Planners approve indoor licensed marijuana growing facility

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro Planning Board members unanimously approved the town’s second locally-licensed indoor marijuana-growing facility at their Oct. 4 meeting.

Applicant Mike Kelley represented half a dozen licensed caregivers who intend to grow marijuana in the former craft shop on Route 3, on property more recently the site of the MacKenzie Landscaping satellite business.

Kelley plans no changes to the exterior of the building. There will be no retail traffic; only licensed caregivers are allowed inside the growing area, he said. Primary access will be from Whitehoue Road rather than from busier Route 3.

Kelley said someone will be on the property at all times for security. The odor control plan involves fans and filters, which will not create significant noise outside the building.

Neighbors had been notified, as required by town ordinance. None attended the Oct. 4 meeting.
Planning Board members found the project meets all Vassalboro ordinance requirements.

Codes Officer Richard Dolby said there have been no complaints about Vassalboro’s other town-licensed marijuana-growing business on Cushnoc Road.

Selectmen appoint new police chief

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro selectmen have appointed Mark Brown of Vassalboro to succeed Richard Phippen as town police chief.

At the selectmen’s Oct. 6 meeting, board members Lauchlin Titus and Robert Browne accepted Town Manager Mary Sabins’ recommendation to hire Brown. Titus said board Chairman Philip Haines, who was unable to attend the meeting, had interviewed Brown.

Sabins said Brown will be deputy chief for two or three weeks, until his certification is renewed. Phippen announced his planned retirement in August.

In other business, Sabins read a letter from planning board alternate member Paul Breton resigning his position, effective immediately. Residents interested in serving on the planning board are invited to contact the town office.

The alternate member participates in planning oard discussions, but votes only when a full member is absent. In the past, if a full member resigned or retired the alternate was usually offered his or her seat.

Selectmen reviewed Sabins’ draft of a three-page survey on transportation needs and approved distributing it at the polls on Nov. 8. Residents will be asked to take the survey home to fill out, rather than spending extra time in the town office Nov.

The board approved a consent agreement with resident Bernard Welch resolving Welch’s violations of town ordinance, in return for payment of a fine and reimbursement for town legal fees.

The next regular Vassalboro selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20.

Waterville Art Society honors founders

At an opening reception, Thursday, October 6, Waterville Area Art Society founders Patricia Binette, Fairfield, and Pauline Turner, a 40-year resident of China, were honored for their many years of teaching and inspiring other artists and for their continued dedication to the Art Society.

The 30th Anniversary Art Show, on view through October 28 at the Winslow Public Library, features work from the four founders including Marilyn Dwelley, of Florida, formerly of China, and the late Peggy Stowers. Forty-four members and former members are represented in the 90 pieces of art. An impressive range of styles and media are found in the exhibit, including pieces sent from as far away as Florida and Alabama.

Patricia Binette and Pauline Turner

Patricia Binette, left, and Pauline Turner stand in front of a display of their work at an opening reception honoring them at the 30th anniversary of the Waterville Area Art Society they co-founded with Marilyn Dwelley and the late Peggy Stowers. Contributed photo

Society president Amy Cyrway, co-owner of the Framemakers, in Waterville, gave a brief history of the organization and told the 50 to 60 people present about the four founders and their impact on arts in the Greater Waterville Area and beyond.

The art society holds two-member shows once a year and is co-sponsor of an annual juried art show that draws entrants from across Maine.

China Village postmaster retires after 32-year career

by Mary Grow
Priscilla Adams

Priscilla Adams, China Village postmaster, has retired following a 32-year career with the U.S. Postal Service. Contributed photo

Priscilla Adams ended her 32-year career with the United States Postal Service Sept. 30. Her last day as China Village Postmaster was followed Oct. 1 by a retirement party organized by her husband Scott that gave another 100 or so friends and relatives a chance to wish her happiness.

Retirement is bittersweet, Adams said. She looks forward to time for herself, to work in her garden and to take day trips, starting with the Fryeburg Fair Oct. 3. She expects to watch more of her grandsons’ basketball games in southern Maine – and, she said happily, “If it’s a blizzard out and I don’t feel like coming home, I don’t have to.”

