town voters. L’Heureux will check out the issue.

Club contractors and volunteers use state guidelines for multi-use trails, Soares said; trails are available for walking and horseback riding as well as use by four-wheelers and snowmobiles. He said the club has state approval to take out a beaver dam on Hunter Brook that has flooded a trail section.

China fire and rescue chiefs submitted a preliminary proposal for distributing the $44,000 voters approved at the March town meeting for stipends for volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel. More discussion is scheduled for May, after each department has discussed the plan.

Breton and Farrington, who received the proposal the morning of April 17, said there was also agreement that at least one selectman will attend each quarterly joint meeting of the emergency services, as a liaison between the selectboard and the services.

Selectmen appointed the following committee members:

  • Christopher Hahn to the China for a Lifetime Committee;
  • Lindsey Harwath to the Thurston Park II Committee;
  • Belanger and Breton as China’s representatives on the Regional School Unit #18 cost-sharing committee; and
  • Farrington, Tod Detre, Robert O’Connor and Raymond Robert to the Broadband Committee.

Vassalboro News: Budget workers frustrated over state’s lack of action

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro Budget Committee and School Board members trying to work on the 2017-18 school budget are frustrated by the state legislature’s annual inability to decide on state funding.

Additionally, some budget committee members are frustrated by school board members who, they say, made minimal budget reductions between the two groups’ joint meetings March 30 and April 11.

At the March 30 meeting, AOS (Alternative Educational Structure) Superintendent Eric Haley and Finance Director Paula Pooler talked about potential savings in teacher salaries, health insurance and high-school tuition. By April 11, they presented a revised budget that was $137,698 lower than the March 30 draft, with most of the savings in the three areas previously listed. However, under currently estimated state funding the revised budget would still require an increase in local property taxes approaching $388,000, which would raise the tax rate by close to one mil ($1 for each $1,000 of valuation).

Meeting without the school board on April 13, budget committee members advocated another $139,000 be taken from the school budget. They scheduled their next meeting for Tuesday evening, April 25, instead of the previously planned April 18, hoping to give school board members time to react (despite school vacation week).

Factors likely, but not guaranteed, to improve the financial situation include a more generous state subsidy for schools and, Town Manager Mary Sabins said, more state revenue sharing to the town than she currently projects and/or a larger than anticipated increase in property valuation when the assessor finishes his work.

Until at least some of these possibilities are realized, budget committee members made only tentative decisions on endorsing proposed municipal expenditures. In general, they accepted the proposals from Sabins and the board of selectmen, with the following exceptions:

  • Transfer Station Manager George Hamar asked for up to $20,000 for two new roll-off containers (about $7,500 apiece) and a snow-pusher attachment and chains for the backhoe he is acquiring from the Public Works Department. Selectmen approved both; budget committee members recommended $15,000 for the containers only.
  • After talking with Dan Mayotte, chief of Vassalboro’s First Responders, budget committee members on a 4-3 vote recommended $10,000 for the service instead of the $4,900 Sabins and selectmen recommended.
  • Selectmen endorsed the request for up to $35,000 to buy a new police vehicle in 2017-18. The budget committee recommended delaying the purchase.
  • Both boards advise voters to give $5,000 to the China Region Lakes Alliance (which requested $15,000), but selectmen plan to use money from taxes and the budget committee recommends appropriating it from the alewife fund (money from the sale of alewives caught at Webber Pond dam each spring).

Both boards agreed to recommend a $500 donation to Waterville Area Literacy Volunteers, the selectmen on a 2-1 vote. Selectmen have not had a chance to react to budget committee members’ recommendations on expenditures on which the two boards disagree. The next selectmen’s meeting is at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in the town office meeting room.

Vassalboro’s annual town meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, June 5. Budget committee members discussed postponing it to the end of June to get firm state figures on which to base local decisions; Sabins pointed out legal requirements surrounding the annual meeting and the school budget validation vote that made postponement too difficult to be seriously considered. Local elections will be held June 13 in conjunction with the state election day. Nomination papers for positions on the board of selectmen, school board and sanitary district board are available at the town office.

Ice Out on China Lake

“A trip around China Lake Sunday evening, April 16, indicated large areas of floating ice in the middle and north end of the lake on the China side and in the Vassalboro basin.

Monday morning, with the lake flat calm, the sun was reflecting from the open water, a very pretty sight.

There was some ice in the coves in the Vassalboro basin and a little ice south of the narrows on the China side, but the lake was virtually clear of ice at that time.

It is the decision of the judge that ice out for 2017 occurred on China Lake on Monday, April 17.”

The judge’s decision is final.

For his accurate guess of April 17, Jason Fleming, of China, is this year’s winner of The Town Line’s ice out contest.