On the other hand, she’ll miss the people who enlivened her days behind the post office counter, miss the long talks and listening to people’s stories and problems.

Adams was appointed China Village Postmaster on February 1, 1997. Before that, she worked as PMR (Postmaster Relief, postal-speak for substitute) and sometimes Officer in Charge at other area post offices.

The worst part of her career, she said, has been going through so many changes, which have been difficult for employees and sometimes for customers, like the introduction in 2001 of the E911 system that changed the name and the box numbers in what’s now the China Village post office.
Adams has seen the switch from a manual typewriter to a computer, from a fan scale to an electric scale, from stamps that had to be licked to self-adhesive stamps, from any stamps at all to a postage meter.

She’s watched the price of stamps, box rentals and other services go up – and this February had the rare opportunity to see them go down a bit, for the first time, she believes, since the 1940s.
Two or three years ago, when the Postal Service cut back hours in many post offices, including China Village, there was a rumor that the China Village office would be eliminated when Adams retired.

Just a rumor, Adams is quite sure – the office is valuable not only to its 225 boxholders and other China residents, but to people from surrounding towns where post office window hours are shorter or less convenient.

Adams’ duties, official and unofficial, have included distributing mail and selling stamps, keeping the building clean, collecting lost items, putting up posters for lost pets and helping start people’s cars.

“It’s been a great working experience,” she summarized. “I like helping out people. There’ve been good times and bad times, ups and downs, but I’ve had a lot of fun.”

Becky Tesseo, who also works part-time at the post office in South China, has taken over the China Village office until a new postmaster can be found. Tesseo doesn’t know how long she’ll be in the north end of town – maybe a month, she said.

As Priscilla Adams’ retirement party wound down Oct. 1 in the China Baptist Church Vestry Fellowship Hall, people began assembling in the adjacent church for the funeral of Eleanor Foster, Postmaster from 1956 until 1982, when she retired and Joyce Whitney was appointed. Foster died Sept. 19 at the age of 96.

Foster and her husband Bill lived next door to the post office while Foster worked there and for many years afterwards. Adams said for the first few months of her tenure, they had a standing joke: she would ask Foster, “Do you want to be my PMR?”

Foster would pretend to consider for a moment before replying, “No thanks.”

KCS & WCD district supervisor election upcoming

Persons wanting to run for the office of District Supervisor for the Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District should contact the District office at 21 Enterprise Dr. Suite #1, Augusta, ME telephone (207) 622-7847 x3, to obtain nominating papers. Nomination papers require 25 valid signatures in order to become a candidate.

Nomination papers must be received at the District office no later than November 3, 2016. This year we have one full three-year term of office up for election.

Any person who desires to run for the office of District Supervisor must be a resident who is living on lands lying within the boundaries of the Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The actual election is scheduled for November 25, 2016. Ballots for the election will be mailed to anyone requesting one. Registered voters wishing to vote in the election of District Supervisor must contact the District in order to receive a ballot. All registered voters residing within the Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District boundaries are eligible to vote. All completed ballots must be received by the afternoon of November 25, at 4 p.m.

Unity scout earns Eagle Scout in China troop

Submitted by Ron Emery

The celebration of this event was held at the Quaker Hill Christian Church, in Unity, for Eagle Scout Christian Hunter of Troop #479 on September 17, 2016.

Eagle Scout Christian Hunter

Eagle Scout Christian Hunter

Friends, family members, elected officials and other scouts gathered together to honor Christian for earning his wings — the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.  The Eagle is the highest rank that Scouting bestows in the advancement program.  Eagle Scout Christian Hunter, his family, his Scout leaders, and other members of the community had labored long and faithfully, and their efforts were recognized in this special presentation.  Christian chose the Eagle Scout Ceremony and invited other members of Troop 479 to take part in this celebration.

Scout Misha Littlefield opened the Ceremony and introduced Pastor Michael Senacal, from the Quaker Hill Christian Church, to offer the invocation for the ceremony. Misha then introduced Advancement Chairman Ron Emery to serve as moderator.

The Scout Oath was read by Eagle Scout Sean Stewart.  In the scout oath the young Scout promises upon his honor to do his best to do his duty, first to God and his country; second, to other people, by helping them at all times; and third, to himself by keeping himself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scoutmaster Scott Adams was then introduced to present the Eagle Scout Awards.  Scout Hunter Praul escorted Christian and his parents to the front.  The Eagle badge was presented to Christian’s mother to pin on Christian’s uniform.  A miniature Eagle badge was given to Christian to pin on his mother.  An Eagle neckerchief was given to his father to place around the neck of his son.

Christian credited the Scout leaders for having faith in him and giving him a push whenever he needed a little help with merit badges and for finishing his Eagle project.

Assistant Scoutmaster Darryl Praul was introduced to read the Honor Roll for Troop #479 and have Eagle Scout Christian Hunter advance his name. Assistant Scoutmaster Doug Leonard presented gifts from the Troop Committee.

Assistant Scoutmaster Ron Emery introduced the special guests.  Mark Kantio from U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s office, in Bangor, presented a letter of congratulations and a United States flag, that was flown over the capital in Washington, to Christian.  State Senator Michael Thibodeau presented legislative sentiments and also a flag flown over the capital, in Augusta.  Sentiments from U.S. Senator Susan Collins were presented by Chuck Mahaleris, Kennebec Valley Advancement Chairperson.  Letters of sentiment were received from President George W. Bush and his father, Representative Chellie Pingree  and Governor Paul LePage.

Christian’s parents prepared a slide show for their son titled “Christian’s Journey to Eagle.”

Requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout require mastery of basic skills including hiking, cooking, camping, first-aid, swimming, survival skills and map and compass.  The successful Eagle Scout must also earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, of which 11 are required and include various aspects of citizenship, family and community life, physical fitness, nature and more advanced scout skills.

The candidate must also serve in a position of leadership in the troop for at least six months after attaining the rank of Life Scout.  Christian is also a member of the Order of the Arrow.

An integral component of the requirements is a service project.  The candidate must develop the project, organize the materials and manpower, and supervise its completion.  Christian Hunter’s project was to rebuild the fence surrounding the cemetery in back of the Quaker Hill Christian Church as well as, straighten stones, build benches and plant some shrubs. Scout Christian Hunter led family, friends and other Scouts from Troop #479 in the project.

He is the son of Keith and Chrissy Hunter, of Unity, and is planning to attend Kennebec Valley Community College, in Fairfield.

Quaker Hill Christian Church

Eagle Scout Christian Hunter’s project was to rebuild the fence behind the Quaker Hill Christian Church, in Unity. Contributed photo

New regs on lead sinkers now in effect

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

A press release came across my desk this week from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife that I thought I would share with you regarding the use of lead sinkers in the state of Maine.

Lead poisoning has long been the leading cause of death for adult loons in Maine. In order to protect loons from lead poisoning resulting from the ingestion of lead fishing tackle, beginning in September 2016 it is illegal in Maine to sell bare (unpainted) lead-headed jigs less than 2.5 inches long. In September 2017, the use of these jigs will also be banned. Although painted lead jigheads are equally harmful to loons (the paint wears off in a matter of days in the loons acidic gizzard), they are not included in the current regulations.

Photo by Marla Brin

Photo by Marla Brin

Lead poisoning was responsible for almost one third of the documented mortality of adult loons in Maine prior to the implementation of Maine’s first lead regulations in 2002. “Adult loons either ingest lead when they catch fish with lead sinkers and jigs attached, or they pick up lead objects while eating the gravel they need to digest their food from lake bottoms,” said Susan Gallo, Maine Audubon wildlife biologist. Ingested objects like sinkers and jigs stay in loon gizzards, wearing down and elevating lead levels in blood and body tissues. Loons usually die from lead poisoning in a matter of weeks.

After An Act to Protect Maine’s Loons by Banning Lead Sinkers and Jigs (LD 730) was passed in 2013,  Maine Audubon, along with many partners including the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW),  Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, Bass Nation, and the Maine Lakes Society, created the Fish Lead-Free Initiative, a coalition with the goal of helping anglers make the switch to lead-free tackle.

“We wanted to get the word out to anglers that making the switch to lead-free can be easy now that there are so many products available for purchase in local stores and online,” said Gallo, who is spearheading the initiative. “Using lead-free tackle will make an enormous difference for loons. We are already seeing a significant reduction in loon mortality.”

Fish Lead-Free conducts outreach efforts to educate the public about the importance of fishing with lead-free tackle, including a website (fishleadfree.org) that outlines Maine’s tackle regulations and lists retailers and online outlets where lead-free tackle can be purchased. Fish Lead-Free also hosts tackle exchanges and provides interested individuals or community groups with lead exchange “kits” stocked with lead-free tackle that can be given out at public events, like fishing derbies or tournaments. Plus, Fish Lead Free has provided 350 tackle boxes stocked with lead-free tackle to the DIFW Hooked on Fishing Program.

To increase awareness of the Fish Lead Free effort, Maine Audubon reached out to other states in an effort to create unity in messaging about the importance of lead-free fishing.  New Hampshire was the first state to join Maine, creating outreach materials that integrate the Fish Lead Free logo and standard messaging. And last year, four more states contributed information to the Fish Lead-Free website to let anglers know of state-specific tackle regulations and local lead-free tackle sources.

“We’re so glad to see the loon protection regulations phased in and want to help anglers comply with the new laws,” said Gallo.

Organizations interested in hosting a tackle exchange or a presentation on loons and the importance of fishing without lead tackle should contact Susan Gallo via email at sgallo@maineaudubon.org. More information about Fish Lead Free is at http://www.fishleadfree.org.

After initial lead regulations in 2002 banned the use of lead sinkers less than a half ounce, there was a slight drop in adult loon mortality, with just over 23 percent of the loon carcasses collected between 2002 and 2012 determined to have died from lead poisoning. In 2013, An Act to Protect Maine’s Loons (LD 730) banned the sale and use of lead sinkers an ounce or less. Since that time, mortality due to lead poisoning has dropped to just under 20 percent of the carcasses collected.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information.

Area creameries to take part in Open Creamery Day October 15

As the hardwood foliage bursts in a blaze of colors on Columbus Day weekend, take in the spectacular sights and taste some award-winning cheese during the Maine Cheese Guild’s annual Open Creamery Day on Sunday, October 15, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Visit many of the area’s cheese makers in their creameries, meet the animals, and learn the stories behind Maine’s more than 150 artisan cheeses. Along the way you can also visit a farmers’ market, stop at an orchard, explore one of Maine’s premier breweries or wineries, pick fruit at Maine’s legendary orchards, and drop-in on one of the many artisan bread makers our state has to offer. You’ll love the views, and the taste of Maine cheese, straight from the source, will be the best memory of all.

For a MAP and an updated list of participating cheese makers, visit www.mainecheeseguild.org

Area participating Cheesemakers:

Appleton Creamery
Caitlin & Bradley Hunter
780 Gurney Town Road, Appleton 04862
appletoncreamery@gmail.com
www.appletoncreamery.com
Visit the goats and sample the award-winning cheese at Appleton Creamery in Appleton, and enjoy the whole goat experience. Cheese is handcrafted daily using traditional methods with milk from our herd of Alpine goats, and local cow dairies. Joining us this year for GOATAPALOOZA will be Copper Tail Farm with goat milk caramels, cajeta and yogurt, Sisters Soap with goat milk soap, Dragonfly Cove Farm goat meat products, and Back Forty Breads. Local spinner Penelope Olson will be spinning goat fiber. The pizza oven will be cooking!

Barred Owl Creamery
Patti and Chris Hamilton
6 South Fowles Lane, Whitefield ME 04353
hamiltonfarm03@yahoo.com
Experience award-winning organic cheese (best in the nation goat/sheep farmstead feta) on a beautiful farm, in Whitefield. Meet the goats and sheep, tour Barred Owl Creamery and visit our farm store full of homemade products including baked products. For more than 15 years we have hand-milked our Fresian sheep and Nubian cross goats and produced MOFGA-certified organic feta, chevre and blue cheeses. We also have laying hens and heritage breed turkeys. We live in the heart of central Maine’s agricultural hub of Whitefield only six miles from Sheepscot General Store, Fuzzy Udder and several other cheese producers.

Fredrikson Farm
60 Danforth Road, China Village 04926.
http://www.fredriksonfarm.com/
https://www.facebook.com/fredriksonfarm?fref=ts
Come join all the festivities at Fredrikson Farm, enjoy a farm tour and take a stroll on our beautiful walking trails. Experience Alpaca with the Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm from Unity. We will be joined by Younity Winery and Tree Spirits Winery with wine tasting. Boynton-Mckay Food Co. from Camden will be providing their amazing cuisine. Live music by the Oshima Brothers who will be providing “upbeat folk – sibling harmonies.”

Fuzzy Udder Creamery
Jessie Dowling, cheesemaker-farmer-activist
35 Townhouse Road, Whitefield  04353.
fuzzyudder@gmail.com
www.fuzzyudder.com
https://www.facebook.com/FuzzyUdderCreamery/.
Fuzzy Udder Creamery currently milks 16 sheep and 12 goats and buys organic cows milk from Two Loons Farm, in South China. Our animals are raised on pasture, fed organic grain and Maine grown oats and given lots and lots of love. We make a variety of fresh, soft-ripened and aged cheeses from cow, sheep and goat milk. Come snuggle our fuzzy critters and taste our cheeses.

Kennebec Cheesery at Koons Farm
795 Pond Road, Sidney 04330.
Kennebeccheesery@gmail.com
www.KennebecCheesery.com
Licensed in 2008 with 10 goats we have expanded to an in-line milking system with PV panels on the cheesery roof and now milk 42 Alpine and Saanen cross goats. Come see the “working girls” and this year’s J-doelings? and taste the delicious soft and hard cheeses we make from?their milk. Many fun recipes provided. We also have a flock of Katahdin sheep who love apples. Come feed Bambi, CoCo, Snow White and the others.

ME Water Buffalo Co.
Brian & Jessica Farrar & family
232 Old County Road, Appleton
www.mewaterbuffaloco.com
mewaterbuffaloco@gmail.com
Come visit Maine’s only herd of water buffalo. At our state licensed dairy, we specialize in our fresh hand-stretched buffalo mozzarella along with other fresh buffalo cheeses and our creamy yogurt and gelato-all made with our own water buffalo milk. Pasture hayrides throughout the day to see the water buffalo up close. Some of our fresh buffalo cheeses will be available at our farm store to sample and purchase along with our other farm products. Pet the baby buffalo calves and feed our pet goats.

Pumpkin Vine Family Farm
217 Hewett Rd, Somerville 04348
(207) 549 – 3096 – Kelly
(207) 215 – 4319 – Anil
info@pumpkinvinefamilyfarm.com
https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinvinefamilyfarm
http://www.pumpkinvinefamilyfarm.com.

Kennebec Retired Educators Assn. announces available grants

Submitted by Kay Grindall

The Kennebec Retired Educators Association (KREA) is comprised of retired educators from 60 schools in 31 cities and towns.  In an effort to give back to the schools where they spent many years, KREA awards two $150 grants to two educators in Kennebec County for classroom use.  The grants will supplement expenses for student-centered, inter-disciplinary projects and may be expended for materials used in the classroom, speakers’ fees, project development expenses, etc.

“Even though we are not actively teaching in the classroom anymore, for many of us retirees that is where our hearts remain long after we leave teaching,” says Phil Gonyar, chairman of the Innovative Classroom Grant Committee, and retired social studies educator from Waterville High School.

Grant description and applications have been disseminated to every principal of all elementary, middle, and high schools.  The principals have made them available to the classroom teachers.

Grant applications are to be submitted by October 31, 2016.  The winning applicant will be notified by December 1 and will receive the grant money at that time.

Lambert earns dean’s list honors at Tufts University

Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts,  recently announced the dean’s list for the Spring 2016 semester.

Among these students is Cody Lambert, of Winslow, class of 2019.